Toyota brings back the Venza crossover-wagon as a hybrid
Toyota has announced the return of the Venza wagon-style crossover SUV as an upscale two-row offering. A hybrid powertrain will be standard in the new Venza, which will arrive in the 2021 model year. Also standard will be hybrid-powered all-wheel drive.
The 2021 Toyota Venza is a crossover fitting between the smaller RAV4 and the larger Highlander as a two-row option to compete in a more upscale market. Its market aim is clearly in the segment that features the Nissan Murano and the Chevrolet Blazer. This is a departure from the Venza’s previous-generation, which was pitched against the likes of the Subaru Outback.
Calling it uncompetitive and citing low sales, Toyota discontinued the previous-generation Venza in 2015. The earlier approach for the Venza didn’t resonate with consumers, but this new-generation 2021 model may have better luck. The new Venza is less wagon and more crossover, with a bigger appearance and more elegant appeal.
Built on Toyota’s new-generation A-K platform (TNGA-K), the 2021 Venza will be powered by the new-generation Toyota Hybrid System II. This combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with three electric motors, two of which are integrated into the transmission while the third powers the rear axle. Variable valve timing on the new 2.5L engine is controlled via an electric motor, which Toyota calls VVT-iE (variable valve timing-intelligent electric). This combines with an electric oil pump, water pump, and thermostat to improve engine efficiency by both removing mechanical weight and improving computer control of the system.
Total system output for the 2021 Toyota Venza is 219 horsepower (163 kW). Toyota is projecting an EPA combined MPG rating of 40 mpg (5.9 l/100km) and as with other new-generation Toyota hybrids, the Venza will have a “sequential shift” feature that allows the driver to downshift the car to slow down, improving braking regeneration to the batteries and aiding in mountainous or hilly driving situations.
The 2021 Toyota Venza is designed to include room for five. Tech-focused features include a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a 4.2 or 7-inch multi-information gauge cluster screen, a 10-inch color head-up display, and a digital rear view mirror. The full suite of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 systems are standard, including pre-collision, lane departure alert and steering assist, radar-assisted cruise control, and more.
The Venza will include a new offering from Toyota in the form of a digital rear view mirror. Also set to debut on the new 2021 Sienna and other models, the digital rear view allows the driver to select a camera view from the rear rather than a standard mirror view. This “looks through” the cabin and shows what’s behind the vehicle without obstruction.
Seating and interior storage space is aimed towards ergonomics and usefulness. Door bottle holders hold larger 24 ounce bottles while cup holders accommodate most common sizes of beverage container. Behind the second row is 36.3 cubic feet (1,028 liters) of cargo space. Uniquely, the tonneau cover for the cargo area can be removed and stored underneath the deck board when not being used.
The 2021 Toyota Venza will enter the North American market in the third quarter of 2020. Pricing and other details will be released closer to launch.