Japan has a delightful selection of impossibly quirky or fancy cars that we, as unworthy Americans, do not get to buy new. The 2008 Toyota Crown is one such fancy car that’s aimed squarely at the working culture of Japan, and Mr. Regular of Regular Car Reviews went all the way to New Zealand to drive it.
Forty-eight percent of JDM cars end up in New Zealand, which in turn makes New Zealand some kind of crazy paradise of excellent roads and strange but wonderful cars.
Here’s an unassuming Toyota sedan that happens to have rear-wheel-drive and an adequately powerful V6. Its only transmission is an automatic, but we won’t hold that too much against it because it’s delightfully fancy.
It bings when you turn it on and off like an computer making start-up sounds. The doors suck themselves shut to close softly. There’s a factory MiniDisc player, for Brown’s sake. It has a decent number of clever gadgets and gizmos, some of which are hard to understand or impossible to use when the car isn’t in Japan and you don’t know Japanese. That means it’s even fancier in Japan, where the GPS systems work properly.
It’s all understated enough that its ability to drift, do donuts, wind down curvy roads and rip burnouts, making it somewhat of a nice little sleeper. I’d say bring it to America—its very similar cousin, the Lexus GS, has been sold here for decades—but given that we didn’t eat up the very similar Pontiac G8/Chevrolet SS twins, perhaps we don’t deserve another understated but fun sedan.