Used since 1967, the Century nameplate lives on the part of the Toyota iceberg that we’ve never seen in the United States. It has historically denoted a big, luxurious sedan often referred to as Japan’s Rolls-Royce, and the brand announced it will soon appear on a flagship SUV.
Confirming a recent rumor, Toyota revealed that the Century SUV will make its debut online in September 2023. It hasn’t shown the model yet, but it released a preview image that gives us a basic idea of what to expect from it. The sedan has traditionally been characterized by a boxy, understated and elegant design, and it looks like the SUV will tick the same boxes. It features a pronounced belt line that flows into a squared-off quarter panel, horizontal LED rear lights, and bright exterior trim pieces to underline its positioning as a range-topping SUV.
The image shows someone wearing a glove preparing to open the passenger-side rear door. This confirms two points. One, the Century SUV (a name that may not end up on the production model) gets front-hinged rear doors instead of Rolls-Royce-style rear-hinged units. Two, its interior will be designed for chauffeur-driven buyers. We expect to find a long list of luxury and comfort features for the rear passengers.
We’ll need to be patient to find out what’s under the sheet metal. Toyota builds the current-generation Century on a platform launched in 2003, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the SUV rides on one of the brand’s newer architectures. Powertrain details remain under wraps as well, though an earlier rumor claims the high-riding limousine will use a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain built around a twin-turbocharged V6.
Toyota will stream the unveiling on its YouTube channel on September 6, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. Japan time, which is 9:30 p.m. on September 5 in California and 12:30 a.m. on September 6 in New York. While unveiling a car this late (or this early, depending on your perspective) might sound odd, nothing suggests that the Century SUV will be sold in the United States. The sedan model has never been available here.