From 2009 to 2015, Toyota had a midsize crossover SUV exclusive to the US market called the Venza. Back then, demand for SUVs and crossovers were not as big as today. With the existence of another midsize crossover SUV called the Highlander, this three-row SUV very much overshadowed the five-seater Venza. Nowadays though, demand for SUVs has eclipsed demand for passenger cars, and the revival of the Toyota Venza nameplate simply shows the US market’s insatiable demand for anything that offers higher ground clearance.
If the all-new Toyota Venza looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s a rebadged version of the all-new Harrier that made its debut in Japan a few weeks ago. The all-new Venza rides on the same TNGA-K platform that the all-new three-row Highlander uses. As for styling, the Toyota Harrier/Venza and Lexus RX flaunt a similar profile since they used to be mechanically related. As standard, all variants feature LED lighting elements on the head and taillights. Entry-level LE and XLE trims feature 18-inch alloy wheels while the top-trim Limited features these chrome 19-inch alloy wheels.
As for the interior, the design is the same as the Asian market Harrier, though that’s no bad thing. Dominating the interior is the distinctively-designed center stack, which houses a large infotainment system. Its screen size for the LE and XLE trims is 8-inches while a 12.3-inch touch screen infotainment is standard on the Limited and optional on the XLE. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration are standard. Other options include a bigger 7-inch multi-information display and a 9-speaker JBL premium sound system.
Occupants will appreciate the Toyota Venza’s Star Glaze fixed panoramic sunroof with electromagnetic glass technology–the first-ever Toyota to be fitted with this technology. The Star Glaze panoramic sunroof enables occupants to switch from transparent to frosted viewing modes almost instantly with the push of a button.
The Toyota Venza is only available as a hybrid electric vehicle, consisting of a 2.5-liter inline-4 petrol engine paired with three electric motors for a combined output of 219 hp. Power is sent through an electronic on-demand AWD system via an e-CVT. Toyota says that the electronic AWD system can send up to 80 percent of the power to the rear wheels when needed.
As with every modern Toyota nowadays, the Venza comes with Toyota Safety Sense as standard, which includes full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with lane tracing, automatic emergency braking, among other features.
Toyota USA has not provided pricing for the Venza, though it expects that the Japanese automaker’s new midsize crossover SUV will arrive in showrooms in late 2020 for the 2021 model year.