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2021 Toyota Venza vs. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe: Which Is Better?

Crossover SUVs with room for five are everywhere today. Which is better: The 2021 Toyota Venza or the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Quick Facts

  • The 2021 Toyota Venza rides on a new platform that’s part RAV4 and part Highlander.
  • The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a new look for 2021.

2021 Toyota Venza

2021 Toyota VenzaBase Price: $32,470 / Read our 2021 Toyota Venza Review

What we like: Standard hybrid powertrain and all-wheel-drive with both an active and passive safety suite.

What we would change: We’d add a plug-in hybrid and at least one additional powertrain option.

Overview: Toyota discontinued the Venza back in 2015, but the company has decided to bring it back in the form of a new 2-row crossover making it more of an urban crossover than a wagon. It comes with a hybrid-only powertrain and sportier handling with plenty of space for five passengers.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Toyota Venza rides on an all-new platform that blends both the popular RAV4 and the Highlander. It’s got sleek and sporty styling and comes with Toyota’s Hybrid System II, which combines an engine with three electric motors to give it an expected 39 miles per gallon combined.

Features and Tech: Available in three levels, the LE, XLE, and Limited, the Venza offers all-wheel-drive as standard along with Toyota’s suite of safety equipment, including a full-speed range adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assist. Its pre-collision warning system also includes pedestrian detection, even in low-light situations, as well as daytime bicycle detection. At the base, you also get AM/FM sound system with six speakers, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay/Amazon Alexa compatibility. At the top of the line, you get a 12.3-inch touchscreen, 9-speaker JBL premium audio, digital review mirror, 4-way power-adjust passenger seat, SofTex upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, all-around view camera, and a really impressive Star Gaze panoramic roof which is an electrochromic glass sunroof that allows the driver to toggle between transparent and frosted modes.

What does the future hold? The 2021 Venza is new for this year (even though it’s returning after a five-year hiatus), so we don’t expect too many changes outside of trim adjustments in the next few years. Find a 2021 Toyota Venza for sale near you

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Hyundai Santa FeBase Price: Around $28,000 / Read our 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What we like: Powerful gasoline engines and a gas/electric hybrid option, packed with technology and driver assistance.

What we would change: We’d swap out the push-button shift set up.

Overview: A small, highly popular crossover that’s car-based, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a significant refresh for this model year.

What’s new for 2021: The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a new look with a wider grille and new headlights, a redesigned interior with premium materials and technology, and two new gasoline engines, a standard version, and a high-output turbocharged version. There are also hybrid and plug-in options available.

Features and Tech: The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a pretty comprehensive facelift for this model year. The most notable changes are on the outside, where the front and rear get a full refresh. Inside, the infotainment system is based around an 8-inch screen and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. However, there is an available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch-wide navigation screen. A new push-button transmission shifter creates more storage space. Soft-touch material and ambient lighting, as well as new materials, colors, and the addition of available Nappa leather, make the SUV’s interior more luxurious. Hyundai also added more convenience features, such as power-folding rear seats and 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio. In addition to all this, the 2021 Santa Fe gets improved fuel economy throughout its engine range, too—and that includes the hybrid, which gets an estimated 40 miles per gallon combined.

What does the future hold? The Hyundai Santa Fe is still relatively new and was entirely redone in 2019. We don’t expect much in terms of updates outside of trim changes for the next few years. Find a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near you

Venza vs. Santa Fe: Strengths comparison

Toyota Venza Benefits: Packed with safety and technology at the base level.

Hyundai Santa Fe Benefits: A great warranty and several different engine options.

Venza vs. Santa Fe: Which is better?

The Hyundai Santa Fe takes the top tier in this comparison for its stellar warranty and variety of engine options. We’d opt for the Santa Fe Limited because of its 277-horsepower engine, heated and cooled front seats, and added technology and safety equipment. Find a 2021 Toyota Venza for sale or Find a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale

2021 Toyota Venza 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 Hybrid 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 219 hp combined 191 hp @ 6,100 RPM
Torque 163 lb-ft @ 5,200 RPM 182 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission CVT 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 39 mpg (40 city/39 hwy) Est. 25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)
Also Available turbocharged 2.5-liter inline -4, turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4, Hybrid
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5 stars n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.9 inches 108.9 inches
Overall Length 186.6 inches 188.4 inches
Width 73.0 inches 74.8  inches
Height 65.9 inches 66.3 inches
Turning Diameter 36.1 feet 37.5 feet
Headroom, Front 38.6 inches 41.2 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.0 inches 39.0 inches
Legroom, Front 40.9 inches 44.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 37.8 inches 41.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.4 inches 59.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.9 inches 58.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 98.3 cu. ft. n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 28.8 cu. Ft. 36.4 cu. ft.

Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett is a freelance journalist based in L.A. and she's covered automotive topics for a variety of well-known outlets including Fortune, Forbes, CNN and Motor Trend. She's also a television and video host and regularly covers breaking news, social justice, technology, health and wellness, and science in addition to her car coverage. When she's not working on her next project she's... Read More about Abigail Bassett

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