Pros

  • Arguably the pinnacle of motor vehicle manufacturing
  • Reliability and overall build quality are superb
  • Exceptional driving experience
  • Incredible value for money

Cons

  • Fuel consumption is frightening
  • Availability of some parts may be challenging and expensive
  • 1990s tech is more than feeling its age
  • Be prepared to explain what it is to every second person

There are really only a few negatives to owning a Century, the fuel consumption, the potential challenge in accessing certain parts and the fact the tech is feeling very dated. Besides that, if you’re after a big luxurious land yacht, surely the Century is a no brainer.

The Toyota Century...

Publish: December 30, 2022

Driven by Japanese royalty, heads of industry not to mention organised crime Yakuza bosses, the Toyota Century is the world’s largest car manufacturers absolute flagship luxury vehicle and was initially created to commemorate the 100th birthday of Toyota’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda.

The Century has existed across three generations but in this in cheat sheet, we’re focussing on the second generation G50 available from 1997 to 2007.

All Century’s are handcrafted by Toyota’s most skilled and individually chosen engineers and artisans with many claiming the Century doesn’t just represent the pinnacle of Japanese car manufacturing, but is THE example of pinnacle of car manufacturing across the board.

Powered by a specifically made and incredibly smooth 5-litre V12 engine, the Century rides on bespoke engineered air suspension to provide the most limousine like experience to all occupants.

In terms of updates, as the Century is built to order, each example will vary from the last to a small degree. The original base recipe has remained the same from its first G50 iteration through to the last.

To say the overall build quality, from the fit and finish to the paint and panel accuracy to the driving experience is as good as it can be, would be a massive understatement.

Driven by Japanese royalty, heads of industry not to mention organised crime Yakuza bosses, the Toyota Century is the world’s largest car manufacturers absolute flagship luxury vehicle and was initially created to commemorate the 100th birthday of Toyota’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda.

The Century has existed across three generations but in this in cheat sheet, we’re focussing on the second generation G50 available from 1997 to 2007.

All Century’s are handcrafted by Toyota’s most skilled and individually chosen engineers and artisans with many claiming the Century doesn’t just represent the pinnacle of Japanese car manufacturing, but is THE example of pinnacle of car manufacturing across the board.

Powered by a specifically made and incredibly smooth 5-litre V12 engine, the Century rides on bespoke engineered air suspension to provide the most limousine like experience to all occupants.

In terms of updates, as the Century is built to order, each example will vary from the last to a small degree. The original base recipe has remained the same from its first G50 iteration through to the last.

To say the overall build quality, from the fit and finish to the paint and panel accuracy to the driving experience is as good as it can be, would be a massive understatement.

Driven by Japanese royalty, heads of industry not to mention organised crime Yakuza bosses, the Toyota Century is the world’s largest car manufacturers absolute flagship luxury vehicle and was initially created to commemorate the 100th birthday of Toyota’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda.

The Century has existed across three generations but in this in cheat sheet, we’re focussing on the second generation G50 available from 1997 to 2007.

All Century’s are handcrafted by Toyota’s most skilled and individually chosen engineers and artisans with many claiming the Century doesn’t just represent the pinnacle of Japanese car manufacturing, but is THE example of pinnacle of car manufacturing across the board.

Powered by a specifically made and incredibly smooth 5-litre V12 engine, the Century rides on bespoke engineered air suspension to provide the most limousine like experience to all occupants.

In terms of updates, as the Century is built to order, each example will vary from the last to a small degree. The original base recipe has remained the same from its first G50 iteration through to the last.

To say the overall build quality, from the fit and finish to the paint and panel accuracy to the driving experience is as good as it can be, would be a massive understatement.

In terms of the exterior, nothing really. Look out for any signs of repair work but there are no “common” exterior issues.

Inside, there are reports that the wool interiors tend to disagree with the sun and dry out/lose their softness if overly exposed to the sun.
Mechanically, the (1GZ-FE) V12 in the Century was designed to be smooth and quiet and it IS ridiculously smooth & quiet.

Although not designed for big horsepower, there are plenty of after-market performance parts available for the Century so you want more power, there’s plenty in there to unlock.

As far as second-hand cars go, typically they’ve been well cared for and have a good service history, but Toyotas of this generation even when neglected are still super reliable.

Other than age related problems like aged and brittle electrical connectors, leaking oil seals and water pumps, there’s really not much that goes wrong.

Like any used car of this age, there are always random things that can go wrong but there’s no one big common problem.

The (A342E) 6-speed automatic transmission is very reliable. It does share some internal components with some other Toyota transmission but it’s somewhat unique the Century which could make future repairs difficult and expensive.

That caution extends to the whole car actually, yes Toyotas of this generation are very reliable (in fact statistically there’s nothing more reliable), and the Century is assembled meticulously and made to last, however they are ageing and the fact that all Century

In terms of the exterior, nothing really. Look out for any signs of repair work but there are no “common” exterior issues.

Inside, there are reports that the wool interiors tend to disagree with the sun and dry out/lose their softness if overly exposed to the sun.
Mechanically, the (1GZ-FE) V12 in the Century was designed to be smooth and quiet and it IS ridiculously smooth & quiet.

Although not designed for big horsepower, there are plenty of after-market performance parts available for the Century so you want more power, there’s plenty in there to unlock.

As far as second-hand cars go, typically they’ve been well cared for and have a good service history, but Toyotas of this generation even when neglected are still super reliable.

Other than age related problems like aged and brittle electrical connectors, leaking oil seals and water pumps, there’s really not much that goes wrong.

Like any used car of this age, there are always random things that can go wrong but there’s no one big common problem.

The (A342E) 6-speed automatic transmission is very reliable. It does share some internal components with some other Toyota transmission but it’s somewhat unique the Century which could make future repairs difficult and expensive.

That caution extends to the whole car actually, yes Toyotas of this generation are very reliable (in fact statistically there’s nothing more reliable), and the Century is assembled meticulously and made to last, however they are ageing and the fact that all Century examples are imported combined with low production numbers, means ongoing availability and affordability of parts may be difficult.

In terms of the exterior, nothing really. Look out for any signs of repair work but there are no “common” exterior issues.

Inside, there are reports that the wool interiors tend to disagree with the sun and dry out/lose their softness if overly exposed to the sun.
Mechanically, the (1GZ-FE) V12 in the Century was designed to be smooth and quiet and it IS ridiculously smooth & quiet.

Although not designed for big horsepower, there are plenty of after-market performance parts available for the Century so you want more power, there’s plenty in there to unlock.

As far as second-hand cars go, typically they’ve been well cared for and have a good service history, but Toyotas of this generation even when neglected are still super reliable.

Other than age related problems like aged and brittle electrical connectors, leaking oil seals and water pumps, there’s really not much that goes wrong.

Like any used car of this age, there are always random things that can go wrong but there’s no one big common problem.

The (A342E) 6-speed automatic transmission is very reliable. It does share some internal components with some other Toyota transmission but it’s somewhat unique the Century which could make future repairs difficult and expensive.

That caution extends to the whole car actually, yes Toyotas of this generation are very reliable (in fact statistically there’s nothing more reliable), and the Century is assembled meticulously and made to last, however they are ageing and the fact that all Century examples are imported combined with low production numbers, means ongoing availability and affordability of parts may be difficult.

Body style:

4-door sedan

Engines:

5.0-litre V12 petrol
5.0-litre V12 CNG (compressed natural gas)

Power:

206kW – 5.0-litre V12

Torque:

481Nm – 5.0-litre V12

Transmission & drivetrains:

4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
6-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD) – From 2005

Fuel consumption:

15L/100km

Length:

5270mm

Width:

1890mm

Height:

1475mm

Kerb weight:

1990 – 2050kg

Body style:

4-door sedan

Engines:

5.0-litre V12 petrol
5.0-litre V12 CNG (compressed natural gas)

Power:

206kW – 5.0-litre V12

Torque:

481Nm – 5.0-litre V12

Transmission & drivetrains:

4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
6-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD) – From 2005

Fuel consumption:

15L/100km

Length:

5270mm

Width:

1890mm

Height:

1475mm

Kerb weight:

1990 – 2050kg

Body style:

4-door sedan

Engines:

5.0-litre V12 petrol
5.0-litre V12 CNG (compressed natural gas)

Power:

206kW – 5.0-litre V12

Torque:

481Nm – 5.0-litre V12

Transmission & drivetrains:

4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD)
6-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive (RWD) – From 2005

Fuel consumption:

15L/100km

Length:

5270mm

Width:

1890mm

Height:

1475mm

Kerb weight:

1990 – 2050kg

Warranty:

No manufacturers warranty as it is a grey import. Some import companies offered warranties when these were newly built.

Servicing:

6 months/10,000kms

Model range, pricing & features

Century

Price when new: $145,000 - $180,000

Price used: $21,000 - $60,000

The Century came standard with a 5.0-litre petrol V12, paired to a 4-speed automatic transmission (later updated to a 6-speed automatic transmission from 2005).

The focus was providing enourmous space and luxury to the rear passengers – offering full-size reclining seats (power-operated), ottoman, TV function, headphones and a variety of additional features that could be added.

Centuries had the ability to be fitted with an EMV option which added a DVD satellite navigation system, infotainment system and TV.

Because of the longevity of the G50, the Century was updated with a variety of features, beginning in 2006 when the Century gained curtain airbags, halogen headlights, rear tail lights, air purifier, Century theatre system featuring DVD satellite navigation, DVD player and an updated 12-speaker sound system.

2007 added digital TV capability, which allowed the models to continue to receive TV reception post analogue TV shutdown in 2011 in Japan. 2008 added HID headlights and 2011 added a reversing camera with guidelines as well as built-in electronic toll collection for Japanese roads.

Standard features:

16-inch alloy wheels
Full-size spare tire
Side indicators located on front fender corner
Chrome skirting
Electronically controlled air suspension
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Brake assist (BA)
Traction control
Electronic stability programme (ESP)
Driver and front passenger airbags
Front side airbags
Rear side airbags
Front and rear three-point seatbelts
Front and rear seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Cruise control
Projector headlights
Front fog lights
Light control system
Intermittent wipers
Central locking
Keyless entry
Rear doors – soft close
Power boot
Engine immobiliser
Electrically operated tilt and telescopic steering
Power steering
Electric windows – front and rear with auto up/down for all windows
Electric mirrors
Electric fender mirror – heated
Front console box (includes phone storage box on EMV models)
Front seat clock (digital in EMV models)
Rear seat clock
Rear console tower
Multi-information driver’s display
Dual-zone climate control
Rear console and ceiling mountedd air-vents
Wool fabric upholstery (leather upholstery – optional)
Electrically adjustable front seats
Electrically adjustable lumbar support for driver
Heated front seats (EMV models only, optional on non-EMV models)
Partially reclining front seat back (ottoman function)
Rear seat control system for front seats
Electrically adjustable rear seats
Electrically adjustable lumbar support for rear seats
Memory function for doors and rear seats
Rear seat massage function
Heated rear seats
7-inch LCD screen integrated into rear console tower (EMV model only)
AM/SW/FM radio
CD stacker
Infotainment display (EMV models)
DVD voice navigation (EMV models)
9-speaker sound system
Rear personal cassette deck
Headphone for rear passengers
TV antenna built-in
Telephone for rear seat passengers
12V socket
Adjustable rear reading lamp
Glovebox with 2-motion door
Assist grips
Sun visors with vanity mirrors for driver and front passenger
Front cup holders (2x in floor shift variants, 1x in column shift variants)
Rear vanity mirrors with lamps

2006 update:
6-speed automatic transmission
Full-size curtain airbags
Halogen headlights
Rear LED tail lights
Air purifier
Century theatre sound system
DVD satellite navigation
DVD player
12-speaker sound system

2007 update:

Digital TV capability

2008 update:

HID headlights

2011 update:

Reversing camera with guidelines
ETC (electronic toll collection) unit built-in

There are really only a few negatives to owning a Century, the fuel consumption, the potential challenge in accessing certain parts and the fact the tech is feeling very dated. Besides that, if you’re after a big luxurious land yacht, surely the Century is a no brainer.

The Toyota Century offers all of the touchy feely delightfulness of a Rolls Royce, Bentley or Maybach with far more exclusivity and atmosphere of uniqueness, yet not only is it a Toyota, it’s the very pinnacle of what Toyota can produce so the build quality and reliability are simply exceptional and the majority of examples on the used market are not only generally in absolutely superb condition, they cost less than a new Camry.

Therefore, it is a huge yes you should buy one.

There are really only a few negatives to owning a Century, the fuel consumption, the potential challenge in accessing certain parts and the fact the tech is feeling very dated. Besides that, if you’re after a big luxurious land yacht, surely the Century is a no brainer.

The Toyota Century offers all of the touchy feely delightfulness of a Rolls Royce, Bentley or Maybach with far more exclusivity and atmosphere of uniqueness, yet not only is it a Toyota, it’s the very pinnacle of what Toyota can produce so the build quality and reliability are simply exceptional and the majority of examples on the used market are not only generally in absolutely superb condition, they cost less than a new Camry.

Therefore, it is a huge yes you should buy one.

There are really only a few negatives to owning a Century, the fuel consumption, the potential challenge in accessing certain parts and the fact the tech is feeling very dated. Besides that, if you’re after a big luxurious land yacht, surely the Century is a no brainer.

The Toyota Century offers all of the touchy feely delightfulness of a Rolls Royce, Bentley or Maybach with far more exclusivity and atmosphere of uniqueness, yet not only is it a Toyota, it’s the very pinnacle of what Toyota can produce so the build quality and reliability are simply exceptional and the majority of examples on the used market are not only generally in absolutely superb condition, they cost less than a new Camry.

Therefore, it is a huge yes you should buy one.

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Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of December 30, 2022.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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