Toyota Venza Rises From the Ashes, Gets Hybrid Treatment

Four years after leaving the Canadian market, the Toyota Venza is making a comeback as consumers’ obsession with utility vehicles amplifies. It was unveiled this morning during a virtual presentation of new Toyota products.

Slotting between the RAV4 and Highlander, the all-new 2021 Venza is a two-row midsize crossover that will directly rival the likes of the Ford Edge, Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Murano.

In order to stand out from the competition, Toyota dropped the previous 2.7-litre four-cylinder and 3.5-litre V6 engines, instead opting for a hybrid powertrain only. The system combines a 2.5-litre gasoline engine with three electric motors, generating a total of 219 horsepower and achieving preliminary manufacturer-estimated 5.9 L/100 km combined fuel consumption. It’s not a plug-in hybrid, mind you, so forget about zero-emission driving.

Photo: Toyota

Another advantage with the new Venza is standard all-wheel drive, designed to pre-emptively distribute up to 80 percent of driving force to the rear wheels when the front wheels slip. Eco, Normal and Sport modes are available, while drivers can “downshift” using a sequential shifting feature to increase the regenerative braking in steps.

Furthermore, Toyota is promising a smooth, quiet ride thanks to optimized chassis and suspension tuning along with increased sound-deadening technology.

Built around a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture K (TNGA-K) platform that underpins some of the company’s sedans and crossovers, the 2021 Venza comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, a suite of active safety systems that includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Bicycle Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist and Automatic High Beams.

Photo: Toyota

Content is impressive, too. Depending on the trim levels, you may find an 8.0- or 12.3-inch touchscreen display, a 4.2- or 7.0-inch multi-information display behind the steering wheel, 10-inch colour head-up display, a nine-speaker JBL audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, and a Star Gaze panoramic roof. That last item is a first for Toyota, using electrochromic glass technology to allow drivers to switch from transparent to frosted modes within one second.

As for the exterior design, we’ll let you be the judge. Some will find it sharp and quite modern; others will say it’s too similar to the current crop of SUVs and crossovers. Oh, and one other thing: there’s 1,027 litres of cargo space behind the second row since the lithium-ion battery pack is small enough to be installed under the rear seats.

The 2021 Toyota Venza will arrive at Canadian dealerships this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Photo: Toyota

More and More Hybrids

The all-new 2021 Toyota Venza, along with the equally new 2021 Sienna, is part of the automaker’s plan to launch 40 new or updated electrified vehicles by 2025.

Recently, Toyota crossed a symbolic milestone of 15 million hybrid vehicles sold globally since 1997 including more than 200,000 in Canada over the past 20 years.

By the way, the new powertrain warranty covers all hybrid-related components for 8 years/160,000 kilometres and the battery for 10 years/240,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

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