Toyota Century: The Rolls-Royce Of Japan

The Toyota Century likely a car you have never heard of, that is unless you have lived in Japan. Reserved for the elite of Toyota’s homeland, the Century is the pinnacle of Japanese luxury. And now for 2018 it’s been redesign to be better than ever.

believe it or not, the Century has been around since 1967. It was designed as a tribute to the late Sakichi Toyoda, the original founder of Toyota industries, celebrating what would have been his 100th birthday. The first generation was built as a big sedan, utilizing a limousine chassis. It was an instant icon, thanks to its luxurious interior, but also it’s subtle approach and how it delivered it. The Century never screamed for attention like a Maybach or a Rolls-Royce, instead it delivered a platform for those that had a certain level of success, but in an understated manner. It’s properly Japenese.

It was such a smashing success from the get-go, it took 30-years for Toyota to come up with its successor. 1997 saw the Century get both a styling and mechanical makeover, bringing in a new era of Japanese luxury. The remodel brought on an overall size change as well as the addition of a new V12 powertrain. The exterior transformed significantly, and yet it still kept that stout box styling. The interior was incredibly lavish for the time, impressing while also staying understated just like the exterior. Toyota went against the grain, equipment the Century with Wool seats. This made for a softer and quieter interior, just what a high-level executive needs.

For 2018 the Toyota Century is getting it’s third-generation in 50-years. And while it’s an entirely new design, it looks surprisingly familiar. The exterior is still surprisingly unassuming, harboring that boxcar style the Century is known for. Even with its squared style the Century looks sleeker than ever, finding the sweet spot between ‘overdoing’ it and ‘staying the same’. The exterior dimensions have grown significantly, without getting grotesque in the process. It still has the appearance of a sedan, just a large one at that. Even more than that the Century is also lower, making it even more effortless to get in.

The interior also received a revamp, but much like the exterior, remains surprisingly similar. The layout is almost identical to its predecessor, and yet feels so modern. Where the 90’s cockpit had some minuscule screens, the new Century now has large LED screens for all your entertainment business needs. The wool seats have once again made an appearance, a lovely departure from the overuse of leather. If you look closely you can see the plethora of features available to the passengers in the back seat. Things like extra air vents, a smorgasbord of compartments, and even a place to put your feet up. Talk about lavish. The Century even features lace curtains, a subtle but serious touch.

The powertrain is no longer a V12, but back to a V8. Accompanying the 5-liter V8 is a full hybrid system, extending both the range, and usability of the Century. And yet it keeps that powertrain status symbol alive. No numbers have been produced for the powertrain, but it’s likely not going to blow anything away. The Century isn’t meant to go fast, it’s meant to get you to your destination in utmost comfort, and that is what it excels at. Rumor has it that you’ll have to drop $500,000 USD just to get your foot in the door for a Century, with options taking it higher from there. More than that, there will only be 600 of these produced, meaning you better act fast. Oh, and you have to live in Japan, because the Century has never been sold anywhere else in the world. Talk about exclusive.

The Century truly is a rare gem. I absolutely love the car, because it doesn’t scream at you like many other high-end models. Instead, it states what it’s about and then goes on about its business. Pure class. The way I look at it, the new Rolls-Royce Phantom is what rich people buy, the Century is what their boss buys.