Only 2 New Toyota SUV Models Come Only as a Hybrid

Toyota is all in on hybrids with two new Toyota SUV models that only come as a hybrid. The Japanese automotive giant has pledged that all its vehicles will have a hybrid option by 2025. While Toyota works to fulfill the goal of double configurations, two SUVs don’t sport internal combustion-only powertrains right now.

The reimagined Venza and the all-new Sequoia turn heads because of their looks and fuel efficiency. Given their likable hybrid systems, Toyota may have to reconsider their pledge and maintain exclusively electrically-assisted propulsion.

What’s new for the new Toyota SUV model—the 2022 Toyota Venza?

A red 2022 Toyota Venza, one of the new Toyota SUV models.
2022 Toyota Venza | Getty Images

The Venza wasn’t designed to fill a hole that one of Toyota’s half-a-dozen other SUVs couldn’t fill. Rebirthed last year, the luxurious midsize crossover is essentially an upscale RAV4. Comfort overpowers practicality, so the Venza is scarce in cargo space. However, its tech-forward, swanky interior and impressive crash safety ratings make up for it. 

There are slight upgrades on the trim levels— LE, XLE, and Limited—like standard leatherette upholstery on the middle-of-the-road trim. However, one of the most remarkable features is what Toyota calls the “Star Gaze” roof.

Topping the elegant cabin is an electrochromic glass roof that can switch from transparent to opaque with a button push. The Venza even comes with a fabric cover that blocks out light for passengers in the back.

Every Venza trim level comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 driver assist suite. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert maintain driver safety, as do eight standard airbags. Toyota says the LE trim starts at $33,240, and the Limited tops $40,000, but it comes with a nifty roof.

2022 Toyota Venza performance and fuel economy

Mechanically similar to the hybrid RAV4, the Venza sports the same powertrain. Each features a combination of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with two front and rear axle-mounted electric motors. Managed by a CVT automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the Venza provides an adequate 219 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. Although it can hit 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, MotorTrend says the Venza accelerates abrasively.

While it isn’t a punchy and agile machine, the Venza has one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the segment. The EPA estimates that drivers can achieve 37 mpg on the highway and an impressive 40 mpg in the city.

What’s new for this new Toyota SUV model— the 2023 Toyota Sequoia?

Over its 14-year lifespan, the Sequoia failed to keep up with its competitors. With lackluster towing capacity, fuel economy, and sluggish acceleration, Toyota’s big three-row SUV aged poorly. However, the 2023 Sequoia is a complete, from-the-ground-up redesign, sharing its platform with the new Tundra and global-market Land Cruiser.

Packed with modern safety tech like Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 suite, the new Sequoia isn’t just modern in appearance. New for the interior is a reclining and sliding third row. With it folded away, it’s not as large as its competitors but has a removable multi-use shelf system in the cargo hold. With 89.7 cu-ft of cargo space behind the first row, it’s identical to the outgoing 4 Runner, MotorTrend reports. 

Prices for the new Toyota Sequoia begin near $60,000 for the base, rear-wheel drive (RWD) SR5 trim level. The Limited, Platinum, and TRD Pro fill out the middle of the range, ending with the four-wheel-drive (4WD) Capstone at $80,000. Although the Sequoia is an expensive three-row SUV, it does feature Toyota’s brand-new hybrid drivetrain.

2023 Toyota Sequoia performance and fuel economy

Toyota said farewell to their naturally-aspirated 5.7-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission, a powertrain older than the original iPhone. While other Toyota models have a gasoline-powered engine and an electrically-assisted option, the Sequoia is hybrid only. Although its i-FORCEMAX 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and ten-speed automatic is designed for efficiency, it’s built for speed and power.

The powertrain combines the V6 grunt with the output from an electric motor placed between the flywheel and the torque converter. Subsequently, the system makes 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque. MotorTrend says the gargantuan will hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5.6 seconds, the best acceleration they tested in the segment. The Sequoia’s maximum towing capacity was also increased by more than a ton to 9,520 pounds.

One of the most significant changes for the Sequoia is its fuel efficiency. Toyota’s full-size SUV now boasts some of the best numbers in the segment. In 4WD configurations, the Sequoia can achieve an EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined. Ditching the additional off-road capability for RWD will help the three-row eke out another two mpg.

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