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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Toyota Venza XLE

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Hybrid
 overall score
Category Ranking: 19

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $36,000
Price as Tested: $38,050

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 14.5
EPA City mpg40
EPA Highway mpg37
EPA Combined mpg39
with specific headlights

Advanced Safety Features

  • Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
  • Advanced Headlights [S]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [S]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [S]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [S]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [S]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

From 2009 to 2015, the Toyota Venza was a station wagon - like vehicle that never generated a lot of excitement from the car-buying public. In 2021, Toyota reprised the name and slapped it on a handsome vehicle that looks much more like a crossover than a wagon. Perhaps the coolest things about the new Venza, apart from its improved aesthetics, are its hybrid-only drivetrain and standard all-wheel drive. The drivetrain consists of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor (219 hp total) that send power to the front wheels; a rear motor provides power to the back wheels when needed. It’s unfortunate that the Venza’s driving experience doesn’t match its looks. It’s slow off the line, with a noisy powertrain and an unsettled ride. Inside, space for passengers and cargo is a bit tight, compromised by the Venza’s sleek exterior design. The HVAC controls are oddly placed, and, along with the infotainment controls, are complicated and unintuitive to use. On the upside, the Venza’s fuel economy is excellent: an EPA-estimated 39 mpg in combined driving. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 - a strong package of driver-assistance tech - and LED headlights are standard equipment.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Excellent fuel economyratings
  • Standard AWD
  • Stylish exterior design

Weak Points

  • Unimpressive drivingdynamics
  • Hard-to-use infotainmentand HVAC touch screen
  • Large blind spots

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3860.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 186.6 / 73.0 / 65.9
Wheelbase (in): 105.9
Number of air bags: 9
Warranty (months/miles): 36/36,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus
Front and rear tire size: 225/55 R19
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: LED
Transmission type: Hybrid drive
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 2.5L 4-Cyl. Dynamic Force
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5700
Electric motor horsepower: 118
Combined system horsepower: 219

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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