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New Toyota Camry and Crown Signia: Doubling Down on Hybridization



The idea of a hybrid-electric vehicle was a bit hard to fully digest a quarter century ago, now thoughts of an EV-only automotive landscape are giving consumers cold feet when it comes to actually purchasing a new electric-only vehicle. So what's the world's largest automaker to do when customers can't afford a long-range EV, public charging infrastructure can be troublesome, and the environment is still suffering the effects of pollution? The answer: double down on hybridization. For the first time in the long history of the Camry name, it will only be offered with a hybrid drivetrain and while the Venza gets the axe, it is replaced by the more upscale and hybrid-only Crown Signia; a variant of the Crown sedan that replaced the outgoing Toyota Avalon. With the curtain lifted on two new models, let's find out what the new Toyota Camry and Toyota Crown Signia have to offer before they go on sale in 2024.


2025 Toyota Camry



For the 2025 model year, Toyota is introducing the ninth generation of their now second-best-selling model, the Camry. The Camry follows the RAV4 in sales but is still leading the numbers game in its segment, which, unfortunately, has been shrinking year by year as small SUVs phase out sedans. To keep things fresh, Toyota is ditching the V6 (we'll miss you) and the standard inline-four, replacing it with a hybrid drivetrain as the only choice for the first time in the 40-plus-year history of this model. The standard setup combines a 2.5 liter inline four with two electric motors upfront for a combined 225 horsepower that is sent through the CVT transmission to the front wheels, and now optional on all trim levels is a third motor on the rear axle that boosts power output to 232 horsepower for added AWD capability. Introducing Toyota's fifth-generation hybrid architecture (THS 5) means efficient upgrades like lighter batteries, motors, and engagement at lower RPMs to reduce emissions from the gasoline engine. Toyota is making the push to become carbon neutral over time. With that, a "Beyond Zero" badge can be found on the Camry as it is a major step in potentially hybridizing the entire lineup as standard.



Of course, the new powertrain is the biggest news from the 2025 Toyota Camry unveil, but what about the rest of the car? Designed at CALTY's California and Michigan studios, the Camry adopts some of the styling from the new Prius with slim LED headlights and other lighting components that will begin to take over the Toyota lineup as its latest design language. The silhouette remains familiar, with a sculpted, sleek, and sporty profile that is accentuated by functional ducts on sportier trims, and the choice of 18 or 19-inch wheels on SE and XSE models respectively. The new Camry comes in a plethora of colors with the new Ocean Gem and Heavy Metal along with popular classics like Ice Cap, Wind Chill Pearl, Celestial Silver Metallic, Underground, Midnight Black Metallic, Supersonic Red, and Reservoir Blue. The XSE grade adds a two-tone Ocean Gem, Wind Chill Pearl, Heavy Metal, and Supersonic Red with a Midnight Black Metallic roof. For many, the overall look may seem identical, perhaps lending itself to being called a mid-cycle refresh as opposed to an all-new model but the changes are more than skin deep and add to an elevated experience over the outgoing model.



Inside the cabin expect to see bits and pieces of the Toyota Crown inside of the Toyota Camry, much of the space has a similar design language employing the use of the same steering wheel and center console/infotainment area. The SE trim comes with a choice of Boulder or Black SofTex seats with white accents while stepping up to the XSE adds two exclusive choices, perforated black leather with a blue lining, or Cockpit Red. Both the sporty SE and XSE models come standard with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle-shifted and aluminum pedals at your feet. For those looking for added interior comfort, the LE model uses an embossed ocean wave pattern in a woven fabric in either Boulter or Black. The XLE features leather and microfiber seats in Light Gray or Black with a quilted pattern on the dash and front door panels. All models receive a newly engineered seat that's geared for comfort but high trim levels receive ventilated front seats for an added layer of solace during those difficult commutes, along with acoustic glass that helps deflect wind noise for an even more zen-like cabin. Lower trim models will receive a 7-inch digital cluster paired with an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, while the XSE and XLE models bump those sizes up to 12.3 inches for both screens or even more space to display important information and entertainment options while behind the wheel. Luckily, every new Camry owner will be able to access the standard push-to-start key system, dual climate control, and rear seat vents, along with Toyota's latest TSS 3.0 suite of safety technology.



What will the new Camry be like behind the wheel? The latest iteration of the TNGA-K chassis has been upgraded with added responsiveness and steering as its main focus while comfort always being a standard of the equation. Sportier models receive suspension tuned for more spirited driving, but ultimately this will not depart very far from the last model's very balanced driving dynamics. Until reviews are underway and pricing is announced, what we can realistically expect to see is a mid-size sedan that is loaded with options as standard with a starting price of around $30,000, Toyota is keeping this segment alive and may as well have the best weapon out of the shrinking competition that can attract enthusiastic drivers or just everyone.


2025 Toyota Crown Signia



The Toyota Venza did little to find a place in the packed mid-size two-row SUV segment, a competitive field with options that can cannibalize sales numbers for the big T. Toyota essentially imported the Harrier, an upscale version of the hybrid RAV4/ Lexus NX, and sold it to customers here, but they didn't bite as much as they did for fully loaded RAV4 models or the larger Highlander, so Toyota decided to rethink their whole approach when introducing the Crown Signia. When unveiled last summer, the Crown lineup consisted of a crossover (the Toyota Crown that's on sale now in the United States), a sporty SUV model, a normal-height sedan, and an estate variant aka a lifted wagon. After a few weeks of relatively soft teasing by Toyota's social media team, the estate model was unveiled, and its name... the Toyota Crown Signia.



The Toyota Crown Signia will be another model exclusively sold with a hybrid drivetrain like its less spacious sibling, the Crown. Unlike the Crown however, the Signia model can only be equipped with the 2.5 DOHC four-cylinder paired with two electric generators that also offer on-demand all-wheel drive, but it is yet to be seen if a future version will come with the beefy Hybrid MAX that makes the regular Crown accelerate like a bat out of hell. The SUV-ish Signia does allow the ability to tow up to 2,700 lbs with an ECVT that is not only responsive but allows for owners to get up to a reported 36 MPG combined all in a package that's agile, comfortable, and stylish.



Style is high on the 2025 Toyota Crown Signia, it's considered a crossover SUV but when you look at the long roofline and subdued height, it is more of a lifted wagon (ala Audi All-road) than your standard SUV. The front fascia consists of those familiarly stylized headlights from the Prius and now Camry, paired with what Toyota called a "hammerhead" front end, sleek, shorty, and snouty. The side silhouette is something to gander at, Toyota's design team did a fantastic job of making a true estate on top of the TNGA-K platform, the greenhouse is slim and angled to give it that sporty visage, and a black accent connects the greenhouse to the rear hatch with its short overhang; this is a wagon in form. The upscale Signia is available in five distinct colorways Storm Cloud, Finish Line Red, Oxygen White, Black, and Bronze Age, with either a set of 19-inch machine-finished two-tone alloy wheels on the XLE or 21-inch dark grey metallic alloy wheels on the Limited model.



The team at the Tsutsumi Plant in Aichi, Japan is also injecting plenty of comfort and features in the interior of this TNGA-K variant. The Crown Signia is aiming to fit five passengers in its two-row cabin in style, a mix of Softex and cloth drapes the either black or tan interior of the XLE trim level, while Limited models come with full leather. Regardless of trim level, the Crown Signia comes equipped with a quieter cabin thanks to reinforced front side glass (like upper-level Camrys) and a dash silencer, the front seats on both available models also come standard with 8-way driver and 8-way passenger power seats, the Limited adding a "slide away" feature. Those bolstered front seats also come heated and ventilated, and while you're upfront you may notice bronze accenting throughout that adds a layer of texture and visual panache, along with a smartly built set of HVAC controls that are actual, physical buttons. Just above those physical HVAC and drive mode controls is a 12.3-inch multimedia touch screen, this is the same size as the information cluster that provides a digital readout of every important piece of information to the driver in all its customizable glory. Of course, entertaining both driver and passengers is important on long trips, for XLE models a 6-speaker setup is standard, moving up to the limited trim gives you an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system that can play your favorite tunes on the radio or connected through the wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ systems on your mobile device. In our digital world our mobile devices are important and keeping them charged in a safe place is easier than ever in the Crown Signia with USB-C ports located in the front and back, with front passengers having access to a wireless charger, and all passengers having access to plenty of storage and cup holders. Cargo space is premium for any premium SUV, and with the Crown Signia's wagon silhouette a 66-inch long rear cargo space is available to store whatever is needed with 60/40 second-row fold-flat seats, accessible with the automatic power rear lift gate, this Toyota can handle more than just buying groceries.



The 2025 Toyota Crown Signia of course comes standard with TSS 3.0 and a bunch of connectivity features that will help it grab a piece of the SUV market that the Venza failed to. Pricing hasn't been released but when it lands on dealer lots at some point in 2024 most experts estimate that the starting price will be at least $45,000 for the XLE. The Crown Signia may be a substantial jump in price from the base model Venza it replaces, but it also offers a lot more as a model that targets the demographic it intends to reach, with an upscale fit and finish that rivals Lexus.


Closing

Will Toyota's big bet on hybridization pay off in the long run? Only time will tell, but if the demand for hybrid vehicles made with Aichi steel tells you anything, Toyota will continue to dominate on a global level.


All images courtesy of Toyota Motor Corp.











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