Toyota did a strange thing in 2022. Instead of releasing a new Avalon, it killed it off and re-introduced the Crown nameplate that hadn’t been in North America for a half-century. But the really strange part was that the nameplate was resurrected on a sedan and not an SUV.
Of course, what we didn’t know at the time (but mostly suspected), was that the Crown sedan was soon to be followed by a new crossover in the North American market. Thus, the Crown Signia, as it’s known, adds another SUV to the increasingly crowded mid-size segment, and will share showroom space with no fewer than nine other Toyota SUV models (not to mention seven Lexus models).
So, where does the Signia fit in? There’s a fair bit of overlap in terms of size and mission with Toyota’s existing Venza, which has only a year left before it vacates its spot in the lineup, possibly making this newest Crown a premium replacement for that outgoing model.
Built in Toyota’s Japanese Tsutsumi Plant, the Signia rides on the same TNGA-K platform as North America’s other, existing Crown model (not to mention every other midsize product in the lineup from the Camry to Highlander, and RAV4 to Sienna). Exploring the prototype model on display at the presentation, the cabin proved spacious and comfortable both front and back. The rear seat not only offers good leg- and head room, but also large side windows and a panoramic glass roof to help prevent claustrophobia despite its stylish sloped roofline. And with those rear seats folded flat, the cargo area stretches to nearly 2.0 metres in length, giving it some additional practicality over its sedan sibling.
The TNGA-K platform has been tuned for minimal sound and vibration intrusion into the cabin, but Toyota has also added acoustic glass up front, dash silencing insulation, as well as an engine cover made of sound-absorbing materials, all of which should make the Signia a smooth, serene cruiser like its sedan namesake.
Offered in Canada only in Limited trim, the Signia is loaded up with a lengthy list of standard items including heated and ventilated front seats, leather seating, 12.3-inch digital gauge display supplemented by another 12.3-inch touch screen that operates Toyota’s latest infotainment system, plus wireless smartphone connectivity and charging. The 11-speaker premium JBL audio system and a hands-free rear liftgate are standard, too.
Toyota’s latest suite of active and passive safety elements are included, featuring lane departure alerts and steering assist, dynamic radar cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, plus lane tracing control and pre-collision detection and avoidance.
An optional Advanced Technology Package can add a front cross traffic alert, lane change assist and rear parking assist with automatic braking.
There’s only one drivetrain for the Signia and it’s Toyota’s venerable all-wheel drive hybrid system shared with the Highlander Hybrid. Like the Highlander’s, this 2.5L four-cylinder engine is bolstered by a pair of electric motors, one up front and one in the rear, offering up a combined 243 hp sent through a two-speed CVT.
Toyota estimates a combined fuel consumption rating of 6.5 L/100 km for the Signia and a towing capacity of up to 1,225 kg.
Plenty of Style
The Crown Signia’s profile and rear view are its most appealing angles with a squat, sporty appearance, especially riding on the gunmetal 21-inch wheels a shown. The family resemblance is there, hinting at a trimmer, more athletic version of the Highlander. The front is definitely the Signia’s boldest angle, and may prove polarizing for some potential buyers with its large, body-coloured cross-hatch grille panel, and thin-sliced LEDs forming the brand’s increasingly prevalent “Hammerhead Design.”
The slightly lifted profile and pronounced black wheel arches work much better here on the Signia than on the Crown sedan. There’s a two-tone paint option available that covers the roof black in contrast to either red, white, grey or bronze-coloured hues, but unlike the Crown sedan’s two-tone, it doesn’t also cover the Signia’s hood and tail end. Buyers can also specify a Signia finished in all black, too.The leather interior can either be just black, or the rich-looking two-tone saddle brown and black combo of the show car.
The Crown Signia looks to be an upscale move from the current Venza, offering more technology, space and style (not to mention power) that should appeal to buyers looking to move up from a RAV4 Hybrid. Trading on whatever prestige remains in North America for the Crown brand, this new addition should fit right into Toyota’s crowded SUV showroom when the Signia arrives next summer.