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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 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is joining the company’s lineup

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The decision to add a turbocharged engine variant to the Mazda3 was met with praise for those who like getting in a little more excitement behind the wheel. Now It has been announced that the Mazda3's crossover counterpart, the CX-30 is getting the same treatment.

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 will be available with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque when the tank is filled with 93 octane fuel. The performance drops to 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque when owners fill up with 87 octane. Engines with the turbo-four also get standard all-wheel drive.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The body styling is pretty much the same as the rest of the Mazda CX-30 lineup, but it does have unique wheels and other attributes.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

To accommodate the new engine option, Mazda has not had to change the outward appearance of the model In earnest but does add some highlights including 18-inch black aluminum alloy wheels, larger tailpipes, gloss black door mirrors and a "TURBO" badge on the liftgate.

As the most premium Mazda CX-30 model, it comes with a frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror, black upper dash and chrome finishes. The features list includes a Bose 12-speaker audio system and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen..

The CX-30 2.5 Turbo, as the models with the engine will be known. Also comes equipped with Smart City Brake Support Reverse and rear cross-traffic braking technologies that can sense a vehicle coming into the lane of travel when reversing, warn the driver, and apply the brakes in order to possibly avoid a collision. Additional available safety technologies include a 360-degree view monitor, Active Drive Display, traffic sign recognition, and adaptation front lighting.

2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo The CX-30 debuted just last year.Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 2.5 Turbo is scheduled to go on sale by the end of 2020. Specific packaging and pricing details will be announced in the coming months

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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