Toyota Century SUV offers untold backseat luxury

07th September 2023
Russell Campbell

Toyota has revealed the Century SUV, answering the prayers of chauffeurs around the world (or at least in Japan, where the Bentley Bentayga rival will sell for the equivalent of £135,000).


Developed under the concept of “the chauffeur”, the Century SUV isn’t likely to serve up many driving thrills, although it does get a 3.5-litre hybrid V6. It is said to operate like an electric car in town with good old combustion to fall back on at higher speeds: four-wheel steering and a Rear Comfort mode, which provides butter-smooth braking, round off the technical highlights. 

Much like the Century saloon, back-seat luxury is the SUV’s raison d'etre. The two cars share the same DNA, with the SUV getting a bodyline that mirrors the shape of its saloon-car namesake.


Up front, you get a Chevrolet Escalade-style grille, stacked headlights similar to those on the Genesis GV80 and an overall bluff shape like a Rolls Royce Cullinan, an imposing design language that carries through to the rest of the car ending with its generously proportioned rear-end. Highlights include the mirror-finished chrome and hand-engraved Phoenix emblem. 

The magic happens inside, starting with a laminated glass window that completely separates the back seat from the luggage compartment to “achieve the privacy and astounding quietness associated with chauffeur-driven vehicles”.


Back seats that fully recline make full use of the cabin’s relaxing ambience, and the Century gets a minibar and separate touchscreen controls for the back seat – all but mandatory in the world of the super-luxurious SUV. 

The stereo, meanwhile, is said to have incorporated the “finely-honed auditory sensibilities and exemplary techniques of a musical instrument manufacturing master” into its design.


Even getting in is a luxurious experience helped by doors that open 75 degrees, retractable steps, the car’s flat floor, and C-pillar grab handles. 

The Crown’s projected sales figures arguably make it the most luxurious of all – Toyota expects to build just 30 a month, a mere handful in the context of its Rolls Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayaga rivals.

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