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Toyota is one of the most beloved car brands in the U.S., and recently, Toyota reintroduced an old SUV to its lineup. Toyota discontinued the Venza in 2015, but after redesigning it, Toyota has reintroduced the Venza for the 2021 model year. The 2021 Venza is competing in the mid-size crossover segment, and it’s already proved its worth

A recap of Motor Trend’s 2020 SUV of the year award

Every year, Motor Trend takes a look at the large number of brand-new SUV models that are hitting dealerships, and it tries to find the best ones. According to Motor Trend, the criteria for this contest is pretty straightforward. It evaluates the SUVs over a 10-day period and it looks at qualities such as the SUV’s value, its performance, and how it was engineered, among other things. 

SUVs are becoming more popular these days, and as a result, there were a lot of contestants for 2020. The finalists for this year’s award were the Cadillac Escalade, the Genesis GV80, the Land Rover Defender, the Kia Seltos, the Nissan Rogue, and last but not least, the Toyota Venza.

The Defender ultimately won the award, but the Venza’s good showing is just proof that it’s another high-quality car from Toyota. Here’s a look at why that is. 

The pros of the 2021 Toyota Venza

At a base price of about $32,000, the Venza isn’t that cheap. However, according to Motor Trend, the Venza’s price tag is mainly because Toyota is only selling the Venza with a hybrid engine.

Due to that, the Venza will be more expensive than its non-hybrid peers, but of course, since it has a hybrid engine as standard, it also gets a lot of benefits.

Motor Trend said that the Venza’s hybrid engine gets about 219-hp combined and it gets an EPA-estimated 39 MPG combined. Furthermore, since the Venza’s electric motors are located in the rear, Motor Trend also wrote that it has all-wheel drive as standard. On top of that, Motortrend said that some of the more expensive Venza trims also get loaded with cool high-tech features, such as Toyota’s Star Gaze with Frost Control feature.

Star Gaze with Frost Control allows drivers and passengers to change how clear or opaque the Venza’s glass roof is with just the press of a button. While this feature is only available on the high-end trims, the regular Venza’s interior is still pretty nice. In particular, Motor Ttrend said that the Venza can seat five people pretty comfortably. 

The cons of the 2021 Toyota Venza

While Motor Trend generally liked the new Venza, it was also clear that the Venza had its share of issues. For example, the company test drove one of the higher-end versions of the Venza, and even then, said that there were some “practical issues” that made the Venza’s infotainment system subpar. Motor Trend also complained that the Venza’s tire noise and engine noise didn’t sound very good. 

Minor complaints aside, the reviewer had some more serious issues with how practical the Venza truly was. Even though the Venza had plenty of torque and all-wheel drive, it’s not rated for towing. As a result, families planning on using the Venza to tow something for a vacation might run into some trouble. 

Towing isn’t the only capacity issue that the Venza has, according to Motor Trend. The Venza also has a below-average cargo capacity, and without folding its seats, Motor Trend said that it only had 28.8 cu. ft. of cargo room.

With its seats folded down, it gets about 54.9 cu. ft. of cargo room, but that’s still below average for an SUV of its size. These flaws aside, the reviewer still clearly enjoyed the 2021 Venza for what it was worth. 


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