Home » The Toyota Century SUV Is A Camry Platform-Based Swaggermobile That Lets You Choose Between Sliding Doors And Regular Ones

The Toyota Century SUV Is A Camry Platform-Based Swaggermobile That Lets You Choose Between Sliding Doors And Regular Ones

Century Swagger Ts
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It seems like every car on the road is slowly becoming a crossover, and luxury sedan icons certainly aren’t exempt from this phenomenon. The Toyota Century SUV was revealed in Japan on Tuesday night, and it’s simultaneously everything we expected and nothing like its competitors. This monument to opulence takes the rules of the ultra-luxe SUV segment and turns them on their heads in a way that only Japan could manage.

For more than half a century, the Toyota Century has represented the ultimate in no-holds-barred Japanese luxury cars. With impeccable craftsmanship, offerings of V8, V12, and hybrid power over the years, and a customer list including royalty, it really is the Japanese Rolls-Royce. Except Rolls-Royce wishes it had paint this nice. Equally intriguing, Century is an insular brand, made exclusively for the Japanese market. One of the finest executive barges ever, and we can’t have it. These days, more and more old Century sedans are making their way stateside, so this Century SUV is a glimpse of what sort of JDM imports to expect a quarter of a century from now.

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Toyota Century Suv 1

For starters, this new SUV is incredibly regal to behold. From the traditional A-line to the strong beltline, Toyota nailed the presence of the Century SUV. It makes the Bentley Bentayga’s nouveau-riche styling seem all the more tactless, and the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 look a tad downmarket. Sure, the slabs of silver trim on the lower body may not age well, but they really break up the sheetmetal without detracting from the imposing nature of this beast. However, there is one detail that points to something interesting lying beneath the surface. Notice how close the front wheel arch is to the front door?

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As you can probably tell by the short dash-to-axle ratio, this new Century SUV is really a Highlander with extra steps. While the Century sedan rides on the same longitudinal N platform that underpinned the Lexus LS600hL, the Century SUV rides on the TNGA-K platform seen underneath pretty much every larger front-wheel-drive Toyota product launched since 2017. Yes, that also includes the Camry, Sienna, and RAV4. On the plus side, this means the Century offers the rear-wheel-steering from the Lexus RX. On the minus side, it’s not exactly the most special platform out there, is it?

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Under the hood sits a 3.5-liter 2GR-FXS quad-cam V6 engine mated to a plug-in hybrid system. There’s an eCVT consisting of two motor-generator units up front, and another electric motor out back for electric all-wheel-drive. Combined output? A respectable 406 horsepower. It’s essentially the same powertrain offered in the Lexus TX 550h+, so once these things turn 25, some level of parts support in America should exist.

Toyota Century Suv Gr

Of course, given that this is still a Century, it’s mildly insane in its pursuit of luxury. For instance, Toyota also unveiled a GR-badged Century with completely different rear doors from the standard model. While the regular doors open to an impressive 75 degrees, the GR version features sliding doors with hidden tracks. While you can argue among yourselves how this might make it the world’s most expensive minivan, the choose-your-own-door adventure is certainly a Shyamalan twist. Toyota also claims that the new Century SUV is the quietest car it’s ever produced, an impressive feat considering the Century sedan is renowned for its serenity. Partially-responsible is the sealed luggage compartment separated from the passenger area by laminated glass. It’s a trick previously used by Volvo on the XC90 Excellence, seeing as open cargo areas act as resonance chambers.

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Toyota Century Suv Interior 1

In addition, the two individual rear seats recline nigh-on horizontal to let passengers truly relax, while the rear passenger compartment is festooned in luxury gadgets and gizmos. There are two detachable touchscreen tablets in the rear center console for controlling various interior functions, a proper fridge tucked in between the seats, automatic seat heating and ventilation, a rear seat analog clock, and plenty of aluminum-inlaid wood.

Toyota Century Suv Convertible

If that isn’t enough, Toyota even teased a convertible Century SUV, which seems like the same concept behind the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet taken to its obvious conclusion. It’s a deeply silly idea, which is why it absolutely must happen, especially considering how convertible Century models have previously been the domain of royalty.

Toyota Century Suv Rear

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Toyota only plans on building 30 Century SUVs per month, each starting at a princely 25,000,000 yen. That’s about $170,000, which is a lot of money for something that shares bones with a $44,465 family hauler. That’s roughly Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 money, and that’s before options. Toyota plans on launching an extensive customization program for the Century SUV that will let customers choose their own colors. However, the Century’s cultural influence goes beyond its bones. Historically a vehicle of rulers, royalty, and the most serious of businesspeople, it carries enormous clout in Japan. Almost nobody will cross-shop it with a Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600, or similarly-opulent European SUV because the Century is truly in a class of its own.

(Photo credits: Toyota)

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SuperNova
SuperNova
10 months ago

Is ANYBODY at Cadillac reading this? Wake up GM and picture your badge on the grill…only thin is it would be filled with cheap GM plastic on the inside and an engine that would fail in 4 years.

Jim Zavist
Jim Zavist
10 months ago

The sliding and swinging door option is also available on Chevy’s full-size Express vans.

Roofless
Roofless
10 months ago

The fact that this thing has leather seats tells you all you need to know.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
10 months ago
Reply to  Roofless

I don’t know what this means

Roofless
Roofless
10 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

The proper Toyota century famously had wool, not leather, seats, because leather made too much noise, and that wouldn’t do for their clientele.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
10 months ago
Reply to  Roofless

yeah, it’s different now, though, and this is a “proper” Century, ugly though it be

Leonardo Bacigalupe
Leonardo Bacigalupe
10 months ago

This is absolutely unbelievable, first they do the Crown dirty, and now they dare mess with the century badge??? And they think just plastering some styling worthy of being in a GTA game over a goddamn rav is enough?? Dear lord, current toyota has absolutely no love not care for their badges. If they don’t respect themselves, how are we meant to do so?

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
10 months ago

I thought it looks great but i’m sorry I can’t look past the drivetrain. It’s so very pedestrian, this is the CENTURY, it’s supposed to be opulent but not showy and the 3.5 v6 and fwd from a camry is the opposite of opulent (but extremely not showy)

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
10 months ago

I guess that’s them saying this is the executive vehicle for lesser executives since they’re planning to produce it in higher numbers with a lesser powertrain. The real ones in power still go for the RWD bespoke V8 Century saloon.

The World of Vee
The World of Vee
10 months ago

maybe! though it’s still priced like a bespoke one. Does seem odd for Toyota to go through all the effort to split the already small marketshare of the Century if it’s going to stay Japanese only (which it should) I can’t imagine anyone who’d be in the market for a Century in Japan doesn’t know exactly what it is and doesn’t need an SUV body to convince them to jump.

D-dub
D-dub
10 months ago

Something about that rear end makes it look like a hearse.

The Matts
The Matts
10 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

I had this exact reaction.

UX Designer
UX Designer
10 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

Indeed, dear Wednesday.

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