Will These Two Toyota Hybrids Get Faster Prime Models?

Electric Vehicles / Comments

We probed Toyota for more info on the all-new Venza and updated Sienna.

Toyota has just revealed two new, all-hybrid models into its lineup. The 2021 Toyota Venza revives a nameplate that has been gone since 2015 while the 2021 Toyota Sienna takes an existing model and updates it with a new look, updated interior, and for the first time ever, a hybrid drivetrain. Both new vehicles are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder mated to two electric motors though the Venza and Sienna have substantially different power outputs.

The Venza, being the smaller of the two, makes do with 219 horsepower while the Sienna gets 243 hp. These are the same outputs found in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid respectively. Monte Kaehr, Chief Engineer of Toyota Motor North America says, "for the overall weight and size of the Venza, that 219 horsepower powertrain does really well. The 0-60 numbers, as well as the fuel economy, are very well balanced. For Sienna, with larger weight and a higher number of passengers, we needed a higher capacity."

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

For reference, Toyota told CarBuzz that the Venza weighs between 3,860 and 3,920 pounds depending on the trim level, making it around 100 pounds heavier than the heaviest RAV4 Hybrid. With a similar size and identical output as the RAV4, this got us wondering if Toyota had a more powerful version in its plans. The plug-in RAV4 Prime is the most powerful variant of the RAV4 with 302 hp on tap. It would make sense then for the Venza, a more premium compact crossover, to also get this drivetrain.

When we asked Toyota about the possibility of a Venza or Sienna Prime, Jack Hollis, Group Vice President and General Manager, said there are "no plans" for Prime variants of either model. Kaehr did confirm that the plug-in hybrid drivetrain was "part of the [TNGA-K] platform," meaning it would be possible for Toyota to build a more powerful Prime version of the Venza or Sienna in the future.

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So, at least for now, there will not be a plug-in hybrid version of the Venza or Sienna. Both seem like interesting options for plug-in models in the future though. The Venza is a more premium interpretation of the RAV4, which has its own Prime variant, and the Sienna directly competes against the Pacifica Hybrid, which is a plug-in model. We anticipate that at least one of these two models will get a Prime version at some point but Toyota likely wants to let its two new products settle into the market place before revealing new drivetrains.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

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