2021 Toyota Venza Crossover

Toyota introduced their all-new 2021 Venza midsize two-row crossover in a virtual briefing to media last week.

According to Toyota the all-hybrid 2021 Venza two-row crossover delivers an intuitive driving experience with smooth acceleration, predictable handling, a quiet and comfortable cabin with lots of technology, all wrapped in a sophisticated design.

Going out on a limb maybe, we really like what we saw.  The new Venza, at first look, is handsome and refined. Based on what we know so far, Venza should be a serious competitor in the crowded two-row mid-size CUV segment.

This is not the first time we have seen Venza in the US.  Designed and built here from 2009 to 2015, it was the ‘middle brother’ in a crossover lineup that included RAV4 and the three-row Highlander.

We drove and reported on Venza several times. Following a refresh in 2013, Venza sales rose, but price point differentials were very narrow between the three and in 2014 sales fell off in favor of the Highlander and Toyota discontinued it in 2015.

Our last drive in Venza was the year it was discontinued.  We seriously lamented its passing, noting that Toyota still needed a credible vehicle in its segment.

Now it does. The 2021 Venza arrives in Toyota dealerships (from Japan) this summer.

Notably the all-new 2021 Venza comes equipped exclusively with the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain and advanced Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive. Significant features include a first-ever Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof, available 12.3-inch touchscreen display, JBL audio with nine speakers, 7-inch multi-information display (MID), digital rear-view mirror, and 10-inch color Head-Up Display.  

 

 

Not having driven it as yet, we can only speak to what we have seen in the virtual reveal and press release.

Here is some of what we heard at the virtual briefing. 

Infotainment 

The 2021 Venza provides cutting edge entertainment and connectivity through intuitive and versatile audio systems says Toyota.

Audio Plus w/8-inch touchscreen is standard on LE and XLE.  JBL Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation is optional on XLE and standard on Limited. It features a stunning 12.3-inch touchscreen display, 9-speakers and a 12-channel 1,200watt amplifier.

12.3-inch Display JBL Premium Audio

Features of the audio systems include AM/FM radio, SiriusXM and HD Radio, Apple CarPlay (includes Siri), Android Auto (includes Google Assistant), and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth wireless technology, and more.

The Available Dynamic Navigation features enhanced 2D landmark display, land guidance display, and freeway exit display.

Technology / Driver Convenience

A stunning new feature is “Star Gaze” Venza’s available fixed panoramic glass roof.  It uses electrochromic glass technology that allows switching from transparent to frosted modes within one second using an ON/OFF button. In frosted mode, Star Gaz brightens the interior while reducing direct sunlight, giving the cabin an even more open, airy, and inviting feeling.

The available Digital RearView Mirror on the new Venza enhances driver rear visibility when the rear seats are occupied or the cargo area is full.  A flip of a switch on the digital rearview mirror instantly provides the driver with a wide, unobstructed view from a rear camera.  

To further aid outward visibility, the Limited trim comes standard with Bird’s Eye View Camera w/Perimeter Scan.

An available 10-inch color Head-Up Display projects vital information at eye level, including speedometer and hybrid system performance indicator.

7-inch Multi-Information Display

Other driver assist/convenience features include a 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID) for the LE trim and a 7-inch color MID for the XLE and Limited trims

The standard backup camera features projected path and dynamic gridlines. A rear camera cleaning system is available to keep the lens clear.  The standard hands-free power liftgate can be set to lock automatically upon closing.

For additional convenience, XLE and Limited trims come standard with a Smart Key System that works on all five doors.

Toyota Hybrid System II

We have made no secret of our admiration for the Toyota Hybrid System.  In the new 2021 Venza, we expect it will make the best even better.

The latest generation Toyota Hybrid System II in Venza combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four- cylinder engine with three (yes three) electric motors in a highly efficient system delivering a total of 219 system horsepower.   The hybrid system optimizes electric motor low speed torque assistance and gas engine RPM – synchronized with vehicle speed, to deliver effortless and quiet acceleration.

Toyota Hybrid System II

Driver selectable NORMAL, ECO and SPORT driving modes enable the driver to adjust the performance profile of Venza as they see fit. In addition, Venza also has an EV mode that allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.

The hybrid system also has a sequential shifting feature, enabling the driver to “downshift” in steps for added vehicle control in hilly terrain with commensurate step increase in regenerative braking

The battery?  Newly-developed for Venza, the lithium-ion battery fits neatly under the rear seats for space optimization.

PED and MPG

Though not officially rated yet, Toyota says to expect fuel economy up to 40-mpg combined fuel economy from the 2021 Venza (LE trim). 

When turned on, Venza’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) system will help to achieve and maintain that efficiency for the vehicle.   Using navigation system operation data, PED will analyze driving habits while memorizing related road and traffic conditions.  The system then uses that data to minimize energy use in acceleration and optimize hybrid battery charging during braking.

The PED learns repeated routes and driver driving habits to predict slowing, stopping and/or acceleration by the driver. 

Using that information, PED optimizes accelerator pedal response to reduce energy consumption. PED also optimizes battery charging by predicting braking activity and adjusting pedal pressure to enhance regenerative charging during braking.

 On-Demand All-Wheel Drive

The 2021 Venza comes standard with Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive, a highly efficient system engineered to takes maximum advantage the Toyota Hybrid System II.

Venza’s Electronic On-Demand AWD employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. It works seamlessly and transparently, preemptively distributing up to 80 percent of driving force to the rear wheels which helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. The system also enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer.

Torque distribution is road-condition variable from 100:0 in constant-speed driving to 20:80 on slippery surfaces. Torque distribution can be indicated on the Multi-information Display and audio system screen.

Mechanical Elements

The high-strength-steel structure of Venza’s TNGA-K platform enables front strut and rear multi-link suspension  that fosters handling agility integrated with a smooth and quiet ride.  Handling is bolstered by an electronically controlled brake system featuring Active Cornering Assist (ACA), which engages the stability control to reduce understeer in certain cornering situations.

The 2021 Venza LE rolls on 18-inch multi-spoke two-tone alloy wheels, while XLE and Limited come standard with 19-inch multi-spoke super chrome finished alloy wheels.

Interior

Venza is all about convenience and comfort in a spacious cabin, says Toyota.

Elements will include very comfortable standard power seats (8-way driver on all grades and 4-way passenger on Limited). The power driver’s seat features an auto slide-away function. During driver entering or exiting, the seat automatically moves to the rearmost position to optimize ingress and egress.  When the Venza is started, the seat moves to the last position set by the driver.

NOTE:  For taller and bigger drivers, this is a real convenience plus.

Available heated front seats can be adjusted in three levels. Ventilated front seats are standard on Limited.

Venza employs S-FLOW cooling technology from Lexus. The system directs air conditioning only to occupied seats, providing comfort and helping to reduce energy consumption. When equipped with the 12.3-inch display, the climate control system is operated with Intelligent Touch capacitive controls.

Toyota tells us cupholders can accommodate large drink sizes, while the center stack tray can handle the largest iPhone models. Door bottle holders can take 24-oz bottles.

Behind the second row, cargo space is generous – 36.3 cubic feet of generous. A tonneau cover can be stored below the cargo deck floor when not needed.

Pricing, Performance and Availability

Pricing, availability, feature detail and performance data by model – will be made available closer to launch. 

As for a driving impression. That is yet to be scheduled.  We think we will be pleased, but you never know. 

In the meantime, you can follow news and information about the new 2021 Venza at Toyota Upcoming Vehicles

Source:  Toyota press release