The all-new 2021 Toyota Venza showed off its new sheet metal and a few features when it was unveiled a couple of months ago. However, upon closer inspection, we realized that there was more than meets the eye when it comes to Toyota’s revamping of its two-row crossover. Aside from the major points, like the fact that it’s only going to be offered as a hybrid and it will be slotted between the RAV4 and Highlander, the Venza also has some interesting new features that we haven’t really seen in any other Toyota model.
Push-button start and touchscreen HVAC controls
One interesting detail that we have noticed is the placement of the engine start button. Instead of it being in the typical location – like on the side of the steering column or perhaps on the dashboard near the steering wheel – the Venza has it located in the center console area, under the HVAC controls. Speaking of the climate controls, one interesting point is that they look like they are actual tactile buttons, but in fact, it’s an actual touchscreen instead.
Why Toyota couldn’t just make them buttons is beyond us, but one irritating feature is that the volume control for the radio is on that same touchscreen portion. They really should just have taken a page out of Honda’s book and made it a knob from the get-go.
The 1,200-watt JBL sound system
All 2021 Venza models will come standard with Toyota’s six-speaker audio system with a four-channel amplifier. However, one interesting feature is the available JBL Premium Audio system that includes nine speakers and a subwoofer. It’s interesting because this audio system is an audiophile dream as it will produce a total of 1,200 watts of premium sound, making the Venza the first Toyota model to feature it. We’re not sure exactly why Toyota decided to go with the Venza to release this aural wonderland, but we like it.
Wraparound tail light
Of course, the wraparound taillight on a Toyota model is nothing new, especially considering the Avalon has had it for a couple of years now. However, it does look a lot sharper and more pronounced on the new Venza, mainly because it has such angular and protruding cargo tailgate. Either way, we think it looks really sharp and we hope that we see more of it on future Toyota models.
Star Gaze panoramic sunroof
Another “Toyota First” feature that you’ll find on the Venza is only on the upper trims levels, however, we think it’s pretty interesting. That would be the Star Gaze sunroof. The Star Gaze sunroof is a fixed panoramic roof that incorporates electrochromic glass, which allows the occupants to switch between a “clear” and “frosted” mode. Instead of merely opening it, like a regular sunroof, you get to choose if you want to have sun or have no sun, that’s it. We think it’s cool because people don’t ever open their sunroofs anyway.
These are just a few of our favorite things
There is a lot more to love about the 2021 Toyota Venza, but these are just a few new features that we wanted to point out. And while the new crossover will likely garner a lot of attention for its excellent fuel economy, spacious cabin, and bold new look, we feel that it’s minor details that make up for its interesting nature.