Opinions

I Love the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia, and I Don’t Care Who Knows About It

The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia is pretty much perfect.

OK, I pulled that one from Dan’s Deep Bag of Bold Claims. And half a day behind the wheel is hardly enough to make a definitive determination like that. Despite that reality, this hybrid-only halo product has everything it needs to deliver the near-premium experience Toyota promised with the reintroduction of the Crown badge to this part of the world.

An Upmarket Entry

It started last year with this crossover’s sedan sibling, which delivered a stunning experience to what was always going to be a limited audience. While the Crown Signia is nearly as niche, it’s sure to appeal to more shoppers based on its body style alone. It also doesn’t look quite as awkward as the sedan, which is simultaneously sleek and burly.

Sure, the Crown Signia looks a bit like a squashed and squeezed version of the since-discontinued Mazda5 but with the front end of the redesigned Camry grafted to it, although it does so in the best ways possible. While this tester is a bit boring finished in white, it has an undeniably upscale presence.

The front half of the cabin is a virtual carbon copy of the sedan’s, but that’s hardly a slight against this crossover. With its saddle brown leather upholstery and subtle gold accents, the space lends credence to my unfounded theory that the sudden proliferation of the Crown brand was one of Akio Toyoda’s last orders of business before he exited the company as president and CEO.

Making a Monarchy

No, I don’t know exactly what went down when he resigned as head honcho of the automaker that basically bears his name; and it would be journalistically and ethically irresponsible to make such a claim with any sort of certainty. But here’s my story, and I’m sticking to it until someone from Toyota tells me otherwise.

The Crown was among this automaker’s earliest models – a sedan that helped establish the automotive brand Toyoda’s grandfather launched back in the 1930s. And while the name has lived on in Toyota’s home market, as well as in other parts of Asia, it’s largely disappeared elsewhere in the world.

So what better way to honour his forebears than by bringing that name to the masses and making it stand for something special? That’s why not one but two entries bearing the Crown badge were shoehorned into the lineup just as Toyoda relinquished the leading role, or so my theory goes. (There are two more versions of the Crown sold elsewhere, but the automaker has – at least for now – decided not to bring them to North America. It's also worth noting that Toyoda is still the company's chairman.)

Eager Anticipation

No matter what the story is, I’ve been looking forward to the Crown Signia’s arrival since I spotted a miniature model during a trip to Japan last year. This was before its official debut, but having already driven the impressive sedan – I still consider it one of the best cars I drove in 2023 – I was intrigued by the prospects of a more practical version.

Yes, I understand that not everyone wants – or needs – a crossover, but sales statistics tell me most do. And after poking around this exact example earlier in the year, my interest morphed into genuine excitement. While the shortcomings of the sedan version are few, this crossover more than makes up for them. For example, there’s more headroom here (albeit barely so), plus the extra space in the back is hard to ignore.

But driving is believing, which is why I happily embraced the offer to spend some time getting acquainted with the Crown Signia. And I knew exactly where to go in order to do it.

The Pursuit of Perfection

I kicked things off cruising along the highway at triple-digit speeds, spending a mostly uneventful 80 km getting settled inside. The fun stuff started as I cut through the quaint communities of Port Hope and Cobourg, Ont., before making my way towards the countryside.

Hustling along winding back roads at a comfortable clip, I was struck by the car-like quality to the way the Crown Signia drives – and that’s because it is car-like. Fear not, friends, it’s still a crossover. But its sleek shape and low centre of gravity make it feel more Camry than crossover from behind the wheel. Rather than sharp and sporty handling, it manages to smoothly slink its way through twists and turns with barely any body roll to report.

And it does so with a comfortability that belies the big wheels the Crown Signia rides on, with a Lexus-like quality on the road. Maybe it’s the extra mass being moved here – this crossover tips the scales at an extra 104 kg (230 lb) compared to the sedan in the same trim – but it manages to feel even more refined than its sibling, which is no small feat.

Pairing well with the silky driving dynamics is a hybrid powertrain that, while not especially stout, has been properly dialled to do the work that’s asked of it in this application. Whereas the Crown sedan is offered with a turbocharged motor that makes a combined 340 hp in conjunction with its electrical components, only that car’s base system is available here.

Even so, with a total of 240 hp to work with, this crossover never feels short of output. Better still, it’s incredibly efficient, with the indicated consumption rate measuring a minuscule 5.6 L/100 km after more than 180 km, most of which were racked up between tiny towns and twisting roads. (The final number inched back up to 6.1 at the conclusion of this nearly 375-km test, although the vast majority of it was spent on the highway where hybrids are least efficient.)

Final Thoughts

With one of my favourite beermakers barely beyond my chosen test route – OK, maybe that wasn’t a coincidence – I decided to swing by and pick up some suds to bring home. As I wheeled my way down the winding driveway at Slake Brewing for the trip back to the city, the specialness of the Crown Signia truly came into focus.

I had high expectations for this crossover, but its execution exceeded them – and quite handily, too. To take it a step further, the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia has the makings of what might well be the best vehicle on the market this side of six figures. Not only is that hugely high praise, but it undercuts that price cap quite significantly, with a starting price of $57,450 (and only a $2,075 options package offered above and beyond that in Canada).

Whatever the actual story is behind its deployment to this part of the world, it delivers a royally well-rounded experience that’s befitting of the literal and figurative crown it wears.