First Look: 2021 Toyota Venza

First Look: 2021 Toyota Venza

The next big innovation in panoramic roofs.

After a five-year hiatus, Toyota’s Venza nameplate is back to provide style-conscious crossover shoppers with another option in the midsize CUV marketplace.

Based on the Japanese-market Toyota Harrier, the 2021 Toyota Venza features swoopy, modern styling that’s more restrained and mature than what we’re used to seeing from Toyota. The corporate leering grille remains, although it’s less flamboyantly detailed than on other Toyota models. The upper false grille is flanked by a pair of slim LED headlights while the main side character line is taut, melding smoothly into the rear end’s slim full-width taillight treatment. Speaking of out back, Toyota has given the new Venza a rakish rear glass treatment that, while likely to impact cargo space, contributes to the crossover’s professional adult demeanor.

Inside, Toyota has ensured that the new Venza is plushly appointed. Uplevel trims get a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, heated and air-conditioned seats, a nine-speaker 1,200-watt JBL audio system and a trick electrochromic fixed panoramic moonroof. Previously the reserve of Maybachs and McLarens, electrochromic glass can vary its opacity based on electric current. In the new Venza, this means that the moonroof can suddenly turn frosted at the touch of a button, handy for letting some light in on bright days without cooking the occupants with the sun’s rays. Stitched materials abound while higher trims skip out on traditional centre stack controls in favor of sleek-looking touch-sensitive buttons.

Powering the 2021 Toyota Venza is Toyota’s Hybrid System II powertrain, a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine working together with three electric motors and a lithium-ion battery pack to provide power to all four wheels. The system is good for 219 horsepower and Toyota is estimating combined fuel economy of just 5.9 litres per hundred kilometres. The electric motor on the rear axle can direct up to 80 per cent of the Venza’s torque to the back wheels for increased traction in slippery conditions and the lack of a rear driveshaft makes for a quieter drive and better fuel economy. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard on all trim levels of the Venza and incorporates radar cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beams and lane trace assist. Blind-spot monitoring also comes fitted as standard. Higher trims get a panoramic parking camera system and front and rear parking assist.

Pricing has not yet been announced for the 2021 Toyota Venza, although more information is expected closer to its on-sale date later this year. With its unique blend of style, tech and efficiency, the new Venza is sure to land on many crossover shoppers’ short-lists.

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