2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid

2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid – Redline: First Look

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In a bold move, Toyota has announced both its redesigned Sienna minivan and re-invented Venza crossover will only be available as hybrids. No pure internal-combustion engines will be available on either model; all trims and all models will be powered by Toyota’s latest Hybrid System II, which marries a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gas engine with rejigged, permanently excited synchronous electric motors.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because the same basic configuration powers the company’s popular RAV4 and Highlander hybrids. Now, Toyota hybrid fans will note that, while those two enjoy similar engineering, the larger Highlander boasts 243 horsepower while the RAV4 claims but 219.


2021 Toyota Venza: First Look

In a similar move to differentiate products — and because the Sienna, like the Highlander, is heavier than its counterpart — Toyota’s latest minivan will be getting the Highlander’s 243-horsepower hybrid powertrain, while the smaller Venza gets the RAV4’s 219-hp variant. Both versions, by the way, use the same 176-horsepower, 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder. The difference in output is all electrical.

Now, Toyota is not yet releasing performance figures for either vehicle, but they’re plenty happy to be boasting their fuel economy: 5.9L/100 kilometers for the Venza and 7.1 for the Sienna. For context, the Venza’s rated economy is close to double the 10.0 L/100 km that the last-gen four-banger averaged. Indeed, if we’re comparing apples to apples — besides being 100 per cent hybridized, the new Venza is also only available with all-wheel-drive — it is (roughly) double the 11.3 L/100 kilometre boasted by the previous AWD version.


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The Sienna’s improvement isn’t quite as dramatic, its 7.1 L/100-kilometer rating about a 50 per cent improvement over the current front-wheel-drive, 3.5L V6 version. Things look even better when comparing the Sienna’s new electric, on-demand AWD to the previous gen’s all-mechanical system; in that case, the hybrid ekes out a more substantial 66 per cent improvement.

It’s also, by far, the most frugal fuel consumption of any non plug-in minivan. If Toyota’s number are accurate (and they usually are), it’s better than the 8.1 L/100 kilometres that Car and Driver averaged over its 40,000 mile test of Chrysler’s plug-in Pacifica. One last note is that the Sienna, despite that small 2.5-litre four-banger, can tow 3,500 pounds (the Venza just half as much). It’s also worth noting Toyota claims the e-AWD system can vary torque distribution, from 100 per cent of power sent to the front to 80 per cent sent to the rear, depending on available traction.


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Of course, there’s a lot more to either model than powertrain electrification. As well as a plethora of outdoor accessories — a rooftop carrier, cross bars and a bicycle carrier — the hybrid Sienna is also available with a 1,500-watt invertor and a 120-volt AC outlet to power all your camping equipment.

Nor is the new Sienna all practicality and rugged outdoorsiness. You can get a 12-speaker, 1,200-watt JBL audio system on Limited and Platinum models, four-zone climate control on any trim above the XLE, and a 10-inch heads-up display screen on the Platinum model. Heated and ventilated seats are available, and the Platinum and Limited models are seven-seaters featuring Super Long Slide second row seats that even have an ottoman feature. The Sienna may be finally living up to the “swagger wagon” positioning Toyota Canada has long claimed.


2021 Toyota Sienna: First Look

If anything, the Venza looks even better equipped. Along with standard hybridization and electric AWD — essentially, the rear axle’s Hybrid Synergy Drive motor reacts to wheel slippage “on demand” — the mid-sized crossover can be had with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, JBL’s 1,200-watt Premium sound system, and something Toyota calls its Star Gaze Fixed Panoramic Glass Roof with Frost Control — essentially a sunroof made of electrochromic glass that lets the driver switch from full transparency to “frost” mode in less than a second. Like the Sienna, there’s also a 10-inch heads-up display available.

And finally, being a Toyota, there’s a full complement of safety features, both vehicles’ Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 including pre-collision system with pedestrian and bicycle detection, Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA). Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) are also standard on both models, though the Sienna does get two extra air bags.

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