Hybrids & Electrics

Is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Enough to Take on the 2021 Toyota Venza?

The 2021 Toyota Venza debuted this year. It’s offered only as a hybrid and it certainly has a unique sweeping exterior design. The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe also offers a hybrid model––new for its updated model year. But which crossover SUV is a better buy?

The new Toyota Venza is all-new, but the new Hyundai Santa Fe is also completely updated for 2021. Now with a hybrid model, the Santa Fe can take on the revived Venza. But is the Santa Fe Hybrid enough to compete?

Is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe a good crossover SUV?

Yes, the new Hyundai Santa Fe is a great crossover SUV. It offers safety features galore, trims ranging from nice to ultra-plush, and it actually has several powertrain options. Although we are cool with all of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe engine options, for the purpose of this comparison we will use the specs for the hybrid powertrain in the Santa Fe.

A black 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover driving on a highway road
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe in action | Photo via Hyundai

RELATED: The Nissan Armada Is Still Missing a Vital Feature

According to Car and Driver, the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid receives and update that includes inside and outside styling teaks. Hyundai also adds improvement to the tech and infotainment of the Santa Fe. In addition to these upgrades is the hybrid powertrain.

There’s a 59 horsepower electric motor combined with a 178 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Add those together and you get a grand total of 225 horsepower. We aren’t totally certain where the expected fuel economy specs stand quite yet. However, it’s likely that the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe in its hybrid version will get an average fuel mileage somewhere around 35 mpg. In addition, a plug-in hybrid could easily find its way to the lineup in upcoming model years.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is the brand's newest SUV.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

RELATED: The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited Is Luxurious Beyond its Means

Why did they discontinue the Toyota Venza?

Back in 2015, the Toyota Venza got slashed from production. Now, the 2021 Toyota Venza is a hybrid coming into the arena with a hybrid only powertrain and sleek modern looks. But why was it discontinued?

2021 Toyota Venza parked outside of a house
2021 Toyota Venza | Toyota

RELATED: The Engines in Chevy Silverados Were ‘Engineered to Fail’ Class Action Suit Claims

The Toyota Venza was discontinued because it just wasn’t doing well enough to justify when other models like the Highlander and the RAV4 were doing much better. In fact, according to Business Insider “Toyota finally made the decision to end production of the Venza after the 2015 model year.” Due to the fact that “customer preference, competitiveness within the segment, and deteriorating sales” weren’t supporting the old Venza.

The new Venza is a fresh reimagining of the former Toyota wagon. Now, it comes strictly as a hybrid. However, Car and Driver reports that the drive isn’t nearly as composed as expected.

2021 Toyota Venza Interior
2021 Toyota Venza Interior

RELATED: What if the Tesla Cybertruck and the Toyota Supra Had a Baby?

That said, it’s still a good car. In fact, it’s practically just a super fancy version of the RAV4 hybrid. Except it’s not as roomy. The Hyundai Santa Fe also offers more space than the Venza. One of the coolest features of the 2021 Toyota Venza is that this model debuts Toyota’s Star Gaze specialized panoramic sunroof. One switch moves the color of the glass between transparent and opaque.

Can these crossovers compete?

The new Toyota Venza has a 2.5-liter 4 cylinder gas engine paired with three electric motors. Together, these create up to 2019 horsepower––just short of the new Hyundai Santa Fe’s 225. One of the Venza’s electric motors powers the Venza’s rear wheels while the gas engine plus the other two motors power the front wheels.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe hybrid crossover is the brand's newest SUV.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

While Hyundai hasn’t released pricing yet, we expect the Santa Fe’s starting price to be a few grand cheaper than the Toyota Venza’s $32,470. Overall, if you throw in the warranty and the fact that the new Hyundai Santa Fe isn’t an exclusive hybrid, it reigns supreme over the 2021 Toyota Venza. Test drive them both, sure. But there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in the Hyundai option when it’s all said and done.