The 2021 Toyota Venza stands out in a sea of mundane shapes. The crossover’s fashionable exterior calls for consideration, and its cabin feels premium – outshining much more costly choices within the Toyota lineup. A hybridized engine lives beneath the hood, strengthening the basics of this upscale crossover with nice gas financial system.
For the reason that Venza is just out there as a hybrid, the congested highways and insane gasoline costs of Los Angeles made it the best place to place it by its paces. After every week of intensive driving, it’s clear that this premium crossover follows by on its on-paper guarantees by being an incredible device to sort out crowded cities, solely hindered barely by just a few minor flaws.
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The Venza stands out towards its opponents and the remainder of the Toyota lineup, adopting a distinctly totally different design language. Regardless of the angle, the styling of this crossover simply works. All of it begins on the entrance, the place engaging LED headlights flank a darkish, imposing grille. These parts come to a degree slightly below the Toyota badge, giving the Venza a pointy look with out harsh strains.
My tester sported a comparatively tame Coastal Grey Metallic end, which regardless of its low shine, nonetheless managed to catch just a few glances. Nevertheless, if a grey Venza is not flashy sufficient, Toyota gives nice various colours like Ruby Flare Pearl, Blueprint, and Titanium Glow. These brighter shades assist intensify robust styling parts such because the shoulder line whereas contrasting properly towards the darkish trim all through.
That shoulder line then blends into the LED taillights that span the width of the rear hatch. At night time, these lighting parts placed on a present, nearly mimicking the impact of the most recent Lexus NX. General, the Venza is recognizable as a premium product that just about stands by itself, wanting fairly totally different from the remainder of Toyota’s present lineup.
Seems apart, one of many predominant causes consumers think about the Toyota Venza is its environment friendly powertrain. Borrowing from the RAV4 Hybrid, the Venza is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine, producing 219 hp and 163 lb-ft. Like each Toyota hybrid SUV, the Venza comes normal with all-wheel drive and a constantly variable transmission.
The Venza is rated at 40 mpg within the metropolis and 37 mpg on the freeway, with a mixed common of 39 mpg. This locations the Venza above direct opponents such because the hybridized Kia Sorento, which consumes 39 mpg within the metropolis, 35 mpg on the freeway, and a mixed common of 37 mpg. The extra reasonably priced RAV4 Hybrid is a contact thriftier than the Venza, returning 41 mpg within the metropolis and 38 mpg on the freeway because of its 130-pound lighter curb weight.
Round Los Angeles, I discovered it straightforward to realize these figures. Throughout my testing, extra-light use of the throttle on the resulted in laptop indicated fuel-efficiency figures nearer to 44 mpg over a 60-mile loop spent nearly solely on highways.
Whereas Toyota is thought for producing among the most sturdy interiors within the enterprise, seldom are they equally luxurious. Nevertheless, the Venza strays by providing a totally totally different inside than the remainder of the carmaker’s lineup, specializing in premium options. All of it begins with the seats. Whereas they characteristic Toyota’s SofTex fake leather-based, the thickness of the fabric and the elegant stitching design assist elevate the look of each rows of seats.
In entrance of the motive force, you will discover a semi-digital instrument cluster with a small display screen within the middle flanked by two analog gauges that learn out your velocity and total effectivity, omitting your revs. Regardless of being barely low-res, the display screen shows info in a pleasant format that’s adjustable and straightforward to learn.
The optionally available 12.3-inch touchscreen is a pleasant addition, particularly when costlier choices inside Toyota’s lineup, such because the 4Runner and Sequoia, are caught with smaller shows. As normal, you get an 8.0-inch unit that also gives up wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Nevertheless, the upgraded display screen provides to the Venza’s total premium really feel. The show’s bigger measurement and better decision make it ideally suited for maps and seeing info extra clearly at a look.
Whereas there’s loads to love in regards to the Venza, this premium crossover comes with a premium worth. My tester featured the range-topping Restricted trim, beginning at $41,215, together with a $1,215 vacation spot cost. Nevertheless, optionally available extras such because the Superior Know-how package deal and a panoramic roof pushed the as-tested worth as much as $43,340. Totally loaded, this crossover prices $2,500 greater than a equally optioned Kia Sorento Hybrid EX with all-wheel drive, which begins at $40,765, together with a $1,175 vacation spot cost. A comparably optioned RAV4 Hybrid Restricted can be over $2,000 cheaper at $41,185, together with a $1,215 vacation spot cost.
Choosing the bottom Venza LE strikes the beginning worth all the way down to $33,885, together with a $1,215 vacation spot cost, however comes at the price of premium options akin to the big display screen and the semi-digital instrument cluster. The stripped-out Venza then falls proper within the crosshairs of the equally sized and optioned Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which begins at $30,115, together with a $1,215 vacation spot cost. Different equally sized opponents such because the Ford Escape Hybrid and Honda CR-V Hybrid additionally handle to begin beneath the Venza.
Round city, the Venza does an incredible job suppressing Los Angeles’ loud metropolis streets, making it a useful gizmo to sort out city environments. Nevertheless, take the Venza as much as freeway speeds and a considerable quantity of wind and tire noise permeates by the cabin. The shortage of enough insulation additionally permits a good quantity of engine noise that additional detracts from the driving expertise.
For context, each the Kia Sorento Hybrid and Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid supply considerably larger refinement and comparatively quiet cabins whatever the velocity. This places the premium Toyota barely behind its extra reasonably priced opponents.
For the reason that 2021 Toyota Venza is 5.7 inches longer than the RAV4 hybrid, it ought to embody extra cargo house. Nevertheless, the alternative is true. Regardless of its smaller measurement, the RAV4 gives as much as 69.8 cubic ft with the seats folded, whereas the Venza solely manages 55.1 cubes. Even the smaller Honda CR-V and Ford Escape Hybrid have extra room for stuff at 75.8 and 65.4 cubic ft, respectively. Transfer as much as different hybrid crossovers nearer in worth level, and also you get the likes of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa fe, at 75.5 cubic ft and 72.1 cubes with the seats folded, respectively.
This premium Toyota additionally struggles within the legroom division, with 40.9 inches upfront and 37.8 in for the second row. Third-row seating just isn’t out there. In distinction, a Kia Sorento Hybrid contains 41.4 inches up entrance and 41.7 within the second row, whereas nonetheless together with a 3rd row as normal. Even the shorter RAV4 Hybrid gives up extra entrance legroom at 41 in whereas matching the 37.8 in rear legroom determine.