The Toyota Venza is back! After being discontinued in 2015, Toyota is giving the two-row Venza new life with an all-new model for 2021. It’s no surprise the Venza is making a comeback, given the popularity of SUVs. Toyota’s done a fantastic job with this 5-seater’s redesign both inside and out. Notably, it’s only being offered as a hybrid with standard electronic all-wheel drive.
The Venza’s new-generation hybrid system pairs a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with three electric motors. Two in the front, one in the rear. The system delivers a total of 219-horsepower. The Electronic On-Demand AWD system employs the separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. Toyota says it can preemptively distribute up to 80 percent of driving force to the rear wheels. The result is great acceleration off the line.
Ride and Drive
The Venza also merges confidently into highway traffic and a multi-link suspension provides a comfortable, smooth ride. Drive modes are Sport, Normal, Eco and EV. Sport mode provides the most engaged driving experience. EV mode isn’t really practical, as it’s only for short distances at low speeds.
The Venza comes in three grades and my test model is the top of the line Limited riding on 19-inch super chrome finished wheels. They look great set against the Coastal Gray Metallic exterior. A dark gray front grille features chrome accents. It’s flanked by LED headlights and dual LED daytime running lights, with LEDs for tail lights as well.
The Limited’s front and rear bumpers feature chrome accents. Color-keyed, heated and power outside mirrors are standard across the lineup, as are puddle lights. The Limited’s puddle lights add a Venza logo. Standard lineup features include black rocker panels, a shark fin antenna, dual chrome-tipped exhaust and an integrated rear spoiler. An optional Star Gaze panoramic sunroof means you don’t get silver roof rails.
The Venza’s stylish, modern and roomy two-toned cabin impresses when you open the door. Soft-touch materials and a mix of different textured trims give the interior a polished, detailed-oriented and upscale look. Materials include wood-grained trim on the door panel armrests and center stack along with silver accents.
The SofTex-trimmed black seats with nice contrast stitching keep you riding in comfort, with an 8-way power adjustable driver, and 4-way power passenger seat. Interestingly, you slide the large center console back to access hidden heated and ventilated seat controls.
A heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with chrome accents offers steering-wheel mounted controls. It’s also where you can scroll through info on the large, colorful 7-inch digital driver’s display centered between two analog dials.
Toyota thinks outside the box with the center stack which incorporates touch capacitive controls for climate and audio settings. I found the tap feature a bit cumbersome and prefer sliding touch controls or a knob. Underneath the left side you find a “floating” push button start.
The deep-set center console houses your leather-wrapped gear shift knob, drive mode control, electronic parking brake, auto brake hold, wireless charger and two cup holders.
The spacious second row offers A/C vents for passengers and envelope seat back pockets, as well as a drop-down center console with cupholders.
A unique feature is the Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof, shown in the video below. It has electrochromic glass technology that switches from frost to transparent modes. Frosted mode is designed to brighten the interior.
The Limited’s standard 12.3-inch touchscreen display is impressive, reminding me of what you’d find in a Lexus. It’s responsive with quality graphics and houses a birds-eye view camera in the Limited trims. Dynamic navigation and Dynamic Voice Command come with the Limited’s standard premium nine-speaker JBL sound system specifically designed for the Venza’s cabin. Voice Command works notably well. Connectivity features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa and Bluetooth. You’ll get HD Radio too.
Wireless charging is standard across the Venza lineup, as are four USB ports (two for each row.)
The Limited’s standard digital rearview mirror - which replaces the traditional view with a camera view - is a great feature with terrific sharpness.
My test model also comes with an optional color 10-inch head up display that is part of an Advanced Technology Package ($795) that also includes rain-sensing wipers.
The Venza’s standard hands-free power liftgate opens up to reveal ample cargo space: 28.7 cubic-feet with the seats up, 54.9 cubic-feet with the 2nd-row down. Both figures are when the Venza is equipped with the Star Gaze panoramic roof.
The Venza offers a lot of great standard safety with Toyota 2.0. It includes PreCollision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), and Road Sign Assist.
Blind Spot Monitor with Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking are standard on the top two trims.
What You’ll Pay
You’ll pay just over $43,000 for this loaded Limited model plus additional options, a great value for everything you get and the hybrid powertrain in my book.
Toyota gives us something unique with the Venza, a two-row SUV with some out of the box features and excellent hybrid drivetrain guaranteed to make your drive a pleasant one.
CarProUSA Show host Jerry Reynolds also reviewed the Venza Limited and you can check out his review video here.
2021 Toyota Venza Limited Review
- What I liked most: Looks, Interior, Star Gaze Sunroof
- What I would change: Touch Capacitive Controls.
- MSRP: Base price $39,800 as equipped $43,100.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 40 in town/ 37 highway/39 overall.
- Official Color: Coastal Gray Metallic.
- Weight: 3,913 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Temporary spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 186.6” long/73” wide/65.9” tall.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons with the filler on the driver's side.
- Towing Capacity: N/A
- 2021 Venza Limited in a few words: The 2021 Toyota Venza makes an excellent comeback in its hybrid-only form.
- Final Assembly Location: Toyota, Aichi, Japan.
- Manufacturers website: Toyota
- Warranty: Toyota Care includes all scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, 36-month/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and 10-year/150,000 hybrid battery coverage.