The midsize SUV segment is stepping up with piles of new tech, fancier interiors, and loads of safety features. The Mazda CX-9 is a great example of this segment really loading on the features. As I continue to test the 2021 Toyota Venza Limited AWD, I’ve learned that all the fancy features in the world don’t matter if you are too tall to use them.
Is the 2021 Toyota Venza a good car?
Sure – if you’re short enough. I am 6’5. I am used to being cramped in sports cars and the like, but I never really have a problem with SUVs. The fully-loaded Toyota Venza Limited has a lovely interior. The cabin is slathered in soft-touch, tow-tone leatherette driving home the fact that Toyota was going Luxury over sport here.
The SofTex seats are very cool looking and soft to the touch, but all the seat’s wings and curves are less than friendly to anyone too big to get into flight school. According to MotorTrend, these seats are standard for the Limited trim but can be optioned for the XLE package. The seats aren’t as much of the problem as much as the seating position is.
I took my dad for a ride who is 6’3, and by the end of the 45-min jaunt through the mountains, he too was complaining about the seating position. Both the driver and passenger seats feel like you’re sitting in a high chair. I’m not sure how normal-sized people will take to them, but if you are on the longer side of our species, it feels like you’re sitting on top of the Toyota.
The Toyota Venza has other features I simply couldn’t use
A colleague asked me if the Venza had a heads-up display, and I told them I was surprised that it didn’t have it because of how well-equipped it is. Well, it turns out I was wrong, and after hours spent driving the Venza, I had never seen the display because I was simply sitting too high to see it. I adjusted the seats as far down as I could. Short of fully reclining like grandpa “watching” the baseball game, I could only ever sometimes catch a glimpse of it if I hunched over.
The review mirror is another tall person’s handicap in the Venza. It is a large digital screen showing you what the rear camera is showing. It has great image quality and everything, but being as tall as I am I found it barely more than a foot from my face. This made it very hard to use without going crosseyed.
For the last of the giant’s howling, the A-pillar on the driver’s side is quite wide as it is, but the further up it goes, the wider it gets. Do you see where I’m going with this? As I wound around the mountain roads, I would often need to look out of the side window to see what was on the other side of the switchback, except all I could see was a pillar. This was not only annoying but also pretty dangerous.
It wasn’t all bad though
The 2021 Toyota Venza is powered by a 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with a lithium-ion battery pack making a total of 219 hp. Now, I won’t say the Venza is powerful or fast by any means, but the electric power does give it a nice, torquey pull on the low end. This makes the exit of a sharp corner a bit more fun than you feel the Venza should be.
The Venza is efficient
It may not be exciting or friendly to tall people, but it is efficient. The Venza weighs nearly 4,000 lbs. Even though it doesn’t forgive for the tall folks, it is still a spacious and large vehicle, all things considered, and it manages 30 mpg. If nothing else, it remains a real competitor in that regard – as long as you aren’t tall. If you are a jockey or a fighter pilot, this may be the ride for you.