Monday, May 12, 2014

Used Car Review - Toyota Crown (1988-1998)

Lets have a throwback this Monday with Myk Belmonte featuring a popular vehicle back then.

1988-1998 Toyota Crown

Back when the luxury car market was totally flooded with Benzes and the occasional Ford Cortinas and Granadas, Toyota was selling the high end Crown which is the highest in the hierarchy and slotted above the Cressida. Times had changed for the automotive landscape where the Camry is the top end model and Lexus had arrived, the Crown was an influential vehicle of its own and has a special spot among motorists.

This particular model that we are reviewing is the eighth generation model under the platform name S130 which was made available in 1987 in sedan, hardtop, and wagon models. In 1991, the hardtop became the S140 model while the other variants retained the S130 designation. The Crown Majesta was launched under the S140 platform as a much expensive model with more gadgetry thrown inside. Production ended sometime in the late 90s.

With Toyota's return to the Philippine market in 1988, one of the models that were first offered was the Crown. It was definitely a class of its own, especially that market leader Mitsubishi and Nissan had no counterpart models to it. As European competitors came to the scene, the Crown's relevance declined and Toyota dropped the model in 1998. Available variants include the Deluxe (sold until 1992), Super Saloon, and top end Royal Saloon.

Value and Costs
Crown prices do vary and buyers do get a wide range of models to choose from given its long production run. Older models can be obtained for less than six figures while later ones are priced in the P400,000 range. We advise you to get a 1992 and later model since old ones have a carburetor engine which is a pain to maintain.

As with age on these types of cars, maintenance costs would be surely on the expensive side. But unlike its European rivals, the Crown isn't that much crowded with electronic doodads and advanced engine technology which can break down after years of usage which makes this sedan a somewhat affordable (but not to Corolla levels) to keep. Check the wear and tear parts when buying and inspecting especially this is one bulletproof car

Exterior and Interior
Unlike today's luxury sedans which looks OA, the Crown's profile is discreet and low profile but elegant. Clean lines dominate the vehicle plus the grille is imposing in a way that it does not shout attention that much. Although this is an eighth generation model, past and succeeding models have styling similarities which makes it distinctively Crown. Saloon suffixed models get mud guards, extended bumpers, and fog lamps to differentiate themselves from the Deluxe.

It is always a Throwback Thursday inside the Crown especially the interior is dominated with flat panels in a black finishing. Covering the thickly padded seats are either fabric or leather upholstery which provides the passengers comfort for their daily routine. Combined with a low acquisition price and the famed Toyota reliability, it is one of the cheapest ways to get a power seats which recline in the rear, rear climate controls, and a beverage cooler which competitors copied.

Throughout its production life, each generation has a wide range of engines to choose from including diesels and for later models, hybrids. The S130 model had two sets of engines during its Philippine run, so lets discuss them one by one. Early models can be had with a 2.2 4-cylinder carrying 97hp and uses a carburetor fuel system or a 5M 2,759cc I6 having 116hp at 4,800rpm and 196Nm at 3,600rpm. Later models do gain (all of them are I6) either a 1G-FE 1,988cc with 135hp at 5,600rpm and 176Nm at 4,400rpm or 6M-GE 2,954cc having 190hp at 5,600rpm and 260Nm at 4,400rpm. We shall give the engines a rundown: the 2.2 is best avoided since it is weak, the 2.8 is decent, the 2.0 will have its engine strained when pushed hard, while the 3.0 is one heck faster. If you were to ask us, we'd bet our money towards either the 2.0 or 3.0 present in the updated models.

Driving Impressions
For those who are expecting something exciting, please find something else as the Crown does its best in one aspect: pampering the passengers. Giving the car some push will require some effort but you wouldn't mind it after all. Handling is decent for a car this size with the predictable body roll.

Throwback Thursdays would let you remember some things of the past, and one of them is the Crown. Sure, we do have the Camry that offers the similar space but more technologically advanced and carries more kit but this vehicle has a special spot on our roads. It carried executives and presidents in style without being brand snobs.

The Good:
  • Comfortable
  • Reliable
  • Roomy
The Bad:
  • Expensive maintenance costs
  • Some early models are basic
  • Heavy
The Pick: Royal Saloon

Engines: 2,200cc I4 (1988-1992), 2,759cc 5M I4 (1988-1992), 1,988cc 1G-FE I4 (1992-Discontinuation), 2,954cc 6M-GE I6 (1992-Discontinuation) gasoline
Power: 97hp (2.2), 116hp @ 4,800rpm (2.8), 135hp @ 5,600rpm (2.0), 190hp @ 5,600rpm (3.0)
Torque: No data for 2.2, 196Nm @ 3,600rpm (2.8), 176Nm @ 4,400rpm (2.0), 260Nm @ 4,400rpm (3.0)
Fuel Consumption: 4-6km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual (1988-1992 and some 2.0 models), 4-speed automatic (1992-Discontinuation)
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear independent coil springs

Price (New): P1,800,000-P2,800,000
Price (Now): P80,000-P400,000
Rivals: Mercedes Benz W124, Honda Legend, Nissan Cedric, Volvo 850
On Sale: 1988-1999

Toyorama - Banawe Quezon City

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