Home Reviews All-new all-hybrid 2021 Toyota Venza CUV returns better than before

All-new all-hybrid 2021 Toyota Venza CUV returns better than before


2021 Toyota Venza Limited in Coastal Gray Metallic

Toyota announced the return of an all-new 2021 Venza midsize two-row crossover this Spring.

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

Cutting to the chase, they nailed it.

We really liked what we saw in an earlier virtual briefing. The new Venza, at first look, is handsome and refined. Based on that look, we expected Venza to 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.

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 needed a credible vehicle in its segment.   Well now they do and – after driving the new Venza  – we repeat …… Toyota  nailed it.


2021 Toyota Venza Limited

We spent a week in the new 2021 Toyota Venza earlier and find it to be even better – lots better – than its namesake predecessor.

Toyota sent us the top-of-the-line Limited trim model loaded up with all the goodies.  In an elegant Coastal Gray Metallic with Black and Java interior – our 2021 Venza Limited arrived in our garage for just $43,100.

Here are some of the attributes of the new Venza which make it a winner in our book.


Our test Venza Limited came standard with the JBL Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation.  It features a stunning 12.3-inch touchscreen display, Intelligent Touch Capacitive Controls, 9-speakers including a subwoofer and a 12-channel 1,200-watt amplifier.


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

Other features of the JBL Premium system include AM/FM radio, SiriusXM and HD Radio, Apple CarPlay (includes Siri), Android Auto (includes Google Assistant), and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth wireless technology, USB and Auxiliary media ports plus three additional USB charging ports 

Technology / Driver Convenience

Venza’s optional ($1,400) stunning “Star Gaze” fixed panoramic glass roof was amazing.  It’s electrochromic glass technology 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. 

This baby really works – adding opulence to the interior treatments.

Standard on our Venza Limited was the new Digital RearView Mirror.  It enhances driver rear visibility when the rear seats are occupied or the cargo area is full.  A flip of a switch on the mirror provides the driver with a wide, unobstructed view from a rear camera.  Great feature.  We would be tempted to drive with it all the time.

Further enhancing driver convenience and safety was the standard (on Limited) Bird’s Eye View Camera w/Perimeter Scan. It features a low speed 360-degree view in both drive and reverse plus adds a curbside view.

Our Venza Limited was equipped with the optional ($725) 10-inch color Head-Up Display projects vital information at eye level, including speedometer and hybrid system performance indicator.

Other driver assist/convenience features include a 7-inch color Multi-Information Display (MID, Qi-Compatible Wireless Phone Charging, Integrated Backup Camera with projected path, a Camera Washer, Hands-free Power Liftgate and 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 find it has made Venza 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.

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.

On-Demand All-Wheel Drive

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

The 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.

Fuel Economy

Even with AWD standard, the new 2021 Venza delivers stunning fuel economy. Our test 2021 Toyota Venza Limited was rated at 40/37 mpg city/highway and 39 mpg combined.  We did not get enough miles in to confirm the rating, but if even close – stunning is the right descriptor.

Mechanical Elements

The Venza’s TNGA-K platform enables front strut and rear multi-link suspension delivers handling agility  integrated with a smooth and quiet ride.

An electronically controlled brake system features Active Cornering Assist (ACA), that engages the stability   control to reduce understeer in certain cornering situations.

Standard 19-inch multi-spoke super chrome finished alloy wheels complete the running gear on the 2021 Venza Limited.


Our Venza Limited did not skimp on the inside of its spacious, premium accented, comfortable cabin.  

Elements on our Venza Limited included power seats (8-way driver and 4-way passenger). The Perforated SofTex-trimmed front seats are heated and ventilated and can be adjusted in three levels.

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.

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. The 12.3-inch display on Venza Limited features climate system operation through the Intelligent Touch Capacitive controls.

Other premium features included LED interior lighting, illuminated door sills and footwells, leather-trimmed steering wheel, overhead console w/LED map lights, Soft-touch dashboard w/color-keyed piping with metal ends, wood-grained center stack and soft-touch wood-grained armrests.

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. Another great feature.  If you have ever struggled with a tonneau cover not in use – you know what I mean.


The 2021 Venza comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), their comprehensive suite of active safety systems and Toyota’s Star Safety System.


In addition to the standard Toyota vehicle warranties, Venza comes with an impressive Hybrid-components 8-year/1000,000-mile Materials & Workmanship along with a HV Battery 10-year/150,000 mile Warranty – that is transferrable to secondary owners.

How Much?

 As we noted previously, the 2021 Toyota Venza Limited MSRP is $39,800.  Our test vehicle priced at $43,100.

The 2021 Venza comes in two other trims besides Limited. The LE MSRP is $32,570 with the XLE MSRP $36,100. 

Get more information about the 2021 Toyota Venza HERE.


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