Toyota unveiled the 2021 Venza midsize two-row crossover utility vehicle (CUV). The all-new 2021 Venza comes equipped exclusively with the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain and advanced Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive.
The Venza brings the number of Toyota Hybrids available to 10—Mirai makes it 11 electrified vehicles—for 2021, more than any other brand. The new-generation Toyota Hybrid System in the Venza combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with three electric motors in a highly compact system.
The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump further help improve engine efficiency.
The proven tech seamlessly delivers 219 total system horsepower and a projected preliminary manufacturer-estimated 40 combined MPG in LE trim. The hybrid system optimizes the level of electric motor assistance and gas engine RPM without the engine running at high revs. Engine speed is synchronized with vehicle speed, yielding effortless and quiet acceleration. Venza’s hybrid system adopts a newly-developed lithium-ion battery to enhance performance and size and weight.
Selectable NORMAL, ECO and SPORT driving modes let the driver tailor the Venza’s performance personality. SPORT mode improves and sharpens throttle response, making fuel efficiency more fun. ECO mode changes the throttle and environmental logic to help the driver focus on maximizing mileage from the fuel and battery, while NORMAL mode is ideal for everyday driving. Additionally, EV mode allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.
Using a sequential shifting feature, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example. As a bonus, the hybrid system enhances ride comfort by finely controlling the drive torque to suppress pitch under acceleration and deceleration.
Venza’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) uses the navigation system operation to analyze driving habits and memorize road and traffic conditions to help optimize hybrid battery charging. When the driver selects PED, the system learns repeating routes and is designed to predict when and where the vehicle is likely to slow down or stop. Then, through optimum accelerator pedal release timing guidance, it can help reduce energy consumption.
PED can help optimize battery charging and discharge ahead of hills or traffic congestion. When approaching a downhill section, for example, the system is designed to apply additional engine braking force to more efficiently charge the hybrid battery after the accelerator pedal is released.
The 2021 Venza comes standard with Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive, a highly efficient system that takes maximum advantage of the hybrid powertrain’s benefits. Instead of using a transfer case and driveshaft to the rear wheels, Electronic On-Demand AWD employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed.
It works seamlessly and transparently, preemptively distributing up to 80 percent of driving force to the rear wheels which helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. The system also enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer.
Torque distribution varies with conditions, from 100:0 in constant-speed driving to 20:80 on slippery surfaces. Torque distribution can be indicated on the Multi-information Display and audio system screen.
The 2021 Venza, which will be assembled at the Takaoka Plant and arrives in Toyota dealerships this summer, is built around a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture K platform that underpins some of the company’s sedans and crossovers. As such, Venza delivers the best of both worlds: sedan-like driving comfort and CUV versatility.
The inherent strength of the TNGA-K platform is the extensive use of high-strength steel. This allows front strut and rear multi-link suspension tuning that helps foster handling agility while providing a supple, quiet ride.
Venza’s handling is bolstered by an electronically controlled brake system featuring Active Cornering Assist (ACA), which engages the stability control to reduce understeer in certain cornering situations. The driver feels only the enhanced agility, not the system’s operation.
The hybrid system uses a differential torque pre-load function, which enhances acceleration and deceleration controllability when starting off or cornering on normal or slippery roads. The feature also helps enhance steering performance at higher speeds, straight-line stability and controllability on rough roads.
In addition to the collision protection provided by the TNGA-K platform (projected to achieve top NHTSA safety ratings), the 2021 Venza comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), a comprehensive suite of active safety systems that includes:
- Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection (PCS)
- Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
- Automatic High Beams (AHB)
- Lane Tracing Assist (LTA)
- Road Sign Assist (RSA)
Pre-Collision System with Daytime/Low-Light Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, plus Daytime Bicycle Detection, offers automatic braking capability should the driver not react in time in an emergency situation. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) is standard on all grades, while XLE and Limited add Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automated Braking (PA w/AB).
Visibility through technology. Venza’s top innovation is literally found on top of the vehicle. In a first for Toyota, the 2021 Venza offers an available Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof. The Star Gaze electrochromic glass technology allows drivers to switch from transparent to frosted modes within one second using the ON/OFF button. In the frosted mode, Star Gaze brightens the interior while reducing direct sunlight, giving the cabin an even more open, airy, and inviting feeling.