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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 2023 Sequoia is all-new and a huge improvement over its predecessor.

Toyota

The Toyota Tundra and Sequoia were two of the oldest vehicles on the market, but that's all different now. The new Tundra is already on the streets, and today Toyota released a load of specs and details on the all-new 2023 Sequoia. The full-size SUV gets a major update for the new model year with completely fresh styling, impressive new tech, and a powerful standard engine. We don't have pricing details yet, but Toyota says the 2023 Sequoia will be available starting in summer 2022.

2023 Toyota Sequoia In addition to new styling, the SUV gets a twin-turbo hybrid V6 powertrain and a load of updated tech.Toyota

Five trims of the Texas-built SUV will be offered: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and Capstone. All 2023 Sequoia models get the impressive twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-Force Max engine from the all-new Tundra. It makes 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, and sends it to the rear or all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers a max towing rating of up to 9,000 pounds, which is a solid number and a massive increase over the previous Sequoia.

Toyota offers automatic-leveling air suspension and adaptive suspension settings with modes for Comfort, Sport S+, and Custom. The Sport drive modes also improve throttle response and changes transmission shift points. The electric motor handles most propulsion duties below 18 mph, but after that the gas engine steps in. The motor is constantly involved when the truck is in Tow/Haul mode.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro models get under-body cladding and beefier tires.Toyota

Similar to the high-end treatment given to the Tundra, Toyota will offer a Capstone trim for the new Sequoia that brings unique upholstery and trim materials, 22-inch chrome wheels, power side steps, American Walnut inlays, and more. That said, even the standard Sequoia SR5 offers plenty of standard gear. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, along with heated seats and more. An available Premium Package adds an enormous 14-inch infotainment display, power third-row seats, a hands-free liftgate, and additional power outlets.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 will also be standard for the SUV. The system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and rear seat reminders. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts is also standard.

2023 Toyota Sequoia The new Capstone trim is a super-plush trim with an interior rivaling those in many luxury brands.

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New full-size SUVtoyota

Toyota teases new SUV that could be updated Sequoia

The teaser image gives zero detail on the new SUV.

Toyota

Toyota recently retook the title of world’s largest automaker and has its sights set on refreshing some of its oldest models. The Tundra full-size pickup truck got the treatment late last year, and now we’re seeing teases of a new SUV from the auto giant. The image, released yesterday, is likely of a new Sequoia, which is based on the Tundra and is equally as overdue for a refresh.

2022 Toyota Sequoia If the tease is of a new Sequoia, it will replace the 15-year-old current-generation model.Toyota

After 15 years or so on sale in its current form, the Sequoia is old enough to earn a learner’s permit of its own at this point. All of its competitors offer newer and more intuitive technology, a larger variety of advanced safety gear, and more efficient powertrains. In the teaser, we can see a sharply chiseled rear quarter panel and shapely tail lights, but not much else. If it is a Sequoia, the styling marks a significant shift in the SUV’s outward appearance.

The shadowy image is the only tidbit Toyota has shared so far, but we can draw some information from the recently released Toyota Tundra pickup truck, with which the Sequoia typically shares a platform and powertrain elements. The all-new 2022 Tundra dropped the 5.7-liter V8 that powered it for years, in favor of a pair of twin-turbo V6 engines, one of which is a hybrid. That means we could see a new Sequoia with the same engines, delivering up to 479 horsepower.

2022 Toyota Sequoia We're likely to see a TRD off-road oriented model.Toyota

The new full-size SUV will likely also get some of the tech updates that Toyota bestowed upon the new Tundra. That could mean up to a 14-inch infotainment touchscreen with a new, more intuitive user interface and over-the-air updates. Refreshed safety features are almost certainly on the list of Sequoia changes as well.

Toyota hasn’t nailed down an official reveal date or any other information for the new SUV, but has said that more details are coming soon.

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