Car Review: Toyota brings back the Venza for 2021, turns it into a stylish hybrid crossover

Looking for a fuel-efficient crossover? Toyota has an entry with a name from the past.

The redo of the Venza is ready for 2021, with the Toyota hybrid system to help use less fuel than other crossovers. While no powerhouse, the four-cylinder engine did fine keeping up with traffic. The ride was comfortable and more of a luxury feel with a suspension that really soaks up the bumps. Standard AWD is a great feature for confident year-round driving.

The 2021 Venza is a stylish take on the crossover with a lot of curves and a very modern look. The large grill and sleek LED lighting offer a very expressive face for the crossover. While I think some of the Toyotas of late seem a bit over the top with styling, the new Venza wears the look very well. The top-of-the-line Limited trim level looks pricier than it is.

The inside also scores some bonus points with a well made interior. It feels more like a Lexus once you grab a seat in the comfortable leather seats. The materials have an upscale look and feel. The optional Star Gaze fixed panoramic roof lets in plenty of light or with the touch of a button filters out light. For a midsize crossover, the new Venza is on the smaller side with seating for five and no third row available.

Cost: $39,800; as tested $43,525
MPG: 40 mpg City; 37 mpg Highway (sticker). I managed 36.6 mpg in 230 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $1,400 Star Gaze fixed panoramic roof; $725 advanced technology package; $425 premium paint
Safety: Toyota Safety Sense 2.0; pre-collision system with pedestrian detection; full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control; lane departure alert with steering assist; lane tracking assist; blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert; downhill assist control; bird’s eye view camera with perimeter scan; head up display
Things to know: The Venza turns a fuel-efficient hybrid crossover into sleek luxury ride with style.

Pros:

  • Easy on gas thanks to the Toyota hybrid system
  • Interior rivals luxury vehicles without the huge price tag
  • Looks help the new Venza standout in the market place

Cons:

  • Smaller compared to other midsize crossovers
  • Swoopy body leads to reduced vision out the back window
  • Lacks sporty handling on back roads
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