Life & StyleMotoring

All-New 2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid: A good cub car

If the name ‘Venza’ sounds familiar, it’s because Toyota had a Venza 5-6 years ago and then, well, suddenly it just dropped off the planet.  Just like that. 

Toyota decided to resurface the Venza name as a subcompact SUV this year, only in reality, it’s a hybrid-crossover-midsized-SUV. Indeed, it’s impressive. It can also get a little tight depending on how you wear your Wranglers. Please get in first before you make any decisions on this baby that starts at $32,470 US.

I enjoyed it, to be honest. The ride is smooth and comfortable. It was easy to park and use for your everyday duties around town.  It’s a simple little car with a lot of luxury and a lot of quiet. The starting price is a bit high compared to its competitors, so that needs to factor into your calculations.

Yet with the base LR trim, you do get quite a bit: All-Wheel Drive, four USB ports (impressive at any level), Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 18-inch wheels, a power driver’s seat, 8-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, push-button ignition, dual-zone climate control — and perhaps my favorite: a hands-free liftgate! What a joy that is when you are too lazy to push the button on your remote so you can safely place your to-go order of tortilla soup in the back without lifting another finger!

Toyota has a standard safety package called Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 which really makes a lot of ‘sense’, and this year it includes items like lane departure, lane-centering, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection (which should work great once Pride Parades resume) and adaptive cruise control. I am all about making advanced safety features standard. Often, the driver from whom you need to protected the most -– is you.  Just sayin’.

As you go up the food chain, of course, you can have your wish list of goodies and you will pay for them, to include JBL audio, leather or an electrochromic sunshade for your sunroof (like transition lenses on your glasses). 

Suffice to say that the only thing this Venza has in common with the old Venza is the name. Reviewers are putting the all-new Venza in the same category as the Honda Passport, and I am thinking: What??  So, do your own research.

If you are budget conscious and don’t care a whole lot about luxury and sportiness, you may want to pass on this one.  Insurance rates are still undetermined and it could be a bit of a crapshoot when you call Flo from Progressive. 

And even you do want luxury and sportiness, reviewers on the World Wide Web, who are indeed are harsh group of kids who often never leave their parents’ basement during the pandemic, haven’t been kind to the new Venza.  

So -– follow your heart, your pocketbook and your next U.S. stimulus check. As I said, I liked the Venza: practical in so many ways, but ultimately, you have to test-drive it (please don’t order it like it’s something that can be delivered by Uber Eats) and see what you think.  Then take an adulting class (if you must) to determine if this will fit into your life plans for moving forward.

At this point, it might be best not to count on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to erase a fair chunk of your student debt. 

Not yet, anyway.