One was formerly more of a wagon, while the other was a rugged off-roader. But times have changed, with customer tastes leading to a completely new 2021 Toyota Venza and a tamer 2021 Chevrolet Blazer. Which is better?
- Toyota Venza returns for 2021 as a hybrid compact crossover.
- 2021 Chevy Blazer can tow a maximum of 4,500 pounds.
- Neither is an ideal choice for off-roading.
2021 Toyota Venza
Base price: $33,645 / Read our 2021 Toyota Venza Review
What we like: Fuel economy; good standard safety features; standard all-wheel drive
What we would change: Single engine choice; no plug-in hybrid; limited cargo space; negligible off-road capability
Overview: The last time Toyota had a Venza as part of its lineup, it was a boxy wagonlike thing, but several years have passed since its demise, and it returns for 2021 as a hybrid-power midsize crossover, sized roughly between the smaller RAV4 and the three-row Highlander. Its hybrid drivetrain comes from the RAV4 hybrid, and in this case powers all four wheels. As with most hybrids, it’s not a thrill ride, but the electric motors provide a good boost of acceleration when necessary. Steering is precise and the brakes are strong. The interior isn’t the most exciting thing, but the seats are comfortable, with 8-way power adjustment and decent space. Cargo space is smaller than average, however, with 28.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats expanding to 55.5 with them folded. Standard features are good, and include Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety features, including lane departure warning and a pre-collision system. Also included are an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Options include a glass roof that can switch from transparent to frosted at the touch of a button.
What’s new for 2021: Everything, as the 2021 Venza represents a brand-new model.
Features and technology: Keeping things simple, the 2021 Toyota Venza comes with a single engine/transmission choice and in three different trim levels. The base LE trim has an 8-way power driver seat, hands-free liftgate, and an AM/FM sound system with six speakers, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Amazon Alexa compatibility. Also included are Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety features, all-wheel drive, and a back-up camera.
Next up is the XLE, which adds a 7.0-inch instrument cluster and a Smart Key system, and on top is the Limited, with heated and ventilated front seats and a 12.3-inch touchscreen. Options across the range include the above-mentioned panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, a 12-speaker 1,200-watt JBL premium audio system, a surround-view camera, and a 10-inch color head-up display.
What does the future hold: As the Venza is brand-new this year, we don’t expect much to change too radically, with possibly some new paint colors and the addition of new safety tech features. Find a 2021 Toyota Venza for sale
2021 Chevrolet Blazer
Base price: $29,995 / Read our 2021 Chevrolet Blazer Review
What we like: Ride and handling; choice of engines, including a V6; sharp design; 4,500-pound towing capacity
What we would change: Active safety systems are not standard; weak base engine; all-wheel drive only available on higher trims
Overview: Lest you mistake it for its boulder-bashing namesake, the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is more suited to the suburbs, with standard front-wheel drive and a ride that focuses more on comfort than sport. Starting under $30,000, the front-wheel-drive Blazer has seating for five and a comfortable interior. Driving manners are pleasant with the base 4-cylinder, and there are even different drive modes that change the response of the throttle, steering, and transmission for a bit more sport. Inside there is good space for rear passengers, with 39.6 inches of legroom and 30.5 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which expands to 64.2 with all seats folded. Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, although some safety features that typically come standard are not available until you reach the higher trims. There’s a V6 that, paired with all-wheel drive, raises the towing capacity to 4,500 pounds, but neither the V6 nor the AWD are available until you reach the higher trims either. Resale values of the Blazer are below average.
What’s new for 2021: As this version of the Blazer has only been around for a couple of years, changes are mild this year, including the addition of a Safety Assist Package starting on the 2LT trim. A Trailering package is also now available for front-wheel-drive V6 models.
Features and technology: There are six trim levels of the 2021 Chevy Blazer, with the base L including front-wheel drive and the four-cylinder engine. It also includes dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, 18-inch wheels, and an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. That’s it. Next up is 1LT, which adds an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, SiriusXM radio, a roadside tool kit, and the availability to add more options. Next is the 2LT, which comes with the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder as well as being the first trim with active safety features, including frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning.
Next is the 3LT, which adds perforated leather seats with heated front seats, a 6-way power-adjustable passenger seat, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and auto-dimming side mirrors. Next up is the sporty RS, with the V6 engine, navigation, black exterior accents, and 20-inch wheels. At the top is the Premier, with an 8-speaker Bose audio system, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.
What does the future hold: Chevy is trying to keep the Blazer’s starting price under $30,000, but we feel that more driver assist and safety features should be standard equipment regardless. We would also like to see all-wheel drive be an option on all trim levels. Find a 2021 Chevrolet Blazer for sale
Venza vs. Blazer: Strengths comparison
Venza Benefits: Fuel economy; standard all-wheel drive; more standard features; Toyota’s reputation for quality.
Chevrolet Blazer Benefits: More power; fun to drive; cargo space.
2021 Toyota Venza vs. 2021 Chevrolet Blazer: Which is better?
Chevrolet is clearly trying to make the 2021 Blazer a value leader, but if you dig deep enough, the more desirable safety features, optional upgrade engines, and even all-wheel drive push the price much higher, erasing a lot of that savings. On the other hand, the 2021 Toyota Venza comes standard with plenty of safety features, competent driving manners, great fuel economy, and Toyota’s reputation for quality. Unless you need the Blazer’s high towing capacity, the better choice here is the Venza.
|2021 Toyota Venza||2021 Chevrolet Blazer|
|Engine||2.5-liter I4 + electric motor||2.5-liter I4|
|Horsepower||219 hp @ 5,700 rpm||193 hp @ 6,300 rpm|
|Torque||n/a||188 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Transmission||Continuously variable||9-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||39 mpg (40 city/37 hwy)||23 mpg (21 city/27 hwy)|
|Also Available||n/a||2.0-liter turbocharged I4; 3.6-liter V6|
|Basic warranty||3 years/36,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||5 years/60,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||Not rated||5 Stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||105.9 inches||112.7 inches|
|Overall Length||186.6 inches||191.4 inches|
|Width||73.0 inches||75.4 inches|
|Height||65.9 inches||67.8 inches|
|Turning Diameter||36.1 feet||38.7 feet|
|Headroom, Front||38.6 inches||39.8 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||39.0 inches||38.6 inches|
|Legroom, Front||40.9 inches||41.0 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||37.8 inches||39.6 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||57.4 inches||59.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||56.9 inches||58.6 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||98.3 cubic feet||107.8 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||28.8 cubic feet||30.5 cubic feet|