2021 Toyota Venza First Test: Smooth Operation

2021 Toyota Venza First Test: Smooth Operation

The all-new 2021 Toyota Venza has a lot of balls to juggle. It is the first Toyota SUV to be powered exclusively by a hybrid system, its design should push the brand in a new direction without being offensive, and it is touted as the most luxurious SUV in the Toyota lineup. So how well is the Venza handling all of its new responsibilities?

While its styling might not suit some, the new Venza isn’t what you would call ugly. It’s also undeniably different from what Toyota has been doing with the rest of its lineup lately, and it’s a sign of things to come for the brand. Appearances are subjective, but we think the Venza does enough to stand out from the crowd without resorting to originality or offense. It’s the design ball in the air, no problem.

Motivational wise, the 2021 Venza uses what Toyota calls the Hybrid II system, with a 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder under the hood, complemented by three electric motors, two at the front axle and one at the front axle. the back. In total, the motors and engine generate a combined power of 219 horsepower which is fed by a continuously variable transmission. That might sound modest for an SUV that weighs 3,865 pounds, and it is.

On a perfectly flat track with a thoughtful launch from one of our test team members, the Venza hit 60 mph in 7.5 seconds; not great, but a decent number for this type of vehicle. However, on a freeway ramp with an uphill grade, 7.5 seconds can be a lot more like 10. If you need to stop at 60 mph in a hurry, the Venza’s regenerative braking combines with traditional steel rotors to provide you with more power. train yourself in a solid 121 feet.

The Venza was also average in our figure eight test. At 27.7 seconds, the Venza is on par with the much bigger and heavier Toyota Highlander V-6 (4,462 pounds) that we recently tested. That said, this is a hybrid-powered SUV and gets people moving after all, and limiting acceleration, braking, and handling probably aren’t the first things on the minds of its potential buyers.

But fuel economy doubtless will be, and thanks to its hybrid system, the Venza manages an EPA-estimated 40/37/39 mpg city / highway / combined. Eagle-eyed readers will rightly point out that the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid’s numbers are slightly better at 41/38/40 mpg. Interestingly, the RAV4 also offers more cargo space – 33.5 cubic feet to the Venza’s 28.7.

Not only is the RAV4 more spacious and slightly more efficient, it’s also a lot cheaper. Last year, when we pitted a RAV4 hybrid against a Honda CR-V hybrid, we tested an XSE-equipped model (the most balanced RAV4 hybrid you can buy) that came in at $ 38,557. Our Venza test car, on the other hand, was a fully loaded Limited model that cost $ 43,325.

At this point, you’re probably wondering why you’d lose around an extra five thousand dollars on the Venza when the RAV4 offers (slightly) better fuel economy and more room behind the rear seats? It all depends on the latest Venza ball to juggle: luxury, baby.

Step inside, and the first thing you’ll notice is how the 2021 Venza supports its occupants, literally. The front seats of Toyota’s all-new Highlander look like the kind of filthy armchairs that have been in your grandfather’s house for 30 years. In the RAV4, they’re typical Toyota fare – not bad, but not great. By rigid In contrast, the Venza chairs are like a set of sleek, leather-trimmed Aerons. They support you without limiting your range of motion, and they have the ability to be heated and cooled.

Acoustic glass and special insulation in the wheel arches, cabin floor, headliner and engine compartment all help isolate the Venza’s cabin from the outside world. Even the suspension has been specially tuned to resist the transmission of unpleasant road noise into the cabin. It works. The Venza cabin is almost always a very quiet place.

Why almost? Because even with that special sound dampening in the engine bay, the Venza’s four-cylinder will sometimes break the dojo-like serenity of the cabin. Step on the accelerator and you will hear him scream and throw himself at the firewall. This is a minor irritation, because aside from the harshness of the engine, the powertrain is as smooth as it gets.













While the Venza feels slow at times, its three electric motors are an integral part of the powertrain. When you’re just cruising, unless you’re looking at the power gauge in the dashboard, you have no idea what engine is being used or if the engine is even on. The Venza just hums in the background while doing its job and rarely disturbs its occupants while doing so.

As features editor Scott Evans said, “The hybrid drivetrain is flawless. It’s super smooth and well blended so you never notice any transfer. Even the hybrid brake pedal is really good. It’s a consistent move throughout. “

The comfortable interior feel is affirmed by the way the Venza rolls on the road. It easily handles everything but the most tortured of sidewalks and rarely gets caught by big bumps and bumps. It even handles the occasional pothole with ease. Senior Features Writer Jonny Lieberman said there was a BMW-like quality to the Venza – high praise for a vehicle in this class.

Unlike the Bavarians, however, Toyota chose to use capacitive buttons for the climate and volume controls – which is now a “+” or “-” instead of an appropriate button. They can perform simple actions that are much more complicated than necessary, and often require you to take your eyes off the road to make sure you’re pressing the right key. Plus, the lack of a physical volume knob bothers – Toyota should have learned from Honda’s mistake in this regard.












Leaving aside its (very) little quirks, the Venza is a thoughtful and well-executed crossover. The Toyota team worked hard to make the new Venza different in order to get rid of the bland SUV image that once bore the Venza name. From our perspective, Toyota has struck the right balance, and the Venza juggles all of its responsibilities with confidence and skill to spare.

CHARACTERISTICSToyota Venza Hybrid Limited 2021
STARTING PRICE$ 40,975
PRICE TESTED$ 43,325
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine 4-door SUV, all-wheel drive, 5 passengers
ENGINE2.5 L / 176 hp / 163 lb-ft DOHC 16-valve in-line 4 + 118 hp / 149 lb-ft (front elec), 54 hp / 89 lb-ft (rear elec); 219 HP (comb)
TRANSMISSIONAuto cont variable
WEIGHT ON BOARD (F / R DIST)3865 lbs (56/44%)
WHEELBASE105.9 in
Length x Width x Height186.6 x 73.0 x 65.9 inches
0 to 60 mph7.5 seconds
QUARTER MILE15.7 seconds at 140 km / h
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH121 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.80 g (average)
MT FIGURE EIGHT27.7 s at 0.62 g (average)
EPA CITY / HWY / COMB FUEL ECON40/37/39 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD84/91 kW-h / 100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB0.50 lbs / mile

Toyota Venza’s First Test After 2021: Smooth Operation first appeared on MotorTrend.

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