Toyota's Stately Century Spawns SUV Variant Costing Nearly $170K

  • Toyota has revealed a new version of the Century that takes the shape of an SUV.
  • The Century sedan has existed for many decades and is a highly exclusive model only for Japan meant for chauffeuring important people.
  • The Century SUV has a plug-in-hybrid powertrain with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

The Toyota Century has long occupied a special place in the Japanese automaker’s lineup, serving as a highly exclusive, Japan-only model meant for customers who want to be chauffeured. Debuting in the late 1960s, the stately Century sedan was previously offered with a smooth V-12 engine and most recently switched to a hybrid V-8 powertrain when its latest generation arrived several years ago. Now, the Century is transforming yet again into a new shape: an SUV.

The new Century SUV follows many of the design cues that are characteristic of this model, and Toyota says that the sedan will continue to be sold alongside this new body style. Boxy, subdued, and ornate, this new Century is essentially as big as many full-size SUVs but only seats four, as the two rear seats recline in all sorts of ways and offer features including an entertainment system and even a driving mode meant to smooth braking jolts for the rear-seat passengers.

There will be more customization possibilities for this version, as it will offer several different exterior colors including two-tone schemes and numerous interior upholstery possibilities. There’s also a GR-badged “sporty” version that has sliding doors and different wheels and tires.

Under the hood of the Century SUV is a plug-in-hybrid system with a 3.5-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive. It sounds similar to the powertrain found in the new 2024 Lexus TX550+ which makes 406 horsepower and claims 30 mpg and a 33-mile electric driving range in that three-row SUV. Toyota hasn’t yet provided detailed specs on the Century, other than its dimensions and a prodigious 5600-plus-pound curb weight.

Toyota only plans to build 30 units per month, and the Century will be only for the Japanese market. It will start at the equivalent of nearly $170,000.

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Despite being raised on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Capparella nonetheless cultivated an obsession for the automotive industry throughout his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school newspaper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for his first professional auto-writing gig at Automobile Magazine. He has been part of the Car and Driver team since 2016 and now lives in New York City.  

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