Toyota has its own ultra-luxury SUV to contend with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Bentley Bentayga, and Aston Martin DBX. That vehicle is the Century SUV.
Based on the Century sedan Toyota has long been offering in Japan’s domestic market, the Century SUV hopes continue that tradition while adapting to the emerging preference for SUVs as chauffeur-driven vehicles.
The Century was developed to offer outstanding quietness and comfort, allowing the passengers to rest inside the cabin or participate in online meetings while on the go. As such, cabin space and appointments were a high priority in its design.
The vehicle is identified by its four set-back headlamps and taillights to give the impression of a gaze of dignity. Unlike American or European luxury vehicles, there’s much less brightwork. The grille has been blacked out, while chrome accents are limited to the window sills and wheels. Rather than bearing complex character lines, curves or cuts, the body is quite simple and understated.
Don’t expect Rolls-Royce style suicide doors. The Century’s open the conventional way, to as wide as 75-degrees for easy entry. There are also retractable power steps to aid passengers who may have difficulty entering or exiting the vehicle.
Inside, the Century SUV offers rear passengers fully reclining seats with ottomans upholstered in the best leather. Ahead of each seat is a large LED screen for in-car entertainment. There’s also a large center console in between them that hides controls for the seats and entertainment, as well as storage.
The driver gets a fully digital instrument cluster along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Over in the center is a large touchscreen for in-car entertainment or other readouts. Controls for the climate are via soft-touch buttons. Selecting the gear is via a small electro-mechanical gear selector. The rest of the cabin features nice touches like LED ambient lighting on the door panels as well as seat vents for added cooling.
Powering the Century SUV is a 3.5-liter V6 plug-in hybrid system. It produces 406 horsepower. It is then paired with an E-CVT and E-Four AWD system that's aided by a rear electric motor. When fully charged, the hybrid system allows the vehicle to travel around 50-km on pure electric mode. Then the gasoline engine comes alive to continue the drive and charge the batteries.
In addition to 4WD, the Century SUV also has four-wheel steering called Dynamic Rear Steering. This allows it to make sharper turns at slow speeds and provides seamless, natural handling at medium to high speeds. There’s also a new feature called Rear Comfort mode that ensured a comfortable ride for passengers in the rear. It assists in braking control to suppress jolts when the vehicle comes to a standstill.
Buyers will be able to fully customize the body color and the interior to their liking with several options as choices. The new Toyota Century SUV is now available for order at a starting price of JPY 25,000,000 (P9.6 million). For now, Toyota will only accept orders for the Japan domestic market. It has yet to announce if the vehicle will be made available in other countries.
Toyota is in no rush either, as it will only produce 30 units per month, making this a possibly long wait for buyers outside of Japan that want one.