Expert Reviews

2025 Toyota Crown Signia First Drive Review

As Mark Twain is (slightly erroneously) credited with saying, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

So it is with the perpetually threatened station wagon segment, which always seems to be just about to go extinct, yet somehow clings to life because niche buyers still love them. Here's the latest of them, and despite the fact the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia is being called an SUV, it's still as much of a longroof as the original Venza was. Sixty years after Toyota opened its doors in Canada, you can still buy a Toyota Crown wagon.


The Crown Signia is pitched as a replacement for the outgoing Venza, which was always a head-scratcher of a vehicle. It was basically a RAV4 that had been driven past a Lexus dealership a few times to give it an air of luxury draped over a thoroughly mainstream product. It was luxurious in the same way that La Croix sparkling water has flavour, in that they keep one lime as decoration in the bottling factory and that's pretty much all you taste of it.



That’s a bit of a letdown, as it happens, because Canadians were uniquely bonkers for the first-generation Venza. In some years, around 20 per cent of all Venzas sold in North America ended up in Canadian driveways. We loved them like we love hockey, maple syrup, and a good bargain. With the second-gen Venza, bargain hunters would have to wander back over to a more basic RAV4 in the Toyota showroom.


Likewise, the Crown Signia is somewhat luxury oriented, priced a little over what the outgoing Venza cost, and available in just one trim with a single optional package. It's as niche as they come, but for wagon hunters who are looking for more polish than an outdoorsy Subaru Outback, yet don't want to step up to a luxury brand, the Crown Signia is helping keep the segment alive.


A Flagship Crown

Every sedan Toyota makes is a crown of some sort, from the traditional Japanese kanmuri (Camry) to the Latin term for tiara: (Corolla). Since 1955, the Crown has been the company's flagship model, with the early cars likened to a sort of baby Cadillac. Today, the Century limousine sits at the top of Toyota's range in Japan, and North America has Lexus as a cut above. Nevertheless, if you walk into a Canadian Toyota dealership, a Crown is supposed to be pretty much the nicest Toyota in the place.


With the Crown sedan, introduced two years ago, such certainly was the case: as much as 340 hp from a turbocharged and hybridized powertrain, an ultra-comfortable ride, well-sorted interior trimmings, and more visual presence than the Camry. It was a bit of a surprise from Toyota, but a welcome one.



The Crown Signia is perhaps less unexpected, but no less pleasing on initial introduction. From the outside, it's a sharply executed design, pulling off Toyota's new signature LED headlight treatment in slickly urbane fashion. The standard 21-inch wheels emphasize tarmac-first intentions; it might be called an SUV, but there's nothing particularly off-road-oriented about this car.


The Signia rides on the same platform as the Crown sedan, with a longer wheelbase than the RAV4 and Venza, which thus allows almost 20 per cent more rear legroom. Headroom is also greater, this in spite of a standard panoramic glass roof.There’s plenty of space and comfort up front as well and, being available only in Limited trim, leather seating is standard. The front seats are heated and ventilated, and the fit and finish is Lexus-like. The panoramic roof just adds to an airy-feeling cabin.

Polish Rather Than Outright Performance

Only one powertrain is available with the Crown Signia: a 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid good for a combined power output of 243 hp. This system is based on Toyota's nickel-metal-hydride battery pack, and overall it is not quite as quick as either the all-wheel-drive Camry, nor the similarly-equipped Crown sedan.


Anyone pining for the surprising highway passing potency of the old V6-powered Venza might be a little let down. Certainly, the Crown sedan's optional 340-hp powertrain would certainly wake the Signia up somewhat. But given the application here, Toyota's probably correct to keep things smooth and simple.


And smooth is the operative term here. The Crown Signia is a ride quality champion, and the cabin is almost spookily quiet. There's a considerable amount of acoustic damping here, including insulated glass for both passenger and driver's side windows up front, and insulation in the headliner. Even on California's concrete highways, which tend to drone and present frequent cracked and broken segments, the Signia was nearly an isolation chamber on the move.



Call on the powertrain for passing, or press the vehicle into the corners in the canyons, and the comfort-first mission pushes back a little. There's more zip here than you got with the Venza, and body motions are well-controlled, but the Crown Signia is not the type of vehicle to make you hurry. However, because this is the same platform as the sedan variant of the Crown, it does handle corners in a planted, sedan-like fashion.

No CompSci Degree Required

Beyond being a pleasantly laid-out cabin to experience, the Signia's cockpit has all the technology you want without a need to relearn how to use your car. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is standard, mounted high on the dash for good sightlines, and is paired with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. An 11-speaker premium audio system is standard, as are wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections.


Just below this screen are buttons aplenty, everything you need from seat-heating controls to air-conditioning. No need to navigate through endless menus, just a tactile push that you can pull off without looking.


Also nicely packaged is the area between the seats, which features a vertical charging port for your smartphone. Slotting the phone in vertically frees up real estate for a couple of cupholders, but also allows for the console to be narrow enough for Toyota's engineers to have added a little more hip room into the seats. There are five USB-C charging ports on board – three up front and two in the rear.



The standard safety feature list is lengthy, as we've come to expect from a modern Toyota product. This is the third generation of Toyota's Safety Sense driver-assist suite, and it comes with a collision mitigation system that offers pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high-beam control, and adaptive cruise control.


The Advanced Technology package is the sole upgrade for the Crown Sigma, at a cost of $2,125. It adds front cross-traffic alert, as well as rear parking assist with automatic braking. Also included is a surround-view camera system and puddle lights. The tech pack also opens up Toyota's subscription-based Traffic Jam Assist sub-40km/h automated cruise control system, as well as cloud-based navigation, free for the first year and roughly $20/month afterwards.

Crunching the Numbers

There are some further reasons to consider the Crown Signia as the sweet spot between the RAV4 and Highlander in Toyota's lineup. While the total cargo area behind the rear seats is slightly smaller than the RAV4 due to the roofline and panoramic roof, the extra length provides plenty of space – as much as two metres with the seats folded down. The seats incorporate a little extension panel to eliminate the gap caused by the headrests, too. How very wagonlike.


Towing capacity is a reasonable 1,225 kg (2,700 lb), total cargo area 702 L with the rear seats up, and 1,872 L with them folded. Fuel economy ratings are 6.0 L/100 km in the city, 6.4 on the highway, and 6.2 combined. With a 55-L fuel tank, that gives you a theoretical operational range of more than 850 km.


Then there's the pricing. At $57,450 to start, the Crown Signia is only slightly more expensive than a Venza Limited used to be, and less than $100 more expensive than a Crown sedan in similar trim. It's a large bump versus a RAV4 Limited, but you are getting a larger and more substantial vehicle, with a genuine luxury feel. There is a little overlap into the Lexus range, with the NX 350h actually starting a little less than the Crown Signia in price, but the NX is a smaller vehicle with a different target market.


Final Thoughts

Like the Crown sedan, the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia offers limited-but-specific appeal. Toyota obviously feels the same way, offering the latter in only one trim level, as compared to the thirteen different ways you get with a mainstream offering like the RAV4.


Further, it's not inexpensive, even if it ducks below the average new car price in Canada for 2023. But being limited in scope lets the Crown Signia deliver a targeted, specific driving experience. It's not a wagon rival to the Subaru Outback, nor just a fancier RAV4. It's something else entirely, more car-like than either, narrow-band aimed at efficiency and a relaxed driving experience, quiet and untaxing to drive. It'd be an ideal road-trip crossover for this summer. Sorry, not crossover. Roadtrip wagon.