Reviews

2021 Toyota Venza Limited: A New Venture into Hybrid Territory

Elevating elegance all over town, and beyond

The Toyota Venza Limited certainly got a workout during its week at the Aubernon Highway Roadhouse. Its two longest trips were a trek with my mom via I-81 to the new Sheetz in Salem on U.S. 460, and a visit to the Draper Valley Overlook near Radford. The rear cargo area proved handy for a trip to Kroger with my mom, handling all of her groceries easily (the cargo cover helps against looky-loos and the sun alike).

The hybrid powertrain easily brought me up to speed near my house, too. In fact, I wondered if I could swap it all into my RAV4 to really wake up the neighbors. Of course, finding room for the motors may be easier said than done.

Imagine all the fuel savings, though. I managed an average of 40.7 mpg at one point with the Venza; the sticker says 40 city/37 highway/39 combined.

Finally, with the front seats pushed all the way back, rear leg room is still good. Of course, I’m 5 ft 6; your mileage will vary.

In closing

Like the one before, the new Venza arrives at a time when the world is topsy-turvy. Not only are we beating back a pandemic, but a semiconductor shortage has battered several industries, including the automotive realm. Throw in a hacked pipeline boosting gas prices to highs not seen since the start of the Great Recession, and it all looks like the Venza chose the wrong time to return.

Yet, perhaps things will go better this time around. It looks like a spaceship (and sounds like one upon startup and in EV mode), promising a future of hybrids and more to come. You won’t find it going off-road — that’s territory for the RAV4 Hybrid — but if you don’t quite have the room for the Highlander Hybrid on your driveway, but you desire a hybrid crossover with a Toyota badge to make all your errands feel wonderful, perhaps the second-gen Venza will fit the bill.

Photos: Aubernon Highway/Cameron Aubernon

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