Buddy Review: Does The New 2021 Toyota Venza Drive As Well As It Looks?

Prices start at $33,645 for the base LE model

The 2021 Toyota Venza returns, this time as a crossover slotting between the smaller RAV4 and the larger Highlander. This hybrid actually rides on the same wheelbase as the popular RAV4, but is physically larger and therefore more roomy. On the styling front, we aren’t dealing with a sort of wagon-like design, either, but something much sharper and more sophisticated. It’s a sharp-looking new model, but how does it actually perform in the real world? In this video, Roman and Tommy take it out for a classic TFL buddy review to see how it handles the various challenges of daily driving.

Buddy Review: Does The New 2021 Toyota Venza Drive As Well As It Looks?
[Photos: Toyota]

Under the hood, the 2021 Toyota Venza is purely a hybrid this time around. There is no conventional gasoline-powered version in the lineup. You od get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to three electric motors to make this new crossover as efficient as possible. The result is a net system output of 219 horsepower, same as the RAV4 Hybrid, and an estimated combined fuel economy of up to 39 MPG, according to Toyota. The Venza’s hybrid system does utilize a lithium-ion battery to enhance performance against better size and weight compared to the nickel-metal hydride modules found in the Prius.

On the technology front, the 2021 Toyota Venza packs a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen on LE and XLE models. Opt for a premium audio package on the XLE or buy the Limited, however, and you get a 12.3-inch unit instead, similar to what you get on the 2020 Highlander. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported, as is Amazon Alexa. The new Venza even packs a 1,200-watt optional stereo system, which is the most powerful system Toyota has launched in a production car to date. Finally, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on this model, including features like a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed radar cruise control, automatic high beams and lane departure alert with steering assist.

Buddy Review: Does The New 2021 Toyota Venza Drive As Well As It Looks?

How much does the 2021 Toyota Venza cost?

While we have shown you the 2021 Toyota Venza before, we have not been able to discuss driving impressions or pricing. On that latter note, Toyota formally announced pricing Wednesday for all three Venza trims. As this is exclusively a hybrid model, all versions come with all-wheel drive, where the rear axle is driven by an electric motor rather than a traditional transfer case.

The base 2021 Toyota Venza LE starts at $33,645, including Toyota’s $1,175 dealer handling fee. However, the automaker does point out that the fee may vary for Southeast Toyota and Gulf States Toyota dealers. The mid-range XLE starts at $37,175; at the top of the range, the Limited trim will set you back $40,975 before options.

Buddy Review: Does The New 2021 Toyota Venza Drive As Well As It Looks?

The LE comes with the most basic equipment, with the only option being additional-cost colors like Ruby Flare Pearl and Blizzard Pearl for $425. The premium color options are also available for the two higher trims at the same cost. The 12.3-inch JBL premium audio system is available for $2,050 on the XLE, while Softex trimmed seats are $510. The $725 Advanced Technology Package for the Limited trim adds a head-up display and rain-sensing wipers. $1,400 adds a panoramic roof to the Limited, while all versions have access to the typical range of accessories.

The 2021 Toyota Venza will arrive in dealerships this summer. Check out the video above to see whether Roman and Tommy give the car a rating of “buy it”, “lease it”, “rent it” or “forget it”!