Century SUV debuts as Toyota’s most expensive and luxurious model
Sloping rear has already been compared to that of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Genesis GV80.
Used by the Japanese imperial household in sedan form, the Century SUV can be specified with a series of options, including a two-tone body colour. Image: Toyota.
Introduced in 1967 as its flagship in Japan made in small numbers, Toyota has showcased the most luxurious and expensive derivative in the history of the Century with the new Century SUV.
Already billed as Japan’s Rolls-Royce Cullinan based on its styling, the Century SUV not only debuts as a first-time “off-roader” for Toyota’s most prestigious nameplate, but also eschews rear-wheel-drive for all-wheel-drive never used in any of the three previous generations made over the last 56 years.
Based on the TNGA-K platform used by among others the Camry, RAV4, Lexus RX and NX, the Century follows the step-down Crown to offer an SUV for the first time and as such, measures 5 205 mm long, 1 805 mm high and 1 990 mm wide while riding on a wheelbase stretching 2 950 mm.
Compared to the sedan, known internally as the G60, that went on sale seven years ago, the Century SUV (G70) is 130 mm shorter, 60 mm wider and 300 mm taller in addition to having a 100mm shorter wheelbase.
Tipping the scales at 2 570 kg, the four-seat only Century SUV‘s aesthetic differs from the sedan in the guise of a spilt headlight cluster, a smaller grille finished in gloss black and option of gloss black alloy wheels, a two-tone body colour and red brake calipers.
Step in or slide into luxury
Its sloping rear resembling not only the Cullinan but also Hyundai upscale brand Genesis’ GV80, the Century SUV’s interior remains its biggest drawing card and conforms to what Toyota calls “stately grandeur adorned with Japanese elements”.
Besides the option of an electric sliding rear door that replaces the conventional door opening as wide as 75°, plus automatic side-steps, the rear seats come standard with heating and ventilation in addition to reclining in an ottoman fashion.
As well as a par of 11.6-inch displays, a centre console separates the rear chairs, each with their own control module protruding from the setup similar in look to the Alphard/Lexus LM.
At the front, the overall design is similar to the Century sedan by carrying over the 12.3-inch infotainment system and digital instrument cluster, the retro-styled interface and switchgear for the climate control, minimalist centre console and expansive choice of colours, materials and veneers.
V8 makes way for V6
Fitted with Toyota’s Dynamic Rear Steering system from the off, motivation comes from a normally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 combined with an electric motor and battery pack for a plug-in hybrid configuration.
Another first for any Century generation, which from 1997 to 2017 had sole access to Toyota’s only V12 engine, the plug-in hybrid set-up develops a combined 303 kW fed to all four corners through a CVT. The claimed all-electric range is 69 km.
As a comparison, the Century sedan makes use of a 5.0-litre conventional hybrid V8 that sends 317 kW to the rear axle through a CVT.
About that price
Confirmed to be made in batches of 30 a month at the Tahara Plant in Japan, the Century SUV will enter production later this month priced from ¥25 000 000 (R3 237 120), making it pricier than the sedan by ¥5 000 000 (R647 424).
As before, it will remain bespoke to the Japanese Domestic Market.