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Why Toyota Wants Sienna, Venza as Hybrid-Only

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Toyota just announced the upcoming release of two new hybrid models: the returning Venza crossover and a redesigned Sienna minivan. Both will only be offered with hybrid powertrains, which somehow breaks tradition for the brand.

According to Toyota’s Executive Vice President of Sales Bob Carter, part of the reason the company decided to offer the two models exclusively in hybrid form was the reaction of customers in switching from the standard RAV4 to the RAV4 hybrid.

In 2019, Toyota launched the RAV4 hybrid, which outsold the popular Toyota Prius by 23,000 units. Carter said the gas-electric RAV4 drew positive reactions from customers because of the instantaneous torque offered by electric motors. He also noted that buyers prefer vehicles with better mpg ratings and range.

This led to the decision of the 2021 Venza and Sienna being offered as hybrid-only models.

Front shot of 2021 Toyota Venza
The Venza is arriving first in August and is expected to carry a starting price of $35,000 for an entry-level trim. | Source: Toyota

The two vehicles share the same TNGA platform with the RAV4 and several other models in the lineup. Both are also powered by the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine , although the Venza has three electric motors while the Sienna only has two.

In Venza’s case, one of its electric motors is placed on the rear axle, which allows the layout to have more space for the battery. It has a 40 mpg combined rating, which is also the same as the RAV4 hybrid.

The Sienna, meanwhile, veers away from naturally aspirated V-6 engines that powered its previous generations. It has a standard front-wheel-drive setup but will also be offered with an optional all-wheel-drive model with an additional electric motor placed on the rear axle like the Venza. Sienna gets a combined fuel economy of 33 mpg.

The Venza is arriving first in August and is expected to carry a starting price of $35,000 for an entry-level trim. On the other hand, the Sienna is due to arrive by the end of 2020 and is rumored to cost just above $30,000

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