In a model line-up as stacked as Toyota’s American offerings, it’s possible something may have become an afterthought or a forgotten option. Honestly, it felt like the former iteration of the Venza had started slipping into that grey area. The new head-turning hybrid version has reemerged with all the hype a complete redesign could harness and brought an entirely new level of tech-heavy radness with it.
From across the lot, it was hard to tell exactly what I was walking up to. Up close, it had a familiar feeling that definitely carried serious Toyota vibes, but it was impossible to pinpoint still. A step back, a long pan from front to back, and I still couldn’t put it together. Finally, as I rounded the rear corner, the Venza badge appeared. A totally reimagined silhouette featuring sexy curves where awkward angles used to be turned the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan. Design cues more in line with luxury crossovers replaced the almost micro-van feel of versions past.
But the visuals weren’t the only thing new. The most impactful change right from the jump has to be the new Hybrid power-plant that is standard in the Venza line-up. Toyota has led the way in the move toward a more fuel-efficient future, and they’ve done that again here. Offering three modes, ECO, regular, and Sport, the options for fuel-sipping efficiency or a fun and capable commuter are a push-button away. Admittedly, I didn’t take it out of sport mode often, but my “eco-score” stayed in the green. Highway efficiency was pretty impressive. One of my favorite parts was the educational integration into the gauges and displays, though. There are multiple ways to see exactly how driving patterns and tendencies affect battery charging and fuel consumption in real-time.
The tech in this ride isn’t just utilized for the nerd level data support, however. It wraps you in a level of connected luxury you’d expect from next-level automakers. Qi charging pads, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 12.3” touch screen display, a full JBL audio experience, and digital rearview mirrors are some fantastic features. The most impressive addition to the Limited Edition had to be the Star Gaze Fixed Panoramic Roof. Once the cover retracts, the opaque soft white glass roof lets in just enough light while keeping the sun at bay. As day turns to night, the push of a button turns the roof transparent, revealing the night sky huge overhead. Two-tone leather wrapped the interior in a classy, comfortable richness that was somewhat unexpected but made perfect sense once inside the 2021 Toyota Venza.
Heated and Vented power front seats had a cradling design that made a long highway ride feel like a chance to unwind. Reclining rear seats were much appreciated by the passengers in them while they left enough cargo space for literally ten volleyballs and a cooler under the cargo cover. The adjustable screen icons for audio and A/C placed the controls conveniently and thoughtfully, making the drive enjoyable and engaging. The Heads Up Display made diverting attention from the road minimal while keeping speed and efficiency right in front of you. Even the Venza logo in the ground lighting made it feel like a high-brow hybrid hiding in a lower price bracket than the features and design support.
The new 2021 Toyota Venza was a very pleasant surprise and a total win. The future of fuel efficiency and sustainability is a very real issue, and it’s refreshing to see practical application put together so well. I’ve already forgotten about the old version. Find out more about the new 2021 Toyota Venza Limited from Toyota and keep it locked with The Culture Curators for more auto news, reviews, and releases coming soon.
Photos via Moustache Johnny of The Culture Curators