The 2021 Toyota Venza Makes Perfect Sense, Except for 1 Pointless Feature

If you’re looking for a reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle that’s not quite a car, but also not really an SUV, then the 2021 Toyota Venza fits the bill perfectly. The Venza provides a spacious cabin for up to five occupants comfortably and comes solely with a hybrid powertrain that’s stingy on fuel and should last for many years. That being said, I found that the Venza makes perfect sense for almost anyone, except that there’s just one pointless feature you might not need.

The 2021 Toyota Venza’s over-hyped roof

After driving the 2021 Toyota Venza around for a few days, I can definitely say that it has a lot to offer, which is easy to say considering my test car happens to be the top-trim Limited model. The Limited comes with everything you would need for a new car, which means that it contains the whole gamut of tech-rich goodies including all of the necessary power amenities and driver-assist features as well as a premium JBL sound system. I’m also a huge fan of the heated and ventilated seats, as well as the heated steering wheel that always comes in clutch in the coldest of nights.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
2021 Toyota Venza Limited | Joe Santos

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However, there’s one feature that my test car came with that I’m not particularly fond of: the Star Gaze fixed panoramic roof. Don’t get me wrong, I like moonroofs – especially when they are massive – but the $1,400 option that’s available on the Venza Limited seems a little overpriced and extraneous to me considering it doesn’t even open.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
2021 Toyota Venza Limited | Joe Santos

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How does the Star Gaze panoramic roof work?

In case you’re not aware of it, the Star Gaze panoramic roof is a fixed, extra-large moonroof that you can equip the 2021 Venza with should you feel the need to view the universe behind the plate of glass at nighttime. Of course, you can use it during the day time as well, if you don’t mind having the greenhouse effect, but you’ll need to roll down the side windows for an open-air experience. This is due to the fact that the Star Gaze roof can only be switched from “frosted” to “clear” with the push of a button, but it cannot be opened.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited Star Gaze Roof "Frosted"
2021 Toyota Venza Limited Star Gaze Roof “Frosted” | Joe Santos

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It’s a cool party trick to show your friends that have never seen a car with such a feature, but it honestly gets old after the first couple of times you play with it. According to Forbes, the Star Gaze roof utilizes “electrochromic” technology in which “high-tech films” are layered between the panes of glass. When the switch is turned on or off, and the ions in the film are either charged or not charged, then the glass will go from opaque to clear and vice versa.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited Star Gaze Roof "Clear"
2021 Toyota Venza Limited Star Gaze Roof “Clear” | Joe Santos

The Star Gaze panel is worth it if you remember that it’s there

While I personally found the Star Gaze panoramic roof to be a superfluous feature that I personally wouldn’t spend the extra money on, you might like it. Considering it does let in some light when the glass is frosted, it effectively provides a nice ambient glow during the day time, which is pleasant, but it also becomes utterly useless at nighttime.

Additionally, if you want to cover it up then you can do so with the powered roof cover. But I just know that if I had one, I would probably forget that it was even there in the first place, which wouldn’t be a good use of an extra $1,400. Just remember to consider how much you’ll actually use it if you do plan to buy a Toyota Venza Limited.