The all-new Toyota Venza came back for the 2021 model year after taking a hiatus in 2015. Aside from its sharper styling, high-tech features, and comfortable ride, the main highlight of the resurrected Venza is its hybrid powertrain. And while I usually do my best to get the worst gas mileage possible when I drive a hybrid vehicle, I’m usually not too successful. However, I found that it’s much easier when it’s cold outside.
2021 Toyota Venza in cold weather
I doubt anyone has been keeping count of the cars that I drive, but in order to fill you in, I’ve driven the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the 2020 Toyota Prius AWD over the past few months. I bring these two cars up because they are both known for achieving stellar fuel economy numbers, so I figured I would do my due diligence as an auto journalist to see what kind of fuel economy numbers I could get in real-world driving.
Although, instead of driving the cars normally to report how fuel-efficient they are, I instead mashed their pedals and deliberately tried to get the worst mileage in both so that you know what to expect in the worst-case scenario should you buy one?
However, I realized quickly in both cars that getting terrible mileage is harder than you think. As a result, I hit right around the EPA-estimate fuel economy ratings on both cars and was impressed with just how well they do in almost any circumstance.
And when I received the 2021 Venza this past week, my intention was the same; get the worst mileage. But this time, Mother Nature was on my side as the weather for the whole week was in the 30s and 40s, which had an effect on the hybrid powertrain’s efficiency. By the end of the week, I averaged 33 mpg, which was 6 mpg lower than the EPA-estimated 39 mpg in combined driving.
It’s not a huge deficit, but it’s enough
While a whopping 6 mpg deficit under the EPA estimate doesn’t seem like much, it’s enough to actually warrant reporting about. Considering Car and Driver recorded an average of 36 mpg in the Venza during their highway fuel-economy test, I think that recording 3 mpg under their figure adequately shows that the coldness can make a hybrid system work harder. Either that or my heavy right foot actually made a difference this time.
You can still count on the Venza no matter what
Despite the slight discrepancy in the car’s fuel economy, I can report that the 2021 Toyota Venza is easily one of the best choices if you need something larger than a Prius, but want the best fuel economy possible.
Additionally, the seats are very comfortable as they actually have contours in them, the suspension soaks up bumps extremely well, and I recommend getting all of the accessories that you can by choosing the Limited trim level, except for the Star Gaze moonroof. That thing lost its appeal after about 10 minutes of playing with it.
And considering you can potentially achieve around 40 mpg on a good day, then the Venza could be everything that you want in a new car. Just don’t be too surprised if the gas mileage suffers because you live in a snow state, it just doesn’t do as well in cold weather.