It’s been 20 years since Toyota launched the Crown Comfort, Japan’s Crown Victoria equivalent, and the rear-drive sedan meant for taxi duty was dated and stodgy-looking then, like a superdeformed vision of a Lexus LS400. No less a man than Akio Toyoda has recognized the Crown Comfort’s importance to the company, awarding it his “President’s Prize” back in 2010. But if the Panther-platform Vic’s departure taught us anything, it’s that all long-serving, fundamentally pedestrian cars with cult followings must ultimately pass from this earth. So here’s what Toyota is positing to replace the Crown Comfort: the JPN Taxi Concept.
Note that the machine pictured here isn’t Toyota’s first stab at the JPN Taxi. The version the company displayed at the 2013 Tokyo auto show seemed a little more, well, Tokyo. This year’s model—presumably closer to the 2018 production car—is less futuristic-looking, more reserved, and significantly dorkier, perhaps in keeping with the Crown Comfort aesthetic. It does, however, retain the 2013 concept’s hatchback, high roof, and sliding door, all features specified with an eye toward ease of ingress and egress for all passengers, including those in wheelchairs.