5 Things We Love About the 2021 Toyota Venza

Our old pal Venza is back, with everything it needs to lead the CUV market.
by Dan Nied
February 2021

OK, so the first iteration of the Toyota Venza wasn’t an immediate eye popper.

It wasn’t sexy like Supra. It wasn’t a flourish of design like Camry. Instead, it was a question: Is it a wagon or an SUV?

But over its initial run from 2009-2015, Venza became this unique chariot that earned a soft spot in our hearts. As sedan popularity gave way to SUVs, Venza gave us the best of both. Unsurprisingly, after it went away, the CUV segment it pioneered finally took shape with the likes of the C-HR.

When we heard rumbles that Venza was rising from the ashes after a five-year absence, it seemed more inevitable than shocking. A car with the fight of the Venza never dies. It just regroups and gets stronger before reemerging to be maybe the best dang CUV on the market today.

Here are five features that caught our eye.
The Look

There’s a hint of history in Venza’s new look, but only in subtle tribute. It does bear a bit of a resemblance to its previous generation – if it went paleo and started working out five times a week. Make no mistake, in the before and after photos, this is the after.

All Hybrid, All the Time

Venza comes only in a hybrid version. That means Toyota projects this new CUV will get an estimated 40 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

Venza’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) learns the routes you take regularly and is designed to figure out the best opportunities to optimize hybrid battery charging. Then, through optimum accelerator pedal release timing guidance, it helps reduce energy consumption. Fancy ways to say the Venza is always looking out for your gas-mileage interests.

Through the Roof

But you need a wow factor, right? Well, if you love looking at the stars, Venza’s your CUV. The available Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof can be switched from transparent to frosted with the push of a button. The frosted roof scatters light throughout the interior, while transparent allows you to (while parked!) marvel at the size of the universe. You didn’t expect Venza to provide existential inspiration, did ya?

Room to Play

The touchscreen is a nice, um, touch. The eight-inch monitor comes standard on the LE and XLE trim levels. A 12.3-inch touchscreen is available on the XLE and standard on Limited. And you’ll need it, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa connectivity, along with a three-month trial for Sirius XM All-Access for all Venza grades, all to listen to on the available nine-speaker JBL Premium Audio System. Guaranteed to annoy the guy next to you at a red light. But really, he’ll just be jealous he’s not the one driving a Venza.  

Sensible Safety

Among a wide array of safety features (eight airbags, anyone?), is Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. It’s standard, which means that every Venza sold will include:
  • Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection (PCS)
  • Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
  • Automatic High Beams (AHB)
  • Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
  • Road Sign Assist (RSA)
So yes, we’re all giddy to see Venza again. But this isn’t just some kitschy PR play for a once-quirky vehicle. This is Toyota’s latest re-entry into the CUV market. To that, we say welcome back Venza. We’re glad you’re on our side.
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