Emboldened by the recent success of the Crown crossover, Toyota may be looking to bring yet another of its Japanese domestic models to a global audience. A new report from a local scoop website suggests the Toyota Century SUV is currently under development and will be available with both fully-electric and fuel-cell alternative powertrains. Now that’s interesting!
The Century is one of the most impressive luxury vehicles that you’ve never heard about. In Japan, this limousine is used by the emperor or important people who run the country and legacy companies. And as such, it’s a huge source of national pride. The fact that a Century SUV may be developed means there’s a shift in the way 4x4s are perceived.
The United States has normalized the use of SUVs as presidential limos. Of course, there’s also the presence of the Cullinan which cannot be ignored. After all, the Toyota Century is so often described as “Japan’s Rolls-Royce.”
The Century is also known for being the only Toyota with a V12 engine, the famous 1GZ built for ultimate smoothness but used by some crazy tuning projects as well. However, that kind of powertrain isn’t socially acceptable, and a report from Best Car Web claims the Century SUV will come out with a hybrid V6 system, followed by a battery electric vehicle (pure EV) sometime later.
The same story claims the development of the Century SUV is tied to an upcoming Lexus model called the TX. Both of them will use the platform from the Toyota Highlander, but the Century will be more bespoke and features a significantly larger wheelbase. Another difference: 3 rows in the RX but only 3 rows in this.
Our source claims the limo-style SUV will only produce about 300 horsepower from a 3.5-liter V6 and 80 hp from its electric motor, despite this being a huge vehicle. They claim it will measure about 5.2 meters long, so over 17 feet from bumper to bumper.
The powertrain is thus something tried end tested with the V6 rumored to match an 8GR-FXS from the Lexus LS500h, and so is the design. These renderings show a simple front end that looks like it’s been designed in the 1970s. The design of the Century has changed very little from the moment it came out in 1967. In fact, the first generation stuck around until 1997.
As Toyota transitions into an EV maker, a battery-only model will be developed. However, with utmost reliability being paramount, that could take a few more years. And just like Hyundai has developed some fuel-cell flagships, so too will Toyota, reminding the world of its eco-credentials.
Prices remain a mystery. While the Century is known as costing half as much as a Rolls-Royce, there is also the Century Royal which transports the Emperor of Japan and was believed to be worth $500,000 in 2006. At around 20 feet long, it’s about the size of a Maybach 62.