Shocking News! The Toyota Venza Returns as a Hybrid Crossover
Toyota just announced that the Venza nameplate is being revived, but this time, they’re aiming to push the boundaries with the two-row crossover. The 2021 Toyota Venza will arrive with a sharper and more aggressive look, new technology, and a hybrid powertrain. It was discontinued back in 2015, but the Venza is now being resurrected in a new, tech-savvy form and Toyota aims to break new ground in the crossover segment when it debuts later this year.
A smart powertrain
While Toyota has been synonymous with delivering hybrid vehicles that tip the scales toward the higher part of the fuel economy spectrum, the Venza crossover breaks new ground when it comes to larger hybrids.
The 2021 Venza will be powered by a hybrid powertrain that consists of a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to three electric motors and paired with a CVT transmission. Combined, the powertrain will produce 219 horsepower and achieve up to 40 mpg.
Contributing to the Venza’s stellar fuel economy ratings is its Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) function that uses the on-board navigation system to analyze the driver’s driving habits and survey road and traffic condition to optimize the system’s battery efficiency.
Simply put, when the PED function is selected, the system will dampen or sharpen the throttle response and adjust brake pressure when needed in order to get the most optimum fuel economy on repeated routes (i.e. your daily commute to work, school, etc.).
As for the all-wheel-drive system, the new Venza will utilize an electric motor to power the rear wheels, instead of a traditional transfer case and driveshaft. Up to 80 percent of the torque can be distributed to the rear wheels when needed, like under hard acceleration or cornering, for example.
Not the same blandness
Toyota is aiming to spice things up a bit with a sharper and more elegant look for the second-generation Venza.
The crossover now rides on the company’s TNGA-K platform just like some other vehicles in Toyota’s stable and will boast the same type of safety standards that the brand is known for.
Toyota plans to achieve NHTSA’s top ratings with the Venza as the crossover will come with the brand’s Safety Sense 2.0 as standard equipment. The safety suite includes features like Full-Speed Range Dynamic Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, and a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian, bicycle, and daytime vehicle detection.
A tech-savvy interior
Just as in its previous iteration, the 2021 Venza will have ample seating room for five occupants, and, according to Toyota, they will be shrouded in aural enjoyment thanks to the available JBL sound system.
The standard audio system on the lower trim levels will consist of an 8-inch touchscreen accompanied by a six-speaker premium audio system with a four-channel amplifier.
Those who opt for the higher trim levels will be treated to a more-premium JBL sound system with nine speakers, a rear subwoofer, and a 12-channel amp. A larger 12.3-inch touchscreen will be included as well.
The main highlight of the new interior is the Star Gaze fixed panoramic roof. The roof uses electrochromic glass that can be either frosted or clear with the touch of a button. When in “frosted” mode, the panoramic roof will enough light to give the cabin a light and airy feeling without subjecting occupants to bright, direct sunlight.
A step in the right direction
Toyota has long been known for producing bland, people-moving appliances, however, their new technological advances in both powertrain and interior tech might lift that shroud of boringness.
We think that this new Venza harkens back to the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept that debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and its boldness is a step away from the Toyotas of the past. With a host of new in-cabin technologies, as well as a smart hybrid powertrain under the hood, the 2021 Toyota Venza might be just what the brand, and the public, needed.