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May 19, 2020

Toyota Revives Venza Nameplate as Hybrid-Only SUV for 2021

Toyota is filling up every available niche in their SUV line-up with the revival of the Venza nameplate for 2021. Designed to slot between the RAV4 and the Highlander, the Venza is a mid-sized two-row SUV built to go against the Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, and Honda Passport. Coming standard with a gasoline-electric hybrid engine, it’s the seventh SUV for Toyota in the U.S.

The Venza is the global version of the recently launched all-new Toyota Harrier in Japan. It’s larger than the RAV4 but shorter and with a lower roofline than the Highlander. It rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture K platform (same as the RAV4) thereby delivering sedan-like driving comfort with SUV versatility.

The 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.

Under the hood is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with three electric motors. All in all, it makes 219 horsepower and roughly 325 Nm of torque. It can achieve up to 17 km/L. This engine is mated to a CVT transmission driving all four wheels using the E-Four all-wheel drive system.

The E-Four all-wheel drive system works seamlessly. By default, it powers only the front wheels, but is able to transfer up to 80 percent of available engine power to the rear wheels.

Inside, the Venza’s signature feature is the Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof. It’s electrochromic allowing the driver to switch from transparent to frosted modes within one second. In the frosted mode, the sunroof brightens the interior while reducing direct sunlight, giving the cabin an even more open, airy, and inviting feeling.

Other interior features include a 12.3-inch touchscreen display (8-inch is standard), 7-inch multi-information display (4.2-inch is the standard), and an available 9-speaker JBL sound system. The 1,200-watt amp is the most powerful Toyota has fitted to one of its vehicles to date.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard as well adding a comprehensive suite of safety features: 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); and Road Sign Assist (RSA).

So far, the Toyota Venza (Highlander in Japan) has been confirmed for sale in the U.S. and Japan. That being said, reports are strong that Toyota is going to make this model available for global markets. It remains to be seen whether Toyota Motor Philippines will bring in the Venza / Highlander locally, but in the U.S. market, it’s competing in the fastest growing segment which grew to nearly 950,000 unit sales last year alone.

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