The hybrid-only 2021 Venza is among the best-looking new Toyotas in latest reminiscence—or at the very least one of many least fussy in its design. However its beauty are one in every of its few strengths. Though Toyota pitches the Venza as a mid-size two-row SUV within the vein of the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Edge, and Honda Passport, this new crossover struggles to face aside from the corporate’s personal compact RAV4 hybrid. Throughout the better Toyota lineup, it is simpler to consider the Venza as a high-end trim degree of the RAV4, somewhat than a separate mannequin designed to compete with bigger rivals.
Not like the earlier Venza, which was a Camry-based crossover created for the USA market, this new mannequin is plucked from Toyota’s Japanese lineup, the place it is known as the Harrier. A look on the Venza’s spec sheet reveals a lot of similarities with the RAV4, as the 2 crossovers share a platform and most of their powertrain and dimensions. The Venza is a number of inches longer, owing to its completely different physique, however its wheelbase and width are the identical because the RAV4’s.
The supposedly greater Venza is definitely much less spacious inside, and its inferior packaging makes it much less sensible for hauling cargo. We match simply seven carry-on suitcases behind the rear seats of the Venza—three fewer than within the RAV4 and fewer than half of what you possibly can stow in a Honda Passport. Lifting issues into the Venza requires a bit of additional effort as nicely, as its cargo ground is considerably increased off the bottom than the RAV4’s, at 32.Three inches versus 27.5. The Venza’s rear-seat dimensions are practically an identical to the RAV4’s, but sitting again there feels extra confining due to the Venza’s barely smaller home windows and better beltline.
The Venza options the identical all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain because the RAV4 hybrid, together with a 2.5-liter inline-four and two motor-generators, plus a 3rd electrical motor on the rear axle. Mixed output is identical 219 horsepower. The one important distinction is that the Venza will get a lithium-ion battery pack versus the RAV4’s nickel-metal-hydride unit. Nevertheless, the Venza’s extra trendy battery holds far much less vitality, 0.9 kWh versus the RAV4’s 1.6. Maybe that is why the Venza Restricted we examined, at 7.6 seconds to 60 mph, is 0.3-second slower than the RAV4 hybrid regardless of weighing solely 58 kilos extra. Both means, a Passport is a major 1.5 seconds faster. In our 75-mph freeway fuel-economy take a look at, the Venza’s 36 mpg trailed the RAV4 hybrid’s end result by 1 mpg, though each numbers are admittedly spectacular for any SUV. Nonetheless, Toyota’s easy 3.5-liter V-6 would have helped to distinguish Venza, as would the brand new RAV4 Prime’s spectacular plug-in-hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. However Toyota says it has no plans to supply different Venza variants within the U.S.
Whereas the Venza could look a bit classier than the RAV4, it gives comparable ranges of consolation and refinement. Its four-cylinder can sound buzzy and sends extra vibrations by the steering wheel and pedals than we might like. Wind noise is noticeable on the freeway, regardless that the Venza’s sound measurement at a 70-mph cruise is one decibel decrease than the RAV4 hybrid’s. The Venza within reason balanced round corners, however its comparatively slower steering and softer suspension versus the RAV4 make it really feel bigger and a bit lazier on the street, in addition to much less composed over tough pavement. Our take a look at automotive’s Bridgestone Ecopia all-season tires have been fast to relinquish their modest grip, with adhesion across the skidpad amounting to 0.79 g and stops from 70 mph requiring an unimpressive 179 ft.
Sadly, the Venza lags behind the RAV4 in further comparisons: The Venza is not rated for towing, but the RAV4 hybrid can tug as much as 1750 kilos; the RAV4’s bodily buttons and knobs on its heart stack are simpler to make use of than the Venza’s touch-capacitive buttons; and the Venza has fewer and smaller storage cubbies for stashing small objects. Maybe most irritating is that Toyota fees between $3000 and $6000 extra for the Venza than for equal RAV4 hybrid fashions.
On a technical degree, the Venza’s main benefit is its panoramic electrochromic sunroof, a $1400 possibility unique to the Restricted trim that may change from clear to translucent on the contact of a button. However at our take a look at automotive’s $43,045 worth level, the brand new Venza struggles to differentiate itself each from Toyota’s personal compact SUV and its quite a few mid-size crossover opponents. Until you are smitten with the Venza’s design, the RAV4 hybrid is the extra compelling purchase.
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