The current iteration of the Venza is powered by a hybrid system that combines a 2.5L Dynamic Force 4-cylinder engine with electric generator motors. The combined system nets 219 horsepower.
Using EV, ECO, Normal, and Sport drive modes with the Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission, powering the Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive, this crossover achieves 40 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, for a combined 39 mpg average.
Sport mode sharpens the throttle response, encouraging driving enjoyment and enthusiasm while keeping fuel use in check. Eco mode changes the throttle and environmental logic, helping the driver focus on the fuel and battery efficiency. Normal mode is the all-rounder ideal for daily driving, while EV mode allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.
2021 Venza is assembled at the Takaoka Plant in Japan, and is brought over to North America in three trim levels: $32,670 LE, $36,200 XLE, and 40,000 Limited. The Limited trim will be my focus.
Outside, the Venza rests on 19-inch multi-spoke super chrome alloy wheels. The LED projector headlights profile the front as the hands-free power liftgate dominates the rear. The outside of my Venza was covered in a beautiful Coastal Gray Metallic paint.
Inside the cabin, Venza is anchored by two focus points. The Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation system resides behind a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and fills the cabin with sound through 9 JBL speakers including subwoofer. Connectivity technology features Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, SiriusXM, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. SofTex-trimmed front seats are comfortably heated and ventilated along with a heated steering wheel.
The other focus point is the 7-inch Multi-Information Display (MID) providing useful data like fuel consumption, clock, odometer and tripmeters, outside temperature, and hybrid energy monitor.
Another valuable feature which was actually thrilling: the $1,400 Star Gaze Fixed Panoramic Glass Roof. It is an electrochromic glass roof with on/off control and power sunshade. Seeing through it was a grand view of the starry night sky in winter deep blue, while remaining comfortably in the warmth of the cabin.
In addition to an exemplary protection provided to help achieve a five-star NHTSA Overall Safety Rating, the 2021 Versa comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.0. This standard suite of safety features include Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicyclist Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beams, Lane Tracing Assist, and Road Sign Assist.
I experienced the wonder of Bicyclist Detection during my time with the Venza. It had just turned dark and I was traveling a narrow, paved road crowded by overhead tree limbs. I would never have seen the bicyclist who was in the middle of the road. He wore black clothes, with no helmet on a bike without lights or reflectors. Fortunately Bicyclist Detection warned me in time to stop and saved both of us.
Venza is roomy front and back. Torque is more than adequate especially in city traffic, where you need that extra punch to catch up to speed to merge into a fast-paced highway traffic. The Venza is compact and quick, loaded with safety features, and willing to run.
Toyota Standard Warranty
3 years/36,000 miles Basic Warranty
5 years/60,000 miles Powertrain Warranty
5 years/unlimited miles Corrosion Perforation Warranty
8 years/100,000 miles Hybrid System Warranty
10 years/150,000 miles Hybrid Battery Warranty
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or email@example.com.