New Model News

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 VenzaThe 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 VenzaToyota'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 VenzaThe 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 VenzaThe 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 VenzaToyota 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 VenzaThe 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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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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New minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.

Honda

The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

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