The Toyota Venza will make its return to the Canadian market for the 2021 model year as a new mid-size SUV with a standard hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive.
The two-row SUV will be available exclusively as a hybrid and has been estimated to return an impressive combined fuel economy of 5.9 L/100 km. The Venza, which looks a bit like a Camry crossover, seats five and slots in between the RAV4 and the Highlander in terms of size and will be more luxurious and feature-heavy than the rugged 4Runner.
The 2021 Toyota Venza will be powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with three electric motors to give a combined system output of 219 hp. In the Venza, the electric motors will also help provide a boost to low-end torque, so enhanced fuel economy isn’t their only purpose like it is in other Toyota hybrids. Toyota says the new lithium-ion battery in the Venza improves performance and weighs less.
The AWD system is an electronic one, meaning there’s no transfer case diverting power to the rear axle. Instead, a rear-mounted electric motor powers the rear wheels when the system detects slippage or when power is needed during a launch, for example. In this situation, the system can distribute 80 per cent of the driving force to the rear wheels during a launch to prevent wheel slippage. In regular situations, the Venza operates as a front-wheel-drive car, which is more efficient than a full-time AWD system.
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The Venza will have Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes, but also an EV mode that will allow the crossover to travel on battery power alone for short distances and at low speeds. The Venza also gives drivers more control of the regenerative brakes.
Toyota also includes a new brake vectoring system that should help reduce understeer and make the Venza feel more agile.
The Venza will come with a new feature called “Star Gaze,” which is an optional fixed panoramic glass roof that can switch between transparent and frosted modes. This is the first Toyota to feature this technology.
The other tech is pretty standard stuff for Toyota, meaning all Venza models come with the Japanese automaker’s full suite of standard safety and driver assistance features: full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure assist, pre-collision system and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane tracing assist. The centre console in higher Limited and XLE trims get touch capacitive controls instead of physical buttons and the Venza will be able to hold 1,027 L of cargo behind the second row.
Other available features include a 12.3-inch touchscreen (an 8-inch screen is standard), heated and ventilated seats, a digital rear view mirror, a 10-inch colour head-up display, wireless phone charging, a digital gauge cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an upgraded JBL sound system, a panoramic parking camera, a reverse camera cleaning system, hands-free power tailgate, and more. Toyota also promises a quiet interior.
The last time a Toyota Venza was offered in Canada was in 2015. At the time, it was praised for offering Lexus-like quality and luxury, but it was a bit ahead of its time, as the SUV boom hadn’t yet hit frenzy status, and the SUV was discontinued.
The 2021 Toyota Venza will return to showrooms this summer with pricing to be announced closer to its on-sale date.