If priced wisely, the Venza could become a serious threat to its rivals

The Venza nameplate has made a return to Toyota’s stable after a five-year hiatus. The new Venza is a two-row SUV that slots between the RAV4 and the Highlander in the company’s lineup. This SUV is essentially a rebadged Harrier that’s sold in the Japanese market. To make it stand out from the competition and offer a fuel-efficient SUV to the customers, the Venza will be offered as a hybrid-only SUV.

But, is this enough to waive off the competition in the thickly stacked segment where almost every automaker has a presence? Here’s how the Venza stands when pit against the Ford Edge, Chevy Blazer, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Honda Passport, and the Nissan Murano.

Toyota Venza Performance Comparison

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Drivetrain
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The 2021 Venza is based on the TNGA architecture, which also underpins most of Toyota’s new vehicles.

It will be offered as a hybrid-only model and comes with a single drivetrain option - a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder mill that churns out 219 ponies. However, it is assisted with three electric motors – two at the front and one on the rear axle. In terms of pure power, the Venza is not the most powerful one out there. The Ford Edge with the 2.7-liter, V-6 mill takes the cake with 335 ponies.

To save the Venza some grace, I’ll point out that the Chevy Blazer, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Santa Fe in their four-cylinder ‘fuel economy-conscious’ guises make less power. Toyota hasn’t released the torque figures for this new SUV.

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Interior
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Coming to the fuel efficiency, not a single SUV holds the candle against the Venza. Toyota claims that the SUV will deliver 40 miles per gallon.

This is significantly higher than all the other SUVs which average around 22-23 mpg. It is the biggest selling point for the Venza and Toyota will hope all of its shortcomings (if there are any) will be overlooked in favor of the fuel economy.

Toyota Venza vs. The Competition
Toyota Venza Chevrolet Blazer Ford Edge Honda Passport Hyundai Santa Fe Kia Sorento Nissan Murano
Engine 2.5-Liter I4 Hybrid 2.5-Liter I4, 2.0-Liter I4 Turbo, 3.6-Liter V6  2.0-Liter I4 Turbo, 2.7-Liter V6 Turbo 3.5-Liter V6 2.4-Liter I4, 2.0-Liter I4 Turbo 2.4-Liter I4,  3.3-Liter V6
Horsepower 219 HP 193 HP, 230 HP, 308 HP 250 HP, 335 HP 280 HP 185 HP, 235 HP 185 HP, 290 HP
Torque N/A 188 lb-ft, 258 lb-ft,  270 lb-ft 275 lb-ft, 380 lb-ft 262 lb-ft 178 lb-ft, 260 lb-ft 178 lb-ft, 252 lb-ft
Transmission N/A 6-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic 8-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic 8-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic
Combined Fuel Economy 40 MPG (Estimated) 24 MPG, 23 MPG, 21 MPG 21 MPG, 23 MPG, 24 MPG 21 MPG, 22 MPG 22 MPG, 23 MPG, 24 MPG, 25 MPG 20 MPG, 22 MPG, 23 MPG, 25 MPG

Toyota Venza Interior Comparison

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Interior
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On the inside, you can expect the Venza to be as spacious as the RAV4. The wheelbase measures the same 105.9 inches as the RAV4, but the Venza is over five inches longer than the former. The cargo area measures 36 cubic feet, which falls somewhere in between when compared to the rivals.

Toyota Debuts The New Sienna and The Resurrected-Venza Interior
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This could’ve been a lot better, but we suspect the batteries to have eaten into the space. The Honda Passport tops the list in this department. Depending on the rear seat position, you can have up to 50.5 cubic-feet of cargo space at your disposal.

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Interior
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In terms of technology, the Venza beats the competition. While all the other companies offer eight-inch screens on their vehicles, some even seven-inch screens on the base trims, the Venza comes with a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system in its top trim. The system also stands out because of its Amazon Alexa compatibility which isn’t available on any other SUV. The fact that this is coming from a brand that didn’t offer Apple CarPlay for the longest time makes this news even better.

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Interior
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The 2021 Venza will be sold in three trims – LE, XLE, Limited.

In the range-topping trim, you get stuff like a digital rearview mirror, a 10-inch head-up display, and a panoramic glass roof with a ‘frost control’ feature that can switch between opaque and transparent.

Toyota Venza Interior Comparison
Toyota Venza Chevrolet Blazer Ford Edge Honda Passport Hyundai Santa Fe Kia Sorento Nissan Murano
Cargo Capacity Behind 2nd Row 36.3 Cubic Feet 30.5 Cubic Feet 39.2 Cubic Feet 41.2 Cubic Feet - 50.5 Cubic Feet, Depending On Rear Seat Position 35.9 Cubic Feet 38 Cubic Feet
Infotainment Screen Size 8 Inches, 12.3 Inches 8 Inches 8 Inches 8 Inches 7 Inches, 8 Inches 7 Inches, 8 Inches
Functionality Apple CarPlay, Amazon  Alexa, Android Auto Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

Looking Forward: Will the Toyota Venza Be a Better Buy?

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Exterior
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Toyota hasn’t announced the pricing for the Venza, but it could start in the ballpark of $35,000 given the additional cost of the batteries, electric motors, and the likes.

But, purely from the competition’s point-of-view, a starting price of $32,000, give or take a thousand bucks, will be the sweet spot. The Venza has a slight edge, thanks to the efficient powertrain and the feature-loaded cabin, but it needs to be in line with the rivals’ pricing so that it isn’t dead on arrival.

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Exterior
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However, it can’t be dangerously close to the RAV4, which starts at $25,850. The Highlander starts at $34,600, but the risk of cannibalization here is less since it is a three-row SUV and will cater to a different set of customers. Also, the Highlander Hybrid starts at $38,200, which is a lot of moolah assuming the Venza will sell for under $35,000.

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Exterior
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Here are the starting prices of the other SUVs in the segment:

Ford Edge - $31,100
Chevy Blazer - $28,800
Hyundai Santa Fe - $26,125
Kia Sorento - $26,900
Honda Passport - $33,110
Nissan Murano - $31,350

Final Thoughts

How Does the 2021 Toyota Venza Compare to the Competition? Exterior
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The automaker said that it is expecting to sell around 50,000 copies annually. If Toyota can achieve it in the first year itself, the Venza will be a runaway success. It has the potential to become the best-seller, but it all boils down to the pricing; and, of course, the real-world driving experience. Not that it matters right now, but in the Venza’s first stint that lasted eight years, Toyota sold over 50,000 examples just once. The 2021 Toyota Venza will reach the dealerships in August 2020.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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