Toyota’s All-New Venza Hybrid

The crossover SUV market is hot, to the point where these highly-functional vehicles have become one of the most desired of all models on the highway. Joining the ranks is Toyota’s stylish and new Venza Hybrid that definitely rates consideration.

After a five year hiatus, Toyota is bringing a totally reinvented 2021 Venza midsize crossover to the North American market. Built on the automaker’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, the 5 passenger Venza arrives exclusively as an all-wheel drive hybrid. It features a wider, lower, and shorter body than the similarly-sized RAV4, delivering a refined and sport-injected crossover for those wanting a bit more citified demeanor. 

Available in LE, XLE and Limited trim variants, Venza features Toyota’s latest tech and comfort innovations presented in a near-premium, roomy, and comfortable cabin. Toyota does a commendable job in mixing eye-pleasing, earth tone hard- and soft-contact surfaces with hints of burnished trims and gloss details, all within a driver-centric cockpit design. From a smart steering wheel and informative instrument cluster to a tasteful navigation/Infotainment monitor, function dictates form with features that are easily accessed and intuitive. 

Available options include a 12.3-inch touchscreen display with nine JBL speakers, a 7-inch multi-information display, digital rearview mirror, a 10-inch color head-up display, and a first-for-Toyota Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof with electronic pushbutton auto-obscure. 

All trim levels feature pressure point supportive, 8-way power adjustable driver and 4-way adjustable passenger seats that feature ample head, hip, and shoulder room in all seating positions. Passengers enjoy tilting seats in row two. Venza presents a softer, plusher ride dynamic with an emphasis on interior quietness and comfort for a sedan-like ride and crossover utility. In fact, Venza may be the logical hybrid uptick for Toyota loyalists wishing to break away from the rugged and outdoorsy RAV4 Hybrid, without venturing outside of the midsize 2-row crossover SUV segment.

Motivation comes from Toyota’s Hybrid System 2 powertrain and advanced electronic on-demand all wheel-drive as standard fare. This sophisticated hybrid system brings to bear a  2.5 liter, variable valve-controlled DOHC four-cylinder gas engine and three electric motors. Toyota increases the model’s fuel efficiency with automated intake and exhaust valve tweaks, electronic variable cooling, high-efficiency cabin climate control, and more. Toyota estimates a class-topping 40 city/37 highway fuel efficiency, with a slightly higher bump from the base LE with a combined 40 mpg.

Seamless torque transfer is on tap through a three-drive-mode, sequential shift-capable CVT (constantly variable automatic transmission) for adequate off-the-line acceleration and fuel efficiency. EV mode can be selected for short electric-only bursts. 

Along with its notable fuel efficiency and exceptional all-weather driving safety, the Venza comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, the automaker’s latest driver assist and accident avoidance technologies. These include a Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection. Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Lane Tracing Assist, and Road Sign Assist are also part of the package.

With an appealing design language that hints of Lexus, Toyota’s all-new midsize crossover entry is a departure from the “sameness” that too often pervades the crossover/SUV scene. There’s plenty of appeal here for those desiring a fuel efficient hybrid with welcome utility, functionality, and style.