Hybrids & Electrics

The 2021 Toyota Venza Is Boring To Drive, but That Might Be a Good Thing

It seems that Toyota has a few more tricks up its sleeves in 2021. Although it appeared the Toyota Venza was to fade away into automotive history, the automaker revived the Venza nameplate for 2021 as a hybrid crossover with aggressive lines and some impressive interior features. As critics respond to the move, most have provided favorable feedback. Although the 2021 Venza has the look and feel of something between a Lexus NX and RX, buyers should not expect the same performance, which might be a good thing.

The 2021 Toyota Venza is basically a Camry wagon

The pre-production edition of the 2021 Toyota Venza left one auto critic at Cars.com with a unique and rather insightful perspective related to the revived model’s niche. The Venza is a two-row crossover SUV based on the attributes of the Camry; in essence, a Camry wagon.

However, as a hybrid crossover, the Venza lacks driving thrill for those who expect more aggressive performance out of an SUV.

What are the positive and negative features of the 2021 Venza?

Overall, the 2021 Venza comes with some interesting features as well as a few that tend to irritate many drivers. Among those features that impress are an aggressive Lexus-like exterior design and an upscale interior. Like the Camry, the ride is comfortable without a lot of engine and road noise to contend with.

Drivers can expect a sedate driving experience with responsive steering and an impressive estimated fuel economy. Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced safety features, which performs without being overly sensitive or obtrusive and comes standard, is an additional positive.

The 2021 Venza demonstrates that Toyota hasn’t worked out issues with its much too touch-sensitive navigation and control systems. The continuously variable automatic transmission in the Venza has a “rubber band” feel to it during acceleration, which only becomes more evident in Sport and Eco modes.

Spongy braking and poor tire quality, which can slip on tight curves at higher speeds, along with wind noise tend to discourage drivers who enjoy a fun, more aggressive driving experience.

Efficiency, not performance, is the design focus of the 2021 Toyota Venza

RELATED: Did Toyota Finally Learn Its Lesson With the Venza?

There are a number of engine choices in various global markets, but for the U.S. market, the 2021 Venza is only being offered as a hybrid. In spite of its look, its 2.5-liter gas engine coupled with two front and a single rear electric motor-generators produce a disappointing 219 hp. Underpowered according to SUV standards, the Venza performs well when accelerating from a standstill but has just enough get-up for highway passing. However, there is not a lot of driving thrill built into it.

Though it stirs up little driving excitement, the Venza’s design focuses less on performance and more on efficiency and cost to own. Pre-production models of the Venza consistently produce fuel economies in excess of 30 mpg. The predicted estimates for the 2021 Toyota Venza’s combined fuel economy are pushing 40 mpg. For eco-conscious drivers and those who enjoy saving cash rather than pouring it into their gas tanks, this is something to get excited about.

Embrace the lack of thrill from the 2021 Venza

Toyota has applied some impressive design features found in its Lexus line to the 2021 Venza, making it difficult to ignore its attractive interior and exterior look and feel. As a two-row SUV crossover, the Venza is essentially a Camry wagon but without the same performance that drivers have come to expect from the Camry.

More aggressive drivers will call it underpowered and boring to drive, but the 2021 Toyota Venza’s purpose leans less toward thrill and more toward efficiency. Drivers looking for greater fuel economy can embrace its lack of thrill and save the cash they would have spent on fuel.