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First Drive: 2025 Toyota Crown Signia – Wagon, SUV or Something Entirely New?

by | June 6, 2024

Station wagon or SUV? The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia is a bit of both. Offered only in hybrid, all-wheel-drive form, it’s the second model to wear the Crown badge as part of a new Toyota sub-brand. The Signia is just rolling into U.S. showrooms and Headlight.News offers this first drive review.

2024 Toyota Crown Signia - XLE

The Toyota Crown Signia is being pitched as an SUV but seems more like a European wagon.

Americans have fallen head-over-heels in love with sport-utility vehicles and introducing anything that doesn’t fit the formula is a risky move these days. Indeed, most automakers have sharply pared back the number of sedans and coupes they offer – some abandoning them entirely – while station wagons are a truly rare commodity.

Toyota is the exception, retaining passenger car models like the Corolla and Camry, even as it expands its SUV line-up. The Japanese giant has also taken steps to carve out a new niche entirely. The Crown model that debuted in 2022 didn’t readily fall into any existing segment, blending design elements of a sedan and crossover. Now comes a second entry into this new sub-brand, the Crown Signia which is more a blend of station wagon and SUV.

To get a feel for the 2025 model I headed out to San Diego for a day’s drive. Here’s what I discovered.

What’s in common

2023 Toyota Crown Limited front street REL

The first Toyota Crown model was a blend of wagon and crossover. Key design elements are carried over into the Crown Signia.

Signia has plenty in common with the earlier Crown sedan, among other things sharing the same TNGA-K vehicle platform. They boast virtually identical sheet metal, at least from the nose to the B-pillar.

And both models are hybrid only. The system draws power for the front wheels from a 2.5-liter gas engine — mated to a continuously variable transmission. The three-motor electric side pumps power to the back axle. The Combined package develops 236 horsepower, enough to launch the Crown sedan from 0 to 60 in a bit under 7 seconds.

The Signia comes in a couple tenths slower – no surprise considering its weight climbs to around 4,200 pounds. Yet, for its size, it delivers a surprising 38 miles per gallon in the EPA’s combined cycle.  It also can tow up to 2,700 pounds.

What’s not

2025 Toyota Crown Signia - side parked REL

The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia also gets 21-inch wheels and tires on the highline Limited package, though the XLE goes with 19s.

There are some distinct differences between the two Crown models, however. That’s immediately visible up front where Signia features a distinctively perforated, monochromatic grille, partial front splitter and bi-level head and running lights. The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia also gets 21” wheels and tires on the highline Limited package, though the XLE goes with 19s.

The new SUV will not get the powertrain upgrade offered on the sedan, however, a package generating 340 horsepower out of a 2.4-liter turbo-four hybrid. The Hybrid Max package can launch the Crown sedan from 0-60 in 5.1 seconds.

Signia actually comes in about an inch shorter than the Crown sedan, but it is, by far, the roomier of the two models. The five-seat crossover features a 60-40 split/fold back seat, each section featuring a unique “extension board” which creates a long, flat load floor when the rear seat is folded. That permits cargo of up to 6.5 feet in length to be stored inside the cabin without having to drive with the tailgate open.

Cargo space is 25 cubic seat with the back seat up, 66 to 69 with it down – the difference depending on whether your Signia has the Panoramic sunroof. Oddly, even though it’s both longer and wider, Signia actually falls short of the more familiar RAV4 which goes from 37 to 70 cf, depending on whether the rear seat is up or down.

2025 Toyota Crown Signia - cargo bay

The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia gets as much as 70 cf of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.

Signia’s power tailgate, incidentally, can be opened simply by wiggling a foot under the rear bumper.

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Driving impressions

For those who seek the sort of reliability Toyota is known for, Crown Signia is all but certain to deliver. And it’s a more than competent offering for daily commutes and errand runs. The wagon-like SUV is quiet, smooth and comfortable, with a sense of luxury you typical don’t get from the automaker’s existing products.

2025 Toyota Crown Signia - driving

The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia takes a bit over 7 seconds to hit 60.

If you’re looking for something with sporty driving dynamics, however, you may want to look elsewhere starting with the Toyota RAV4 – which not only is quicker but also delivers an even more impressive 39 mpg.

As noted, Signia’s drivetrain may be fuel-efficient – but it doesn’t prioritize the fun-to-drive factor. Competent is the more appropriate word, and the gearbox is one of the key reasons. While it doesn’t have as much of that “motorboat” feel as some others, it doesn’t have a crisp feel when asked for aggressive acceleration. Sometimes the powertrain feels disconnected from the throttle, in fact, apparently acting on its own to keep the hybrid battery fully charged.

Signia’s driving feel is a little crisper when set to Sport Mode, but its downright sluggish in Eco. The new model also offers an EV mode that relies solely on the three-motor side of the drivetrain. As with most “conventional,” or non-plug-based, hybrids, it manages only a couple miles, at best, before the gas engine needs to kick in.

Upscale enhancements

The Crown badge actually is not new. It adorned one of the very first Toyota products to land in the U.S. more than a half-century ago. But it failed to click with American buyers and quickly was dropped. In Japan, however, Crown has remained a popular, upscale nameplate.

Reborn in the U.S. market, both Crown models are designed to offer a bit more refinement than comparable Toyota-badged products. Even the base Signia XLE gets features such as twin 12.3-inch displays and power eight-way driver and front passenger seats, and lots of soft-touch materials in the cabin. The Limited trim adds leather-trimmed seats.

There are numerous features designed to reduce noise, vibration and harshness, including acoustic laminated glass up front. Also available: a panoramic roof and heated and ventilated seats. The top-tier Limited model can also be ordered with 21-inch wheels and tires.

Tech talk

2025 Toyota Crown Signia - IP

The Signia’s instrument panel features twin screens and the infotainment system uses the latest Toyota voice assistant technology.

Signia’s extensive line-up of tech features include Intelligent Assistant voice system which can control a broad range of vehicle functions simply by saying, “Hey, Toyota.” Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

There are a number of high-power USB-A and USB-C ports, and Signia’s onboard software can be upgraded using smartphone-style over-the-air updates. Limited features an 11-speaker JBL Premium audio system with subwoofer.

Advanced driver assistance systems include pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind spot alert. Those come standard as part of the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 system. Additional ADAS functions are available as part of the Advanced Technology package.

More to come – possibly

Like other recent Toyota models, including the completely redesigned Prius, the automaker has put more emphasis on performance with its hybrid drivetrains. Even the smaller package can two up to 2,700 pounds with Signia. But it also is expected to yield 36 mpg combined once EPA numbers are finalized.

Johnson said Toyota hasn’t ruled out adding the Hybrid Max to the Signia checklist. And there’s another possible future option, the plug-in hybrid driveline Toyota just launched in Japan.

“We’re always listening to the voice of the customer for future powertrain options,” marketing planner Jessica Robinson told Headlight.News following Signia’s reveal last November.

Final thoughts

With the launch of the Crown family, Toyota now has two options for potential buyers that offer a decidedly more premium feel than familiar entries like the Camry or RAV4. While neither Crown and Crown Signia offer much in the way of driving thrills, they’ll likely find a wide enough audience to meet Toyota’s sales expectations.

The 2024 Toyota Crown sedan starts at $41,145 and pushes up to around $54,000 for a fully equipped Platinum trim package. Only two versions of, the 2025 Signia will be available: XLE and Limited grades. The Crown Signia jumps to $44,985 for the base XLE – one of only two trims offered. The Limited comes in at $51,250 before options.

Look for the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia to start rolling into U.S. showrooms by late summer.


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