2021 Toyota Venza Limited
2021 Toyota Venza Limited in Titanium Glow

Quick Spin, Consumer Guide Automotive

2021 Toyota Venza Limited

Class: Midsize Crossover SUV

Miles driven: 768

Fuel used: 20.8 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyA
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA-
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Engine Specs219-hp 2.5L
Engine Type4-cylinder hybrid
Transmission CVT automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 36.9 mpg

Driving mix: 35% city, 65% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 40/37/39 (city, highway, combined)

Base price: $39,800 (not including $1175 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Advanced Technology Package ($725); Star Gaze fixed panoramic roof ($1400)

Price as tested: $43,100


Quick Hits

The great: Smooth hybrid powertrain delivers excellent fuel economy; generous list of standard equipment, including safety features

The good: High-class interior trimmings; sleek styling inside and out

The not so good: Cargo volume isn’t as good as most class rivals; not all testers like capacitive-touch controls

More Venza price and availability information


CG Says:

If the new-for-2021 Venza is supposed to be the stylish sophisticate of Toyota’s range of crossover SUVs, then what could it hurt to drive the one with the most stylish and sophisticated stuff on it? That would be the Limited, the heap-topper of the trio of 5-passenger “small-midsize” hybrid crossovers.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
All 2021 Venzas are hybrids, and all are all-wheel drive. Even in topline Limited trim with options, the Venza undercuts the prices of most similarly equipped two-row midsize crossover rivals.

Consumer Guide has already sampled the mid-pack Venza XLE, and we’ll direct you to that review for the particulars on performance, room, and convenience. All Venzas have the same 219-horsepower gas/electric hybrid powerplant and all-wheel drive, and the tested XLE was optioned with the premium audio system that is Limited standard equipment. The Limited has a base price—with delivery—of $40,975, which is $3800 more than the XLE’s starting tab. However, the Limited that CG drove was essentially “loaded” with the only two factory options available to it—the Advanced Technology Package and the “Star Gaze” moonroof—that resulted in a bottom-line figure of $43,100.

Test Drive: 2021 Toyota Venza XLE

2021 Toyota Venza Limited AWD
The Venza’s cabin has an impressively upscale ambiance for its price point, particularly in Limited trim. Standard features include a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, 360-degree surround-view monitor, heated steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front seats. A wireless charging pad resides at the leading edge of the center console.

The Limited’s extra cost pays for a mix of genuine “different from the rest” items and mere embellishments of what’s already there. Perforated SofTex leatherette seats, 4-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, digital rearview mirror with HomeLink universal transceiver, a 360-degree overhead-view camera, and illuminated front doorsills and footwells are all steps beyond what’s standard on the LE and XLE. So, too, the premium audio system with navigation, nine JBL speakers, a 12.3-in. touchscreen, capacitive-touch controls, and Destination Assist that accesses en route directions from an actual human.

Quick Spin: 2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
Limiteds come standard with Toyota’s “SofTex” faux-leather upholstery, which looks and feels quite nice. Front seat space is excellent; the back seat offers good legroom, but headroom can be a bit tight for passengers above 6 feet tall.

From the tweaks category come a heated version of the existing leather-trimmed power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, ventilated front seats, touch-capacitive controls for the dual-zone automatic climate control, a washer for the back-up camera, and a Venza logo projected from the puddle lights in the exterior mirrors.

Test Drive: 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
The optional “Star Gaze” fixed panoramic sunroof uses electrochromic technology to switch from transparent to a frosted translucent state at the press of a button… an interesting novelty, but we’re not sure it’s worth $1400.

The $725 Advanced Tech option imbues the Venza Limited with a head-up display and rain-sensing windshield wipers. That is a wiser choice than the fancy moonroof, which is not $1400 worth of “gee whiz!” Star Gaze is a fixed panoramic roof that uses electrochromic technology to switch from transparent to frosted. At full strength it allows a soft, white, almost wintry light into the cabin. Press an overhead button and this effect clears to act like a normal moonroof, but there is a residual milkiness in the glass. An option only for the Limited, it comes with a power sunshade, but it requires surrendering the low-profile silver roof rails, and it reduces overall interior volume by 3.3 cubic feet in a vehicle that doesn’t have the biggest cargo area in its class to begin with.

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
Nineteen-inch “Super Chrome” multi-spoke alloy wheels are standard.

As a reminder, the new Venza draws on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and three electric motors, one of which is mounted in the rear and is electronically activated to drive the rear wheels when needed to help reduce front wheel slip or improve cornering. EPA fuel-economy projections for this driveline, which includes a continuously variable transmission, are 40 mpg in city driving, 37 mpg on the highway, and 39 combined. CG’s first go in a Venza tallied an impressive 41.6 mpg with 60 percent city driving. With the Limited we logged 36.9 mpg with a 35/65 city/highway mix.

All Venzas have the full connectivity complement of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, and they come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0: a pre-collision system with low-light pedestrian and bicycle detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlamps, and road-sign assist. The Limited’s reliance on capacitive-touch controls—even for climate—requires a lot of repetitive tapping; the standard LE and XLE climate system has easier-to-use dials and push-buttons.

With easy handling, a pleasant ride, good passenger room for four adults, and a nicely done cabin, the Venza speaks to the crossover buyer who values a sleeker look and feel above absolute utility. The Limited just speaks a little louder.

Check out Consumer Guide’s Midsize Crossover Best Buys

2021 Toyota Venza Limited
The reborn Toyota Venza is sleekly styled, fuel efficient, and pleasant to drive. It’s not as space efficient as some class rivals–the swoopy roofline takes a toll on cargo space–but it is one of the best dollar values in its class.

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