2021 Toyota Venza review highlights:
- 2021 Toyota Venza ($32,470 – $39,800)
- Autotrader’s Best New Car of 2021
- Pros: Excellent fuel economy, smooth and quiet ride
- Cons: Short on cargo space, could be sportier
Back in 2015, the original Toyota Venza bit the dust. But now, the 2021 Toyota Venza is back as a hybrid SUV to help its name live on. This SUV returned with a bang thanks to including multiple comfort and convenience features.
The new Venza lands between the compact Toyota RAV4 and the larger Highlander. But it lacks passenger and cargo space compared to rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Honda Passport.
However, the Venza has one advantage that the competition lacks: a standard hybrid powertrain. Plus, all-wheel drive is standard across the board. While not being the sportiest option, it’s efficient and provides luxurious comfort.
Which 2021 Toyota Venza trim is best?
There are three Toyota Venza trim levels:
- Toyota Venza LE – $32,470
- Toyota Venza XLE – $36,000
- Toyota Venza Limited – $39,800
The Toyota Venza XLE provides the most value with standard 19-inch aluminum wheels, keyless entry, and front and rear parking sensors. The base model comes with plenty of goodies, such as a wireless phone charger and a hands-free liftgate.
However, the XLE builds upon this tech with a larger driver information display, heated seats, projector-style LED headlights, and keyless entry. Plus, you get roof rails and simulated leather cloth seats.
Upgrade to the Limited trim to enhance the luxury experience. It comes with a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, a nine-speaker premium JBL audio system, a digital review mirror, a 360-degree camera system, and a heated steering wheel.
Benefit from full simulated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, the StarGaze panoramic sunroof, 10-inch color head-up display, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
How does the Toyota Venza drive?
We reviewed the 2021 Toyota Venza Limited, and it doesn’t come with any extra power. Each Venza is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and three electric motors that generate 219 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.
The Venza can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 7.6 seconds, which is average. It has plenty of power for passing others on the highway and for merging into traffic. While the Venza is a little slower than the Honda Passport, it’s faster than the V6 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Even though the acceleration is instant, the Toyota Venza lacks the sporty feeling that its confident look provides. The steering is a bit vague, but the Venza feels confident and well-planted around curves. It would be more exciting with a little extra pep.
The Toyota Venza gets an EPA-estimated 40 mpg in the city and up to 37 mpg on the highway. These figures were accurate while driving through mountainous areas and the flat countryside.
Is the 2021 Toyota Venza comfortable?
Yes, the new Toyota Venza is extremely comfortable. The front seats are large, supportive, and well-padded. Nothing felt sore or numb after three-hour road trips. Plus, the seats in the Limited trim are heated and ventilated. They are very effective at providing the perfect temperature.
Taller people may feel cramped in the rear seats, although the seatbacks can recline to help them find the perfect position. The dual-zone climate control and rear vents keep passengers comfortable, but they may want a little more knee room.
The Venza delivers a smooth ride over impacts in the road. There is a bit of noticeable wind and road noise at higher speeds. However, the cabin is well insulated, and the Venza is much quieter than the Toyota RAV4.
How is the Toyota Venza’s interior?
The 2021 Toyota Venza has a simple layout that’s crafted with high-quality soft-touch materials such as synthetic leather. Chrome accents and contrasting red stitching help the interior pop with a modern feel.
Everything is placed easily within reach, but storage for smaller items is limited. The massive center console is deeper than it is wide, and the glovebox provides adequate space. There is a tray for your phone in front of the gear shifter.
While the rear window is a bit small, the large windshield provides excellent visibility. Also, the 360-degree camera simplifies maneuvering through tight city areas. You can use the electrochromic panoramic sunroof to control how much natural light enters the cabin.
The Venza provides 28.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 55.1 cubes total. The rear seats have a 60/40 split and fold flat, but the liftover height lands at a slightly awkward position.
Does the Toyota Venza have good tech?
The tech is where the 2021 Toyota Venza goes from a little plain to outstanding. The optional electrochromic panoramic sunroof known as the StarGaze is a feature that’s only been available with luxury cars until now.
With the touch of a button, the glass panels go from transparent to opaque. The frosted look is the default setting, and it allows light to filter in while blocking heat. However, the sunroof is fixed in place and can’t be opened.
An 8.0-inch touchscreen comes standard, but you can upgrade to the 12.3-inch display. The graphics look sharp, and the system is quick and responsive. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexis come standard, but wireless connectivity would enhance the user experience.
The 7.0-inch instrument cluster display and 10-inch head-up display are easy to configure. You can display your fuel economy, how many miles until empty, what you’re listening to, and more with a few taps.
Is the 2021 Toyota Venza reliable?
According to Consumer Reports, the 2021 Toyota Venza has a reliability rating of five out of five. This score is above average and puts confidence in the SUV to last for years. The Consumer Reports reliability rating is typically based on issues that owners have reported with previous model years.
However, the Venza is just now returning after being discontinued in 2015. So, there isn’t much information to go on yet. The hybrid engine is the same powertrain as the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid though, it has an excellent reliability score.
It may cost about $441 per year to maintain your new Toyota Venza. This is excellent compared to the industry average cost of $652 per year.
How safe is the Toyota Venza?
The 2021 Toyota Venza is incredibly safe. It earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its ability to protect people during simulated crash testing. It also has a very low rollover risk during a loss-of-control scenario.
Plus, the Toyota Venza is an Insurance Institue of Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. The crash dummies were well protected from head, torso, and leg injuries during more safety tests. Also, child seats are easy to install.
Each Venza model comes with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes:
- Forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection
- Lane centering assist
- Lane departure warning
- Adaptive cruise control
MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Toyota Venza an expert rating of 7.4 out of 10
It’s true that the 2021 Toyota Venza includes tons of value. The base model comes with standard AWD, a hands-free power liftgate, and a wireless phone charger, while these options are typically reserved for the highest trim levels.
However, the Venza is lacking in terms of driver engagement. It just needs a little more power to enhance its excitement. The Venza serves as an excellent daily driver with a smooth ride, quiet interior, and agile handling, though.
It lacks cargo and passenger space compared to rivals. It’s larger than the Toyota RAV4 but has the same amount of space. Although, the luxury-crafted interior and advanced tech help make up for the lack of storage solutions.
There are no significant changes for the 2022 Toyota Venza, and it hasn’t been rated for towing. We hope to test the AWD system in the wild soon.