Without the badging giving it away, the 2021 Toyota Venza would look at-home on any luxury dealership lot. Put it alongside the Jaguar E- and F-Pace, Lincoln Aviator, or the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. We’re not kidding — most people wouldn’t know the difference. The delicate front grille and simple body lines lend themselves to a pedigree Toyota isn’t necessarily associated with. But you should take notice.
So is the 2021 Toyota Venza just an entry-level luxury model that didn’t quite make Lexus standards? Or has Toyota hit the market dead-on with a compelling blend of off-road capability and sophisticated refinement?
This is the first model of the new Venza to hit dealerships. It’s a big gamble for Toyota. Then again, with the current record low interest rates, this whole pandemic thing might actually help Toyota sell a bunch of these. It’s still too early to tell. However, if the new Venza piques your interest, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, we’ve got all the details you need to satisfy your curiosity about this new crossover. Toyota may have limited the options in a few places, but the Venza makes a name for itself where it really counts. Keep reading to learn more, especially when it comes to how the 2021 Venza stacks up against the competition. You might be surprised.
Toyota equips the 2021 Venza with a single powertrain. And it’s a hybrid engine. In fact, you might recognize it from the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s engine bay. Comprised of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three total electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, the unit makes 219 horsepower combined. As with most hybrid powertrains, the 2021 Venza has a continuously-variable transmission.
Interestingly enough, the 2021 Venza comes with all-wheel drive from the factory. However, Toyota failed to give the new Venza a tow rating. So while the 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 163 lb-ft of torque, you probably won’t use it to the full extent. The Venza seats five people, including the driver.
Available Color Schemes
You can choose from the following colors on the 2021 Toyota Venza.
- Coastal Gray Metallic
- Titanium Glow
- Ruby Flare Pearl
- Celestial Black
- Blizzard Pearl
Trimlines and Pricing
The 2021 comes in three different versions, depending on how much luxury you want it to have. Again, the powertrain remains the same across all three models, so you’re only paying extra for new features.
With a starting price of $32,6470, the base Venza’s standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, cloth upholstery, push button start, an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A hands-free liftgate will come in handy on long grocery trips. The power adjustable driver’s seat will satisfy most customers.
Riding on 19-inch wheels, the XLE model includes roof rails, LED headlights, heated front seats, leather/cloth seating, and “a larger driver information display.” Priced at $36,000, the XLE also offers upgrades like an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, driver’s seat memory settings, and black and chrome bumper trim.
For the most bang for your mega-bucks (nearly $40,000, that is), choose the Limited model. It’s fitted with illuminated door sills, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, power for both driver and front passenger, a nine-speaker JBL sound system, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen. The digital rearview mirror helps when the back is packed. The heated steering wheel will definitely help those hands in the wintertime. A heads-up display can be purchased for an additional fee, along with rain-sensing wipers and a panoramic roof.
The 2021 Venza has not yet been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the slew of features contained in the Toyota Safety Sense package. These driver assisting systems include “Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Bicycle Detection, a Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Lane Tracing Assist and Road Sign Assist.” Check with your local Toyota dealership to see these safety systems in action.
The EPA-estimated fuel efficiency of the 2021 Venza is 40 city and 37 highway miles-per-gallon, or 39 MPG combined. And if you’re worried about plugging the 2021 Venza in — and having to pay for electricity versus gas — rest easy. The battery actually charges itself during normal driving. You can’t even plug the 2021 Vezna in if you wanted — there’s literally no option for it. Simply fuel up less often and enjoy the drive.
Toyota slots the 2021 Venza between the RAV4 and Highlander, two strong models in their lineup. Though the Venza and RAV4 share an off-road streak, it’s the hybrid capabilities (also found on the Highlander) that we think will be the most decisive factor on the 2021 Venza. You’ll be presented with a potent blend of all-wheel drive functionality, alternative fueling, and luxurious refinement to boot. Per Toyota, the “Venza raises the standard of what a crossover should be.”
The luxury element is what many reviewers picked out from their time with the 2021 Venza. GearPatrol said “it looked like Lincoln made a RAV4.” Both Green Car Reports and CarBuzz detected a hint of Lexus in the styling. Experts from Kelley Blue Book noted the “cabin has a clean, uncluttered look to it.” Even Edmunds appreciated the “luxury-level interior quality.” When describing the exterior lines, Green Car Reports noted the “dominant message here is elegance.”
The 2021 Venza competes with the Ford Escape and Edge, Honda CR-V and Passport, Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, Chevrolet Blazer, Volkswagen Atlas, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, and Volvo XC40. Each of these offers its own set of pros and cons, with various price points. For many, the Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Ford models might be a bit more budget-friendly. However, both the Lincoln and Volvo nail luxury on the head.
Toyota boasts that the “Venza delivers the best of both worlds: sedan-like driving comfort and CUV versatility.” Though poised to compete with the smaller variants of the crossover market, the 2021 Venza strikes a solid stance. Whether or not this renewed nameplate can withstand the heat in its crowded segment is a fate yet to be decided by the masses.
The Last Word
The 2021 Venza will be arriving in the first few weeks of September. Get in touch with your local Toyota dealership to check it out. There’s plenty to admire about the new Venza, from the all-wheel drive capability to the many luxurious elements found throughout the vehicle. It’s certainly not the model of the past. But the real question is: will it become popular enough to be truly reborn? Only time will tell.