Once again, Toyota apparently wants to bank on the prestige of important nameplates used in Japan. After turning the Crown into a family of four models – although only the saloon is coming to the United States – it would seem the Century is up next. Rumours indicate an SUV carrying the flagship car's moniker will debut later this year. This new (and very much unofficial) rendering portrays the ultra-luxury sedan turned into a high-riding model.
Although Toyota has been selling the Crown in the Land of the Rising Sun since the late 1960s, the posh saloon is currently only in its third generation. It goes to show the range-topper hasn't followed the typical life cycle of a product, but it looks as though huge changes are in tow for the fabled nameplate. In fact, there has already been a GRMN performance version and a convertible based on the current-gen car, albeit only as one-offs. What's next? An SUV, or so it seems.
2024 Toyota Century SUV unofficial rendering
The adjacent rendering plays its safe by SUV-ifying the sedan to create Japan's Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The saloon's boxy shape has been carried over, much like the square lights and elegant front grille along with the multi-spoke wheels. Even though the posh SUV is supposedly going to be called the Century, the underpinnings are said to be totally different.
Rumour has it the Century SUV will be based on the TNGA platform adapted from the Highlander / Grand Highlander whereas the saloon uses the Toyota N architecture from the old Lexus LS. It's believed to receive a hybrid powertrain, presumably the 362-bhp setup available for the new Grand Highlander.
The Century on stilts could go on sale in Japan as early as August with a starting price roughly three times higher than a base Land Cruiser. If a report from Nikkei Asia is to be believed, Toyota will export its flagship SUV to other markets. It wouldn't be the first Century to be sold outside of Japan as the second-gen car was available in Europe and Asia in extremely limited numbers. As a refresher, the Century Mk2 was Toyota's first and last V12 car, and in Europe, power was bumped by 20 bhp to 300 bhp.