It’s difficult to think back to a time when car-based crossovers weren’t the norm, but the Camry-based Venza was perhaps a vehicle ahead of its time. Available in North America from 2008 to 2016, it has since returned to Canada as a 2021 model. Based on the TNGA-K platform shared with the RAV4 and known as the Harrier in Asian markets, the "new" Hybrid-only five-passenger Venza fills the void between the RAV4 and Highlander in the Toyota lineup.
The Venza brings the number of hybrids offered by the brand to nine. The SUV is decidedly upmarket for a Toyota and offers a number of interesting features. In lieu of an official launch program, Toyota Canada invited us for an immersive socially distanced walkaround session to demonstrate some of the vehicle’s highlights. Here are five unique features bring offered on the Japanese automaker's newest crossover:
The 2021 Venza is available exclusively with the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain, helping deliver fuel consumption as low as 5.9 L/100 km in LE trim. In order to help achieve these numbers, active grille shutters open and close to achieve engine cooling or improved aerodynamics as required. The electronically controlled shutters will close if the engine does not require full cooling capacity and will not activate in colder temperatures that would potentially cause freezing or damage.
A Toyota first, the 2021 Venza is offered with a large panoramic glass roof that has been given the trademarked name of "Star Gaze." Using electrochromic glass technology, the fixed roof can be changed from transparent to frosted with a simple push of a button, allowing the option to lighten up the cabin without experiencing direct sunlight. A power-retractable sunshade can also be easily active to cover the glass entirely.
Equipped with an 8-inch unit as standard equipment, the new Venza is available with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be adjusted to prioritize various multiple pieces of information simultaneously. The displayed navigation or controls can easily be swapped between driver and front passenger control with the swipe of a finger. The infotainment screen encompasses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an upgraded JBL sound system and a panoramic parking camera that features a handy reverse camera cleaning system.
Standard Electronic On-Demand AWD
The 2021 Toyota Venza is offered with a single powertrain option. The Toyota Hybrid System II is comprised of a high-efficiency 2.5L DOHC four-cylinder gasoline engine that is accompanied by three electric motors. The motors mounted at the rear of the vehicle operate the electronic on-demand all-wheel drive, so there’s no need for a transfer case or drive shaft between the front and rear wheels. Normal, Eco, and Sport driving modes let the driver prioritize driving pleasure or fuel efficiency. An EV mode allows electric-only driving for short distances at low speeds. The power responsible for backing up the vehicle comes solely from the motor driving the rear wheels.
Active Safety Equipment
Launching a new model in the pseudo luxury crossover space without all the bells and whistles customers have come to expect simply isn’t an option anymore. The 2021 Toyota Venza comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0). The suite of active safety features includes all the expected technology such as blind spot monitoring, park assist, dynamic cruise control, automatic high beams and lane departure warning, but also steering assist and automatic braking for vehicles, pedestrians and even cyclists – a function that is limited to daytime capability.