2021 Toyota Venza
Remember the Toyota Venza?
The two-row mid-sized crossover that was sold between 2008 and 2015 was an offspring of the popular Camry sedan. It was to be an option for families needing more space without the stance of a SUV. They sold quite well, but consumers wanted a more rugged-type vehicle that gave them more of a sense of security.
There are a few twists to this new Venza that make it a standout than before. It is somewhat related to the Camry, sharing a version of Toyota’s New Generation Architecture. However, it has more in. common with the RAV4 and the Highlander than the Camry these days.
Having our turn in this new Venza has us thinking how this stylish new entry into a crowded SUV landscape will standout with today’s consumer?
The first answer is how this new Venza simply looks stylish right off the bat. The design is mainly angular, starting with a sharp-nosed front end and a large lower grille, leading to a contemporary angular profile and glass silhouette. The roofline ends with a fastback-esque look leading to a short “shelf” and full-width LED taillights. The profile angles back to the bumper.
Our Limited tester adds a set of 19-inch chrome alloy wheels and some shiny bits of trim that make it stand out above the other two trim levels available on the Venza. This SUV is very handsome and quite distinctive. You might even say that it is very upscale – almost, Lexus-like – in appearance.
Once you open the wide doors, you are treated to a very contemporary cabin. The instrument binnacle is tucked behind the steering wheel with two large dials and an equally large digital information screen that offers a lot of information to read through. The entire dashboard is dominated by a very large 12.3-inch infotainment screen with touch-capacitive controls for audio, navigation, and climate controls.
We found the center console very interesting. That is where you find the large starter button, as well as the electronic parking brake and wireless smartphone charger tucked away underneath the center stack. The shifter is chunky – straight out of the RAV4. In all, we found the quality of this cockpit at its highest level.
The luxurious SofTex seats are large and comfortable. They are also supportive with deep bolstering in the seatbacks. Second-row seat room is very good for two-to-three average size adults. Cargo space is generous, starting with a 28.8 cubic feet space behind the second-row seats, expandable to 55.1 cubic feet with those seats folded down.
Those second-row passengers will also enjoy the Star Gaze panoramic roof as equipped on our tester. When you open up the blind, the roof panels are opaque with a fristed finish. A click of a button on the upper console above the cockpit will bring in the sunshine and the stars with a. clearer look above.
We often praise the hybrid driveline that the Venza shares with other Toyota and Lexus models. It starts with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, connected to two electric motors, a continuously variable transmission, and an electronic all-wheel-drive. All told, the system yielded a combined net 219 horsepower.
The hybrid driveline in the Venza does a great job motivating this 3,913-pound SUV swiftly around town and on the highway. It is also poised at speed and around town. However, one of the anticipated outcomes for a hybrid or electrified vehicle is to measure how efficient it is. In our case, we experienced an average fuel economy figure of 37.7 MPG.
The ride quality is exceptionally smooth. The Venza reacted to rougher roads with ample dampening. In all, this SUV offers a nice ride for its passengers. Handling is managed well with minimal roll and lean through evasive maneuvers. Cornering is controlled, but the Venza has a soft feeling when it reaches its limits.
We found the Venza’s steering system to be a bit artificial in feel, but very responsive at the same time. Turns were tight, giving us good maneuverability when we needed it. On-center feel is solid. The large brake pedal that felt good for us. Stopping power is just fine, though it will remind you of some older hybrids where there feels like some sort of delay in the system. We experienced decent stops in normal and panic situations.
Pricing for the 2021 Toyota Venza starts at $32,470. Our Limited tester came with a sticker price of $43,100. There are three trim levels to choose from – all with standard all-wheel-drive.
The Toyota Venza may be unique as it is exclusively powered by an electrified driveline. Therefore, various consumers will cross-shop it with an eclectic field of rivals. In all, we found that con summers have compared the Venza with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Honda CR-V Hybrid, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Murano – just to name a few.
This is not to say that that the new Toyota Venza is an outlier on the automotive landscape. It is a very good efficient and comfortable two-row SUV that not only fits between the RAV4 and Highlander in the Toyota lineup, it just might fit your lifestyle, as well.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors