For months leading up to its debut, speculation has been rife in Far East automotive circles concerning the potential replacement model of Toyota’s legacy flagship, the Century. In fact, many of the rumours suggest that the subsequent generation of this heritage nameplate will assume the guise of a Toyota Century SUV instead of the long line of full-sized sedans preceding it.
Well, that has all been confirmed during the launch event that Toyota held earlier today in Japan as the wraps were stripped off the boxier haunches of the latest Century SUV. If there had been any doubts about the consumer market’s appetite for luxury off-roaders, the morphing of the Toyota Century into a veritable tank is enough to put them to bed.
The Toyota Century sequel joins the ultra-luxury SUV niche
From first glance, it’s readily apparent that the new Century is meant to fend off the likes of the Rolls Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga in the ultra-luxury SUV space. Which is why where dimensions are concerned, it’s suitably considerable, measuring 5,205mm long, 1,990mm wide, and 1,805mm tall, topped on a 2,950mm wheelbase.
The Toyota Century’s design cues remain recognisable, as is the case with most ultra-luxury flagships. Just like on the outgoing model, you won’t expect any ostentatious shows of wealth here. Despite being bulkier, it retains much of the conservative lines from it’s sedan counterpart, with the translation into SUV proportions remaining relatively true to the car’s design lineage.
The front fascia rings true in this regard with boxy LED headlights, complemented by a grill with the Century’s phoenix emblem dating back to the inaugural 1967 model. The same LED light motif is repeated in the rear for symmetry and consistency.
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It’s from the side where similarities can be drawn between the Toyota Century SUV and the Rolls Royce Cullinan, especially in its Phantom-esque D-pillar. A distinct character line also adds a sense of fortitude to the car‘s side profile, pulling from the front to its rear haunches. Pair that with 20-inch multispoke rims as standard, or with optional 22-inch units. Each new Century is available with seven different two-tone paint choices.
Step past the rear doors (which open up to 75 degrees for ease of access) and you are immediately reminded of how the Century is meant to serve as an exercise in superlatives for Toyota, where no detail is too small for consideration. Available exclusively in a four-seater layout, rear passengers get to enjoy unbridled comfort from two dedicated captain seats bisected by a massive centre console. Each is electrically adjustable and can even lie fully flat, a feature that Toyota claims is an industry-first.
As a car to be driven in, rear seat amenities are aplenty, combining old-world sensibilities with cutting-edge conveniences. The former includes a shoe horn holder, retractable tables, and an analogue clock. As for the latter, enjoy entertainment at your fingertips from two headrest-mounted displays measuring 11.6 inches each, complemented by two removable 5.5-inch touchscreen control units. An 18-speaker audio system provides auditory excellence on the move, too. Naturally, there’s also a refrigerator unit, in the event you’d like to keep your champagne bottles chilled.
In the driver‘s seat, a plethora of displays provides crucial information at a glance. This includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster mated with a head-up display, as well as a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system. With that said, physical buttons are still thankfully available to control some of the car’s basic functions.
For power, the new Toyota Century comes with a 3.5-litre V6 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engine, paired to a CVT transmission and mounted on an eFour all-wheel drive system. A similar setup can be found on the TX550h SUV that was recently introduced by Toyota’s sister brand, Lexus.
While the car comes with a number of usual drive modes for varying settings, the addition of a ‘Rear Comfort’ mode is of especially noteworthy interest. With it, the car is tuned to distribute the driving and braking force in such a way that it doesn’t intrude upon rear passenger comfort.
A sportier GR model was also teased during the launch with rear sliding doors, hinting at the potential for a more powerful, performance-orientated Toyota Century in the future. Let’s not forget the previous generation’s GRMW Century, which was created exclusively for Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation.
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The Toyota Century SUV will go on sale exclusively in Japan, with a base price of 25 million Yen (MYR 792,105 approx.) before options. A ‘Meister’ will be assigned to each customer upon the purchase of their Century, to ensure that the car meets their exact standards.
Feature and hero image credits: Toyota
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur