Since 1967, we've only ever associated the name "Century" with Toyota's most luxurious sedan. Going forward though, the prestigious name will also be used for an SUV, albeit the Japanese automaker refuses to use this term. It's officially described as a "new concept for chauffeur-driven mobility" that costs the equivalent of $170,000 in Japan. That's roughly five times more than a base JDM-spec Land Cruiser.

In an article published by the Toyota Times magazine, the company describes how the not-an-SUV Century comes to life on the assembly line. Built at the Tahara Plant in Japan, the luxobarge doesn't go through the usual inspection process. Instead, a master inspector performs all final checks on the vehicle. For a regular model, multiple inspectors oversee different parts of the car. 

Toyota Century SUV inspection

Both had to undergo a rigorous training program to earn the necessary certification. Since the Century SUV is not a series production model, Toyota has the luxury of taking its time with each car. A master inspector goes through a laborious process that consists of 17 steps. The paint job must be perfect, and the engine bay must be immaculate.

In addition, each master inspector must ensure there aren't any panel gaps or unevenness at body panel joints. Pictured here is Moriaki Higa, one of the two master inspectors who had been involved in inspecting Lexus cars. He says the standards for the Century SUV are stricter than those for a Lexus. He explains that paint inspection is usually done on a sampling of cars but for the Century SUV, each and every vehicle is thoroughly analyzed. There's a so-called "coating clinic" where the models with problems are sent to fix paint defects observed during the inspection process.

Toyota Century SUV inspection
Toyota Century SUV inspection

If everything looks in order, the Century autonomously goes to a different inspection station to have its mechanical bits checked out. It drives itself in purely electric mode by taking advantage of its PHEV setup. City driving conditions are simulated, and Toyota makes any necessary final adjustments to the wheels and headlights. After that, the posh SUV once again drives itself, this time to a dedicated test course where it's driven at higher speeds to detect any weird noises. A new test was created to analyze how the vehicle behaves when it's in pure electric mode.

All told, it takes three and a half hours from start to finish. Toyota projects it'll sell 30 units each month.

Gallery: Toyota Century SUV inspection

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