Expensive Toyota Or Cut-Rate Rolls-Royce? Meet The New Century

Toyota just unveiled its new Century a few weeks ago, ushering in a new model of its flagship domestic luxury sedan for the first time in over two decades. And with a price tag approaching $180,000, we wondered how it could be sold as a Toyota and not, say, a Lexus. But after watching this up close and personal walkaround video (complete with a rare look inside the cabin), it seems less like a fancy Avalon and more like a cut-rate Rolls-Royce.

Targeted towards Japanese captains of industry, government ministers, and members of the Imperial household, the Toyota Century is as luxurious as they come – and more understated than you might otherwise expect.

Its 210-inch-long frame is draped in rather conservative bodywork that’s less about attracting new customers than keeping existing ones happy. The common man (or woman) on the street might not even realize it’s a new model unless they’re either particularly adept at spotting new wheels, or sees it sitting side by side with the outgoing model.

Underneath the reserved shell, however, Toyota’s new JDM flagship marks a marked technological advance over the version it replaces. Not least of which is the hybrid powertrain that pairs a smooth-running, 5.0-liter V8 engine with an electric motor and a nickel-metal battery to deliver a combined 425 horsepower (317 kW). This in place of the V12 in the last version.

The question is, if you were fortunate enough to count yourself among the its core client base in Japan, would you choose the new Century as your mode of understated conveyance, or go for something that more overtly expresses your socio-economic standing?

  • Dude

    Looks Lincoln Continental- ish.

  • TheBelltower

    Cut rate Genesis.

    • Dude[Check JoinDate InProfile]

      What about this car seems at all inferior to a Genesis? I can’t find anything.

      • TheBelltower

        Not that I’m a fan of Hyundai, but at least Hyundai poaches old Audi designers who know how to use something other than a ruler. This Toyota looks like something that a third-world 1980s dictator would ride in. If you want to see gaudy-glam done properly, we can take a look at a 1960s continental.

        • DudeOriginal1

          I don’t like the way it looks inside or out but old rich people like the retro style. But the interior quality is certainly above a Genesis from what I can see. It is is the same class as something like a Phantom after all.

          • TheBelltower

            If this was compared side-by-side with a Phantom, this would fare about as well as a Corolla. I can’t imagine how old someone would have to be to like this car. Dementia-age?

          • DudeOriginal1

            Well it is half the price but they are going after rich Japanese executives. And apparently the styling and features are tailored for that demographic (and that’s the only place it’s being sold right now). Though as niche as it is I still think that with the (supposedly) cloud like wool seats, ultra quiet soft ride, passenger focused cabin and infotainment, etc, it surpasses Genesis in quality and isn’t far off from the likes of Bentley and Rolls.

          • TheBelltower

            The Hyundai comparison was just a cheap dig against the Toyota. Though I do believe that Hyundai is putting forth an honest effort. In no way does this compare to a Bentley or Rolls. From a design viewpoint, it’s very amateurish and clunky.

          • DudeOriginal1

            Your clunky and another’s retro. I don’t love the design but I don’t see anything amateurish about it (not really sure what that would mean in this context). I, and I assume you, only have these articles and images to judge the cars but the people who have actually been in and driven the thing say it’s comparable to a Bentley or Rolls and I don’t disagree. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        • Cobrajet

          What is Genesis doing by using fake Bentley logos, it’s really the same thing.
          The Century is designed to rival Rolls Royce, not some cheap Audi, they have Lexus to do that with “modern” designs.

  • LJ

    Looks like a cut rate Toyota from 1988.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    It’ll be engineered to within an inch of its life.
    So understated to the point of being bland.
    That’s cool.

  • I love this thing! Reminds me of uncle’s Cressida.

    • OdysseyTag

      Classic gems those things.

      • remember the 2.8i Twincam?

        • OdysseyTag

          Yep, incredible power for the time. Still look out for them on the roads.

    • Bash

      Oh I remember the Cressida.

  • Six_Tymes

    Looks like Putins car

    • brn

      Exactly. Looks more Russian than Japanese.

  • Dude[Check JoinDate InProfile]

    Meh. My friend loves this car but I don’t know why.

  • Bob White

    I want to import the V12 version. I have seen this car live and the build quality is simply outstanding. Unlike so other high end cars, it’s incredibly reliable.

  • Thomas


    > “would you choose the new Century as your mode of understated conveyance,
    > or go for something that more overtly expresses your socio-economic standing?”
    No, no, you are missing the point. What expresses my socio-economic standing better:

    1) Gold “Hammer pants” and a huge diamond necklace spelling out the word CASH hanging from a 12lb gold chain?

    2) A hand-made gray pin-stripe suit by Desmond Merrion or William Westmancott from Savile Row, with a Turnbull and Asser black tie?

    Perhaps it depends on who am I trying to impress, a reporter from USA Today, or others of my own class?

    – Thomas

  • USOZ

    The Emperor of Japan’s official car.

  • fuller

    Toyota must bring this car to USA it will be a game player in this category

    • Status

      Hell no. Toyota would do itself a deserves to bring the Century to the US and price like a lame Continental. Let the Continental have the airport taxi market; the Century is intended for a greater purpose.

      • Maximilian Norlande Rabbitt

        That and they’d have to rename it, or else pry the name from Buick

  • Mike Gonzalez

    only thing I really cared about in the video is that super sexy yellow CH-R in the back end of the show room

  • Dmitry Semenov

    this is gorgeous car! Although you will feel really really old driving this car 🙂 But it’s gorgeous.

  • Cobrajet

    Still more exclusive than a Rolls Royce.

  • TheBelltower

    High level of build quality on a car that looks like it was designed four decades ago does not equal a quality vehicle. At least Hyundai is trying. Toyota is coasting.

  • haji

    If you have to ask what’s good about this car, then you are not supposed to be owning one.

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