2025 Toyota Crown Signia First Drive: Venza replacement puts efficiency and fashion first

2025 Toyota Crown Signia First Drive: Venza replacement puts efficiency and fashion first

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“Dude, that’s totally a wagon,” exclaimed a particularly astute observer as a 2025 Toyota Crown Signia sat in profile nearby.

Dude’s got a point. Toyota’s new hybrid “crossover” is long and low, with a minimal, inch-or-so ground clearance boost beyond the typical sedan norm. Apparently. Sure doesn’t look like it. The body is still on the tall side relative a wagon, but looking at the spec sheet reveals dimensions far closer in proportion to a Subaru Outback or Volvo V60 Cross Country than the similarly priced Lexus NX, or the vehicle the Crown Signia effectively replaces, the Toyota Venza. It doesn’t even have tinted rear windows.


Not that you’re going to hear much objection to a new wagon offering here at Autoblog, even if it needs the crossover tag to be more palatable to the masses. To be fair, though, the Crown Signia isn’t just a long-roof version of the Crown, Toyota’s attempt at reimagining the sedan. The Signia has that aforementioned ground clearance, is 4 inches taller in overall height and is 2 inches shorter in overall length. Passenger capacity dimensions favor the Crown “sedan” as well. The platform is shared (although basically every Toyota that isn’t a truck shares some variation of the TNGA platform), as is the interior design and standard hybrid powertrain.

Then there’s the name. Besides sounding like a business hotel in Nagoya, take a look at the pictures above and note that “Signia” doesn’t appear anywhere on the car, with “CROWN” instead taking the lead. This is apparently at the behest of company Chairman Akio Toyoda, who wants to elevate the Crown sub-brand in prominence. Now’s probably a good time to explain that the Crown has long been Toyota’s Japanese market flagship; a grand, decidedly old-school sedan that typically served as a limousine.

Frankly, though, this Crown seems to have as much in common with the Queen Elizabeth TV show as it does a Tokyo limo. There’s just very little flagship about it. Yes, it’s only available in top-shelf XLE and Limited trim levels, both of which include leather seating as standard after potential customers balked at the $44,985 XLE initially having cloth seats. Beyond the equipment list, though, the design and materials are just as ho-hum as they are in the Crown sedan the U.S. gets. It’s certainly no nicer than the new 2025 Toyota Camry XLE, which we experienced on back-to-back days with the Crown Signia outside San Diego.

The powertrain is without question a step down, as it features Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid system versus the new-and-greatly-improved fifth-generation system found in the Camry and Prius. The Signia’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder kicks in earlier, is louder when it does so, and the noise thereafter is the gravelly drone we have long come to expect that sounds more like a leaf blower than an automobile engine. That the gen 5 powertrain is so much more refined is the primary reason we’ve been so positive about the new Camry and Prius; that the Crown Signia has last-gen tech seems like a misstep for something that’s supposed to be a more refined, near-luxury sub-brand.

Overall system output stands at 240 horsepower, which isn’t a lot for a midsize crossover, but by wagon standards, it at least smokes a standard Outback and gets to 60 mph in a Toyota-estimated 7.1 seconds. Much like the similarly underpowered and hybrid-only Venza, however, the Crown Signia counters with exceptional fuel economy for the segment and otherwise. EPA estimates stand at 39 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined for every version, as all-wheel drive is standard. Also of use is the Crown Signia’s 2,700-pound max towing capacity, which bests the RAV4 Hybrid’s 1,750 pounds, NX 350 Hybrid’s 2,000 pounds and the Venza that isn’t rated to tow at all.