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Return of the Venza: Toyota brings back crossover for 2021 to face off with Murano, Blazer

The Venza has returned to the Toyota lineup as a two-row crossover.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Showcasing a new model isn't what it once was. Nor is the Venza the same. During this time of coronavirus "shut down", Toyota used a virtual platform to open up the five doors of the all-new 2021 Venza, at its headquarters in Plano, Texas.

The five-passenger midsize crossover gets its moniker from a blend of "venture" and "monza", a city near Milan, Italy, that is known for its historic race track. Venza was first introduced in 2008, updated in 2012 and then discontinued after the 2015 model year. The CUV's sales had declined as it competed with a large number of offerings in its class and became lost in a sea of sameness.

2021 Toyota Venza The model features design that is on-brand for both Lexus and Toyota.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Venza returns to an American market that is overflowing with crossover and SUV models. Toyota is striving to break "the sameness barrier" with Venza's standard hybrid powertrain, electronic on-demand all-wheel drive, and cutting edge technology. Engineers also worked to create the sophisticated crossover's "intuitive driving experience" derived from smooth acceleration and predictable handling, as well as instill a low level of noise, vibration, and harshness.

Exterior

Designers gave the Venza looks to make it mesh well within the Toyota family portfolio. It's been drawn with clean and sleek styling lines, wearing a face that wears large, wide and dominant grille. The crossover appears couple-like from the side with teardrop glass that accentuates this idea and nips tastefully behind the C-pillar.

The back end is boxy and has been penned with cues that give more of a planted CUV look and feel; a light bar stretches across the back end and accentuates its width.

2021 Toyota Venza Toyota's new Star Gaze roof is fixed and allows light to flow through without having to open a sunroof.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The cherry on top is an available Star Gaze fixed panoramic glass roof; clever electrochromic glass technology allows it to switch from transparent to frosted modes within one second using a button. In the frosted mode, Star Gaze adds illumination to the interior while reducing direct sunlight, providing a more open, airy cabin environment.

Toyota will sell the model in LE, XLE, and Limited trim levels.

Venza LE rolls on 18-inch multi-spoke two-tone alloy wheels, while XLE and Limited come standard with 19-inch multi-spoke super chrome finished alloy wheels.

A standard hands-free power liftgate can be set to lock automatically upon closing; XLE and Limited grades come standard with a Smart Key System that works on all five doors.

Powertrain

Venza gets its power from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with three electric motors in a compact system that produces 219 total system horsepower. Drivers can choose between EV, Normal, Eco and Sport drive modes. The EV mode allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances.

2021 Toyota Venza The front of the 2021 Venza features looks a large grille and penetrating headlamps.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission and has a sequential shifting feature that allows downshifting to increase the regenerative braking in steps that gives more control in some conditions, such as descending steep hills.

Predictive Efficient Drive) acts like an onboard au pair utilizing the navigation system to analyze driving habits and memorize road and traffic conditions to help optimize hybrid battery charging.

All Venzas come standard with all-wheel drive. The system allows for torque distribution from front to rear to provide traction as needed.

Toyota estimates that the Venza will achieve 40 mpg combined making it far more fuel efficient than its Chevrolet Blazer and Nissan Murano competition.

Interior

The interior has been modernized with a cockpit that is smartly-styled and uncluttered; high-back, well-bolstered seats have tastefully-integrated headrests. Power seats are standard (eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat on all grades and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat on the Limited model) and the driver's seat features an auto slide-away function to aid in ingress and egress.

2021 Toyota Venza The two-row crossover is similar to a Lexus NX and may show off what to expect next from that model.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Space has been maximized with cupholders that can hold large drinks; the center stack tray accommodates the largest iPhone models. Goods and gear can be stowed behind the second row with 36.3 cubic-feet of carrying space; a standard tonneau cover can be stored beneath the deck board when not in use.

Infotainment

Connectivity and entertainment with Toyota's audio systems varies by grade.

Audio Plus is standard on LE and XLE grades and includes an 8-inch touchscreen.

Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation and JBL is optional on Venza XLE and standard on Venza Limited. It features a 12.3-inch touch screen display with controls that can be switched between driver or front passenger operation in addition to AM/FM radio, connectivity tech includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, Bluetooth wireless technology, among other features.

Apple CarPlay includes access to Siri, while Android Auto users can access Google Assistant.

2021 Toyota Venza Toyota is giving the top-tier Venza a 12.3-inch touch screen that comes standard with Apple CarPlay.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

All Venza grades come with a complementary SiriusXM All Access three-month trial.

Available dynamic navigation features enhanced 2D landmark display, land guidance display, and freeway exit display.

A six-speaker sound system is standard. An available JBL Premium Audio System with 9 speakers, including a rear subwoofer, with by a 12-channel, 1,200-watt amp – the most powerful system launched in a Toyota to date, is available.

The Venza LE grade features a 4.2-inch color multi-information display (MID), while XLE and Limited grades receive a 7-inch color MID - both have a Hybrid System Indicator shows the driver system output and regeneration status to encourage eco-driving habits.

An available 10-inch color head-up display projects important information at eye level. An available digital rearview mirror with a HomeLink universal transceiver adds functionality: if rear passengers or luggage in the cargo area are blocking the view behind, a flip of a switch on the digital rearview mirror gives a wide, unobstructed view from a rear camera.

Venza Limited comes standard with bird's eye view camera with perimeter scan, which provides a panoramic overhead view of the vehicle's surroundings. The standard backup camera features projected path and dynamic gridlines, while an available rear camera cleaning system sprays washer fluid to clear away water droplets, mud, snow, and snow-melting road treatments from the lens.

2021 Toyota Venza The new Venza features a new multi-informational display design .Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Safety

The 2021 Venza is equipped with eight airbags and the Toyota Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, anti-lock brakes, and smart stop technology. Additionally, the SUV gets Toyota's second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0). You can learn more about it here.

Pricing

The cost of the 2021 Toyota Venza is still under wraps. It's likely to sit between the Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Highlander.

On Sale

The model will go on sale this summer.

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The Bronze Edition model builds on the XLE trim.

Toyota

The Toyota Highlander entered its fourth generation for the 2020 model year, which brought sleek style, updated tech, and a premium-look interior. A new XSE trim joined the lineup for 2021, and for 2022, Toyota is adding a new hybrid-only Bronze Edition trim.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition adds useful features, such as a hands-free power liftgate.toyota

The new Bronze Edition Highlander builds on the XLE trim with:

  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Digital rearview mirror
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Memory driver's seat with 10-way power adjustments
  • Hands-free power liftgate

Toyota notes that the Bronze Edition previews features that will show up with the greater 2022 Highlander release. Among them are the new Wind Chill Pearl color, which replaces Blizzard Pearl from the previous model, and height/tilt passenger seat adjustments.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Highlander is a supremely comfortable SUV with room for the family.Toyota

The Highlander carries on into 2022 with a standard 3.5-liter V6 that makes 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. A Highlander Hybrid is available, which mates a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Combined system output is 243 horsepower. With the V6 on board, the Highlander can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition The Bronze Edition is available for Highlander Hybrid models.Toyota

All 2022 Highlander models get Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, road sign assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, a sway warning system, and automatic high beams. Those features and the Highlander's excellent crash testing scores were good enough for the SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick + designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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New luxury full-size SUV

All-new 2022 Lexus LX 600 will be here soon

The new LX will go on sale in early 2022.

Lexus

The Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus LX are among the most revered off-road vehicles of all time. Even so, Toyota is cutting the Land Cruiser in the U.S. after the 2021 model year due to slow sales. We will see its twin, however, as the 2022 Lexus LX was just announced. The full-size SUV will go on sale in the first quarter of 2022 and will bring all two new trims, more intuitive tech, and updated but familiar exterior styling.

2022 Lexus LX The new LX gets a twin-turbo V6 instead of a big V8, and its new platform shaves weight while improving rigidity.Lexus

The 2022 Lexus LX 600 comes in five trims: Standard, Premium, Luxury, F Sport, and Ultra Luxury. The new Ultra Luxury trim cuts the number of seats to four by replacing the rear bench with a pair of plush reclining captain's chairs. A rear entertainment system and large rear center console complete the top-level trim. Also new for 2022 is the LX F Sport, which brings Lexus' sharp appearance package to the LX for the first time. The F Sport gets exclusive 22-inch wheels, aggressive exterior styling, and sport seats with unique color schemes.

The LX is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that produces 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission. The body-on-frame SUV rides on an all-new GA-F platform that Lexus says is 20 percent more rigid than that of the previous model. Lexus also carved 441 pounds out of the previous LX's platform weight.

2022 Lexus LX The LX is available in five trims, including a new top Premium Luxury model. Lexus

A new Active Height Control (AHC) system and adaptive suspension provide stability and a comfortable ride while retaining the LX's off-road capabilities. AHC allows the driver to select from three ride heights depending on the situation, and a low setting is available for entering and exiting the vehicle. Three wheel sizes are available, and the F Sport trim comes with a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Lexus updated the LX's cabin for 2022 with new infotainment system and a cleaner, more upscale design. A new dual-screen infotainment system is standard. The top 12.3-inch touchscreen handles audio and infotainment duties, while the lower 7.0-inch touchscreen is used for climate controls and related settings. The LX also gets Lexus' new infotainment software, which promises to be more intuitive and simpler than previous systems. Over-the-air updates will bring new features and update existing functionality, while voice controls can command audio, navigation, phone, and other vehicle settings.

2022 Lexus LX Ultra Luxury trim reduces seating capacity to four but makes the LX's cabin seriously plush.Lexus

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