The Toyota Venza is back after an absence of nearly five years.
Essentially a renamed Harrier, the 2021 Venza will go on sale in the United States this summer and be offered exclusively with a hybrid powertrain.
Speaking of the latter, the model is equipped with a new hybrid system that features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack that resides beneath the rear seats. It enables the crossover to have a combined output of 219 hp (163 kW / 222 PS) and a combined fuel economy rating of approximately 40 mpg.
The crossover also comes standard with Toyota’s electric on-demand all-wheel drive system. It features a rear-mounted electric motor that can provide additional traction when needed. Toyota says the system works “seamlessly and transparently,” and can vary torque distribution depending on conditions.
Toyota didn’t say much about the Venza’s exterior, but it’s almost identical to the Japanese Harrier. As a result, the crossover has a fully enclosed grille that is flanked by slender headlights. The model also has a sculpted hood and a large air intake that is mostly blocked off.
Looking at the sides, we can see plastic body cladding and streamlined bodywork. The model also has a pronounced shoulder line, a gently sloping roof and 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels.
Continuing to the rear, the Venza has an angular rear window, a tailgate-mounted spoiler and slender LED taillights. Other notable highlights include a dual exhaust system and a hands-free power liftgate.
A Bold And High-Tech Interior
Moving into the cabin, drivers will find a three-spoke steering wheel and an instrument cluster with either a 4.2- or 7-inch multi-information display. To the right, is a stylish center stack which is topped by an 8- or 12.3-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
An assortment of options will be available including a digital rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 10-inch color head-up display. A six-speaker audio system comes standard, but it can be replaced by a JBL premium audio system which boasts nine speakers and a subwoofer.
Another interesting option is the Star Gaze panoramic glass roof. It features electrochromic glass technology which turns the panel from transparent to frosted in just one second.
Safety Comes Standard
On the safety front, the Venza comes equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance systems. This means even the base model features a pre-collision system that can detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Other standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights and a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
Rounding out the highlights are lane tracing assist, road sign assist and lane departure alert with steering assist. The XLE and Limited trims go even further as they have front and rear parking assist with automated braking.
An Urban Attitude
The Venza rides on the TNGA-K platform and features a multi-link suspension that promises to provide agile handling as well as a “supple, quiet ride.” Speaking of handling, the model has active cornering assist which engages the stability control system to limit understeer while cornering.
Engineers also prioritized comfort as the crossover has an acoustic glass windshield and strategically placed sound deadening material. In the quest for peace and quiet, the company added two resonance chambers that “help minimize air intake noise in the 530Hz and 650Hz ranges.”
Arrives This Summer
The 2021 Venza will go on sale this summer and slot between the RAV4 and Highlander. Toyota didn’t mention pricing, but the model will likely start in the low $30,000’s. Regardless of how much it costs, the Venza will come with a standard 36-month / 36,000 mile warranty as well as two years or 25,000 miles worth of complimentary scheduled maintenance.