The Good Oil: Crown was former king of Toyota utes
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The Toyota Hilux is not just a Kiwi icon – it’s a global force for Toyota in the light-commercial market. But it wasn’t exactly a groundbreaker for the Japanese maker when it was launched in 1968. It was actually a replacement for another Toyota ute.
The Crown is Toyota’s longest-running model passenger-car name (it’s nearly a decade older than Corolla) and of course we all know it as a large family or executive sedan. But in its second and third generations the Crown was also the base for a “coupe utility” (that’s a plain old “ute” in Kiwi lingo).
The first came in 1962, either as a single or double cab; while it was based on the Crown platform, it picked up the ToyoPet Master name from a previous light commercial lineup. But a car-based double-cab ute? Move over Holden Crewman.
The third-generation Crown was also available as a ute, which also picked up the name of its door range. There was more power and more style – but no more Crown utes from 1971, as the original gave way to a more truck-like successor.
But the Crown’s ability to mix load-carrying with passenger-car comfort meant Toyota was still keen to emphasise the refinement and quality of its new ute. That was reflected in the name, with “High Luxury” contracted to “Hilux”.