The Toyota Crown Signia Is High Quality and Low Drama

toyota crown signia
Toyota Crown Signia Is High Quality and Low DramaNATHAN LEACH-PROFFER

Toyota is filling every nook, cranny, crack, molehill, anthill, and thimble it can find in the market with a tailored product. It’s Toyota’s world and every other manufacturer is playing catch up. Hence the new 2025 Crown Signia.

In much of the world, what will be known here as the Crown Signia is called the Crown Estate. That’s “Estate” as in “station wagon.” Because wagons are way bitchin’ and we Americans can’t get that through our calcified, SUV-addicted noggins. We’re silly stupid that way. It is, however, based on some short exposure at a press event in San Diego, a very nice wagon.

the toyota crown signia

Toyota is planning to sell only about 15,000 of the Crown Signia models in the U.S. during its first full model year. It’s a beastie built for other markets—like China—but there’s enough marginal advantage here in America to bring it over. Unlike the Avalon, which was built alongside the Camry in Toyota’s massive Georgetown, Kentucky plant, all the Crown models are coming out of Japan.


Crown was the name of the first Toyota sedan sold in the United States, the 1957 Toyopet Crown. Way back then it hit America with a wan chirp. This latest Crown is the 16th generation of the vehicle. It was brought into America last year as a replacement for the star-crossed Avalon sedan. But while the Avalon was clearly a sedan, the Crown is sort of a pretend crossover. It has the more-or-less swollen ladybug almost-fastback styling that’s seen on blunderbusses like the BMW X6, Porsche Cayenne Coupe, and a few of REI’s finest tents.

2023 toyota crown platinum
The Toyota Crown.Lucas Bell

The Crown Signia trades the tail slope for a more severe, wagon-like near-Kammback. So, it looks somewhat more like a conventional crossover. But more like a station wagon.

Like virtually all Toyota and Lexus models built with a transverse engine, the Crown Signia uses the TNGA architecture. In this case, it’s the TNGA-K components, which are the stuff of everything from the Camry sedan to the Sienna minivan. The Crown Signia’s 112.2-inch wheelbase is shared with the current Lexus RX. Think of the Crown models as a Lexus RX without all that pesky prestige.

the toyota crown signia

The only drivetrain is also a direct lift from the RX. It’s the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two-electric motor hybrid system used in the RX 350h. Total output is 243-hp… a sufficiency. An on-demand all-wheel drive system is also aboard using an electric motor at the tail to power the rear wheels whenever the situation demands. Which, considering the easygoing nature of the Crown Signia, is nowhere near all the time.

That in mind, the Crown Signia is an astonishingly pleasant machine. It’s gracious, confident, and oh-so-mannered. It’s the hospitality hostess at a sorority rush; the guy who knows how to tie a Windsor knot perfectly and precisely how long the tie should be. It’s like driving a Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

There is a “Sport” driving mode. Turns out that that sport is croquet.

There’s an EV mode perfect for sneaking out at night without waking up the HOA president. But it’s not for extended drives. And there’s an Eco mode. Alas, Eco doesn’t include any way to virtue signal to surrounding traffic.

It’s not going to prove quick either. The folks at Car and Driver tested the base Crown at 7.2 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. The Signia is slightly heavier, but with its slightly different power configuration, it lands a 7.0-second flat.

On hand at the event was the luxy-lux Limited variant with a giant glass panel making up the roof and the hides of things that used to moo covering most surfaces. The seats are very well shaped, the instrumentation is digital overkill (not one, but two 12.3-inch digi-displays), and all the bells, whistles, klaxons, and panic buttons of modern motoring are aboard. What’s notable is how harmoniously Toyota has gathered all the tech together. There’s nothing wrong with digital instrumentation as long the driver doesn’t have to scroll through menus just to bring up a trip odometer or the graphics become distracting. There are enough ventilation control buttons to make setting a decent temperature decently straightforward.

the toyota crown signia

A less lavish XLE model will also be offered. Mostly the differences will be material choices. That’s more cloth and less leather.

There are two advantages the Crown Signia has over the Crown not-Signia. The first is the obvious increased cargo capacity. Put the second-row seat down and there’s 6.5 feet of flat cargo area. That’s critical for those of us into in-vehicle napping. The second advantage is more subtle. That’s because since the Signia’s roof doesn’t slope as severely, the rear door opening runs a bit taller. So, the second row is a tiny bit easier to get into and out of. That may matter if the owner’s lifestyle includes helping older passengers in and out. That’s likely to be many Crown and Crown Signia buyers.

the toyota crown signia

The advantage the Crown not-Signia has is that it’s available as a Platinum model that pairs the hybrid system with a 2.4-liter turbo four to whammy out 340 horsepower. That’s the same drivetrain offered in the Lexus RX 500h. And that system uses a six-speed automatic transmission rather than the lackadaisical continuously variable unit in the XLE and Limited.

Once the house is paid for, the children have established themselves in their own careers, and the major concern in life is spending more time with the grandkids, something like the Crown Signia makes sense. It’s a high-quality, low-drama Toyota. Neighbors will come over, inspect the new purchase, and nod in appreciation of its sensibility. They will not, however, beg to go for a ride… unless there’s a slice of Marie Callender’s cherry pie at the end of the trip. And there’s an AARP discount.

The Crown Signia goes on sale this summer. Prices should start around $44,000 and rise up to about $50,000.

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