After several years on hiatus, the Venza nameplate was revived for the 2021 model year. Once again the Venza is a comfort-oriented midsize crossover, but in its second iteration it's powered exclusively by a hybrid powertrain. It's mechanically similar to the RAV4 Hybrid but has a more upscale design.
Toyota isn't known for building luxury vehicles—it has Lexus for that—but the Venza breaks that mold. This crossover brings suave design and plush appointments that make it feel much more premium than the RAV4 Hybrid with which it shares key components.
The Venza aims less for outright utility and more for an upscale ambiance. In its attractive cabin, most surfaces are treated with soft-touch materials, and the large infotainment display puts technology at the forefront. However, storage space isn't great, whether that's for daily carry items or larger pieces of cargo. As impressive as the available 12.3-inch display is, the touch-sensitive controls that come with it frustrate.
Like a growing number of Toyota vehicles, the Venza mandates a hybrid powertrain. Generally, that's great. Besides impressive fuel economy, its smooth electric torque eases everyday drivability. However, it's coarse when asked to accelerate quickly, and at highway speeds there's a fair bit of tire noise.
Still, as the Venza in our one-year test fleet demonstrates, Toyota knows a few things about making comfortable, enjoyable cars. It might not be downright luxurious like a Lexus, but its efficiency, design, and value make it a midsize SUV worth considering.
Every Venza is equipped with a hybrid AWD powertrain that combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors, one on the front and one on the rear axle. Together, they make 219 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque, all managed by a CVT automatic transmission. In MotorTrend testing, 0-60-mph acceleration took 7.1 seconds. Fuel economy for the 2021 model was EPA-rated at 40/37 mpg city/highway, and we expect the 2022 model to match that.
Glass roofs seem to be an EV fascination these days. They're found on most Tesla models and others like the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Yet for all the airy ambiance they provide, they also let in sunlight—not always welcome on hot summer days. The Venza is offered with what Toyota calls the Star Gaze roof. What's clever about this glass roof is that it's electrochromic: It can switch from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. If that's not enough, it has a physical fabric cover that blocks out light. Tesla owners make do with transparent, unshaded roofs, with the option of donning a hat perhaps the best workaround.
From the NHTSA, the 2022 Venza earns a five-star overall safety rating, which is the highest possible score. The IIHS most recently evaluated the 2021 model, which earned Top Safety Pick designation and the top Good score in all six crashworthiness tests. We expect the 2022 Venza to receive similarly impressive IIHS scores.
The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 system comes on every Venza. This driver assist suite includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beams, and front automatic braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection. Eight airbags are also standard.
Among midsize SUVs, the Venza is on the smaller side. That has certain benefits, but its cabin is not as spacious as some competitors. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe beats or ties the Venza in most measurements.
Cargo space (behind first/second rows):
Legroom (first/second/third rows):
Headroom (first/second rows):
In LE and XLE trims, the Venza is equipped with an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. A 12.3-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation is standard on the Limited trim and offered on XLE. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and a SiriusXM satellite radio subscription are included on all. Four USB ports are fitted in the cabin. A six-speaker audio system is standard, and a nine-speaker JBL premium setup is available.
Bigger isn't always better, which is part of the reason we favor the midrange Venza XLE trim over the Limited. The Limited model gets the larger infotainment touchscreen, but annoying capacitive touch HVAC controls are part of the package. As such, we prefer the XLE trim, which has a smaller screen but physical buttons for other common controls. That this trim now gets full leatherette seating upholstery for 2022 improves its premium appeal. Check out the pros and cons for the LE, XLE, and Limited models in our Venza Trim Guide.
|$500||Toyota announces a Bonus Cash offer on select models when financing through TFS with standard rates. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$500||Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|
|$1000||Toyota announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|
|$750||Toyota announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible current owners. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$750||Toyota announces a Military Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||01-31-2022|
|$500||Toyota announces a College Graduate Rebate on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.]||04-04-2022|