- A combination of the high damage tolerance of TRIP-steel and the extremely low thermal conductivity of partially stabilized zirconia (PSZ) can provide controlled thermal-mechanical properties to sandwich-shaped composite specimens comprising these materials. Sintering the (TRIP-steel-PSZ)/PSZ sandwich in a single step is very difficult due to differences in the sintering temperature and densification kinetics of the composite and the ceramic powders. In the present study, we successfully applied a two-step approach involving separate SPS consolidation of pure (3Y)-TZP and composites containing 20 vol % TRIP-steel, 40 vol % Al2O3 and 40 vol % (3Y)-TZP ceramic phase, and subsequent diffusion joining of both sintered components in an SPS apparatus. The microstructure and properties of the sintered and bonded specimens were characterized. No defects at the interface between the TZP and the composite after joining in the 1050–1150 °C temperature range were observed. Only limited grain growth occurred during joining, while crystallite size, hardness, shear strength and the fraction of the monoclinic phase in the TZP ceramic virtually did not change. The slight increase of the TZP layer’s fracture toughness with the joining temperature was attributed to the effect of grain size on transformation toughening.