When the 2021 Toyota Venza was revealed this spring, it received mixed reactions. There was excitement for the return of the Venza nameplate among some, while others questioned how the hybrid-only crossover will stand out from the best-selling RAV4 or the family-focused Highlander (both of which are offered as hybrid models). In order to learn how the 2021 Venza will fit Toyota's lineup and its target customer, we joined the automaker for a virtual meeting to get a deeper dive into the new crossover. Here's how the Venza will stand out from the pack.
Less Rugged, More Refined
If you plan to go off-roading in the mountains, hit a rough dirt trail through the country, or find the best camping views, Toyota has no shortage of vehicles including the compact RAV4 and the rugged, body-on-frame 4Runner and Land Cruiser SUVs. All 3 boast adventure-ready styling and off-road capability. If you plan to do none of the aforementioned activities but want a sophisticated crossover to navigate cities or highways, that's where the 2021 Venza steps in.
The exterior styling elements move away from the ruggedness of the SUVs mentioned previously and towards an upscale and modern look. In front, the Venza's trapezoidal grille is accentuated by thin LED headlamps and chrome accents. The back sports a rear spoiler and dual chrome-tipped exhaust pipes along with a continuous horizontal LED light which helps the Venza leave a sophisticated first (and lasting) impression.
Inside the cabin, the 2021 Venza provides a comfortable, serene, and upscale environment thanks to a minimalist design and high-quality materials. High molding and a wide console provide an open feel and ease of use. Ambient lighting and mixed patterns create an elegant look while perforated SofTex seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel offer additional creature comforts in the higher trims.
Built for the City
The 2021 Venza doesn't just look the part of a sophisticated, urban crossover, but also provides the efficiency, performance, and safety features that city drivers look for. If you're not looking for a hybrid crossover, you'll have to look elsewhere because all Venza models offer only one hybrid engine in the form of a 219 net horsepower 2.5-Liter 4-Cylinder with a newly developed lithium-ion battery that is more efficient, lighter and can achieve faster charging.
Venza’s Predictive Efficient Drive uses the navigation system to analyze driving habits and memorize road and traffic conditions to help optimize hybrid battery charging. The result is an efficient vehicle for city or highway driving with a best-in-class 40/37/39 estimated mpg (city/hwy/combined).
The Venza's hybrid engine and Toyota's new TNGA-K platform provide smooth acceleration, predictable and agile handling, and low noise, vibration, and harshness which is ideal for urban dwellers. Every model comes with Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel-Drive standard to add confidence for driving in inclement weather. The system helps to suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts and improves cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer.
Standard advanced safety features add to the Venza's urban appeal. These include Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Higher trims add Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking for squeezing into tight garages or street spots.
Sized Just Right
Currently, Toyota crossover shoppers must choose between the compact 2-row RAV4 or the family-focused 3-row Highlander. The larger 4Runner and Land Cruiser are great for open spaces in the country or sprawling suburbs but can pose a challenge on tight city streets. The 2-row Venza is a mid-size crossover that strikes the right balance of a compact exterior for navigating the city with ample space inside for up to 5 passengers and cargo.
The Venza's battery is located under the rear seats so passenger and cargo space are not compromised. With both rows of seats up, the Venza offers 28.8 cubic-feet of cargo space. With the rear seats folded, the cargo space increases to 55.1 cubic feet.
The upscale interior is complemented with Toyota's latest tech features including a 7-inch multi-information display, an optional 10-inch head up display, and a large 12.3-inch touchscreen display available on the higher grades that can be switched between driver or front passenger operation. There is also a brand new feature that is not yet available on any other Toyota vehicle - the Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof.
The new electrochromic technology allows drivers to select either a transparent or frosted mode for the panoramic roof with a simple on/off switch. The transparent mode allows for crystal clear views and the frosted view brightens up the cabin while reducing harsh sunlight to create a more airy feel. Neither the Toyota RAV4 nor the Highlander offer the premium feature.
Grades and Pricing
At $32,470 starting MSRP, the 2021 Venza will slot in between the compact RAV4 ($25,950 base MSRP) and the 3-row Highlander ($34,600 base MSRP). There will be 3 grades including LE, XLE, and Limited along with upgrade options such as advanced tech, panoramic roof, and the SofTex seats. The 2021 Venza will arrive in dealerships this September.