Toyota Century Review from North America

1997 Toyota Century 5.0L V12

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 5.0L V12 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.8 / 10
Distance when acquired36000 miles
Most recent distance172000 miles
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

Awesome, yet incredibly understated, luxury car

Faults:

The air suspension had issues at 75,000 miles.

Had to replace the steering rack at 110,000 miles, which wasn't too bad.

Parts can get costly.

Servicing can be a pain, parts must mostly be imported from Japan.

Have trouble holding their value.

General Comments:

Picked up in 2008 on a trip to Japan for only a bit over $13,000, and haven't regretted it. The car is beautiful and comfortable, yet incredibly rare. The V12 engine is powerful and reliable. Honestly, I think it's better than my old BMW in most aspects, even though they have trouble with depreciation.

The car isn't as much of a status symbol as Rolls-Royce; its styling is very similar to a Cadillac, which is kinda disappointing for a car worth around $100,000 new, but then again, the car is built with the Asian principal of modesty in mind. Still, I love it, and it's still extremely fun to drive, even if it won't get you tons of looks while rolling around town. I really don't care though, because I'm not that kind of person anyway.

It's sad that such awesome and classical luxury cars like this are virtually unknown to the general population. I know they don't really sell outside of Japan, so they don't bother with making it a left hand drive. I know it's not really a typical luxury car in the fact that it's not really marketed as one.

Despite the small problem with obtaining parts, it's a great car that rides very well and handles decently for a boat. It's nice and comfortable to drive, and it's designed with passenger comfort in mind, so that's saying something.

All round, I love my Toyota Century. I wouldn't trade it in for anything, and I intend to keep it as long as possible. These cars were built with incredible care (a lot of the car was hand made) and last a long time. I love the styling and the interior (I have the rare leather interior option, most Centuries have cloth).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2011

14th Dec 2011, 16:34

Interesting that they used the name from a North American mid-size Buick. I understand that Buicks are pretty popular in China, I don't know about Japan though.

29th Jul 2012, 18:56

The Toyota Century is Toyota's highest end luxury car. It's positioned above Lexus in the luxury segment, and is only available in Japan through certain dealers I believe. Other than a mild restyle in 1997, the car really hasn't changed since its inception in 1967 in terms of styling. Toyota only sells about 600 a year, and they are marketed as a sign of success through hard work, though there are stories of Yakuza bosses rolling in Centuries. They are the one of the only vehicles in the entire Toyota lineup powered by a V12 engine, and are very classically styled.

18th Aug 2012, 21:48

Hi is it possible to speak with you regarding your Century? I'm in Australia and have one. Do you have a site or email address? Cheers.

10th Dec 2012, 09:45

The Toyota Century is Toyota's flagship vehicle that you never knew existed. Styled like an old Cadillac Brougham, the Century was introduced in 1967 and named "Century" because 1967 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries and one of Japan's greatest industrialists.

While relatively unknown is Europe and North America, its appearance is iconic in Asia, being their version of a "mob car" I guess you could say.

Average review marks: 8.8 / 10, based on 1 review