Preview: 2025 Toyota Crown Signia Hybrid SUV May Be a Goldilocks Choice
Toyota expands its SUV offerings with an SUV-like version of the Crown sedan, dubbed Crown Signia. This model rides on the same TNGA-K platform as the Crown and many other Toyota models, and it shares the hybrid four-cylinder powertrain. Where it’s different is in the more mainstream body style, with a raised roof and conventional hatchback.
In This Article
CR’s Take • Outside • Inside • What Drives It • Active Safety and Driver Assistance
In short: It’s the answer for shoppers drawn to the large proportions of the Crown but wish it was a bit more accommodating and practical. Or approached from a different angle, it’s a more stylish alternative to the Highlander midsized SUV for those not needing a third-row seat.
What it competes with: Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, Kia Sorento Hybrid, Nissan Murano, Volkswagen Atlas Cross SportPowertrains: 243-hp, 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder engine; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drivePrice: $42,000-$50,000 (estimated)On sale: Summer 2024
The Crown sedan was an interesting concept. It’s a platypus, combining elements from different types of cars. But like that distinct, egg-laying mammal, the Crown does have some compromises that the Crown Signia pledges to address—and a few that it will repeat.
The added headroom is a win. Headroom is a bit snug in the Crown for taller occupants, negating a chief attraction for buying a large car. The added cargo space afforded by the squared-off rear shape—and made easier to access via the liftgate—is certain to be a virtue.
The combination of physical buttons and a touchscreen seems like a win, but we found that the Crown’s controls and infotainment system require too much focus when interacting with them. The driver can easily adjust things such as the side mirrors or interact with the driver assistance features and the media system by using the steering-wheel controls. But it can be a struggle switching back and forth between multiple menus on the touchscreen infotainment system, accessing information in the huge cluster screen, or even using the electronic gear selector.
The Crown’s stubby electronic gear selector (basically the same setup used in other recent Toyota and Lexus models) is annoying to use, and we found that it’s easy to end up in Neutral by mistake.
Where the past Crowns, offered in overseas markets, were known for their Lexus-grade luxury, the latest Crown struck us as decidedly mainstream. The Crown Signia is likely to be similar. It could earn strong marks in our tests but still fall short of being confused with a premium model.
We got an impressive 42 mpg overall in the Crown all-wheel drive, and we measured 35 mpg overall in the Highlander Hybrid. It’s safe to assume those figures bracket what we’ll see in the Crown Signia when we buy one to test.
The added space and great, hybrid-enabled fuel economy may make this a Goldilocks choice for many Toyota shoppers.
The monochrome front fascia, with its body-color grille and slit-like LED headlights, gives the Crown Signia a look akin to an electric vehicle. From the side, it reminds us more than a bit of the Volvo XC60, with similar glass shapes and chrome embellishments. But the rear is all Toyota, with the thin, bodywidth lighting.
Overall, it’s a tasteful design that will fit right into America’s SUV-riddled landscape, although from most angles, it could be mistaken for a model from other automakers.
Toyota hasn’t released dimensions, but we can make some fair guesstimates. The Crown stretches 196 inches and rides on a 112-inch wheelbase—the same as a Highlander. Figure the Crown Signia looks like the halfway step between those models.
A chief appeal of the Crown is the easier access afforded by the elevated ride height compared with typical sedans, such as the Camry. The Crown Signia should be even better thanks to a raised roof. More significantly, the body change should bring much-needed headroom for the front and second rows.
The dash and center console look like they were ported over from the sedan. That translates to a full-color instrument panel display and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen. The XLE has a six-speaker stereo, while the Limited rocks an 11-speaker JBL stereo with a subwoofer. Both trims have wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The Limited comes with a digital rearview mirror, giving the driver an unobstructed view behind the SUV. To aid parking, it also has a surround-view camera.
There’s a suite of connected services with various lengths of free trials and necessary subscriptions. They include cloud-based navigation with Google points of interest, personalized maintenance updates, automatic crash notification, mobile WiFi, and remote access via phone or smartwatch.
In the sedan, we found that the center console boxed in the driver, contributing to making the large car feel small inside. With the Crown Signia, the added height should help, and certainly the available panoramic sunroof would give the cabin some welcomed airiness.
The Crown Signia comes with eight-way adjustments for both the driver and front passenger. The base XLE seats are wrapped in a combination of cloth and faux leather. Stepping up to the Limited trim brings leather upholstery, with quilting and piping. Heated and ventilated seats are available.
There’s a cleverly packaged vertical, wireless phone charger and three USB-C ports.
Back-seat passengers have vents, two cup holders, and two USB-C ports to placate them on road trips.
The power liftgate has hands-free operation. There’s a back-seat release in the cargo area to save a step when loading from the rear.
Unlike the Crown, the Crown Signia comes with a single powertrain: a 243-horsepower, 2.5-liter hybrid four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, and Toyota’s ubiquitous hybrid system of electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT). All-wheel-drive is standard and is enabled by a separate electric motor on the rear axle. Toyota estimates that its EPA rating will be 36 mpg combined.
We found that our tested Crown was good at transitioning from electric to gasoline power, but the engine worked hard when accelerating, a sensation no doubt magnified by the eCVT. There are three driver-selectable modes to configure the powertrain’s response: Normal, Eco, and Sport. We have found that Sport does bring a bit more verve to the Crown.
The Crown Signia can tow up to 2,700 pounds, less than what a traditional non-hybrid midsized SUV can pull.
The Crown Signia comes with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, featuring automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. In addition, it has blind spot warning and a safe exit assist system, which monitors for passing vehicles before it allows passengers to open the doors.
The Limited trim can be had with an Advanced Technology package that adds a variety of other features, including front cross traffic alert, lane change assistance, and traffic jam assistance.
The Crown name dates back almost 70 years, and it’s the automaker’s longest-running model name. Over the decades it has been applied to a series of luxurious sedans. Now the automaker is looking to adapt that moniker for a growing line of models that combine all-wheel drive, elevated ground clearance, and a hybrid powertrain.
The result is a unique mashup of vehicles and concepts, reminding us a bit of the original Venza. It’s hard to position it against direct rivals. The main competition may be other Toyotas or other stylish midsized SUVs, with the Crown Signia being the sweet spot for some buyers.
It’s offered with just a single powertrain, and it can be decked out in XLE and Limited trims.
The Toyota Crown Signia will be built at the Tsutsumi Plant in Aichi, Japan, and it goes on sale in the summer of 2024.
Here’s what we know so far.