Midsize SUVs want to be your go-to segment.
Offerings vary quite a bit from one carmaker to another but there’s only one Toyota Venza.
These two SUVs have a fair amount in common but there’s one big difference.
Ford long held a considerable advantage over nearly all other automakers – they were among the first to truly recognize the potential of added capability, interior room, and that all-important raised driving. Their Explorer, introduced some 30 years ago, set just about all the standard.
The experience gained from it spawned numerous other models including the less truck-like Edge back in 2007. It was quickly adopted by those who valued comfort and safety over towing and hauling. Now in its second generation since 2015, the Edge has further evolved into a “reasonable” sedan alternative, or crossover. In fact, with the passing of the Fusion, and for those looking for more substance than what is offered with the Escape, have no other option unless jumping into the larger Explorer.
Over at Toyota, they too have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to SUVs. Although they still build the rugged Land Cruiser, they’ve also gained know-how from Lexus which surely served Toyota when they introduced the first Venza back in 2009. At the time, and up to four years ago, the market wasn’t quite ready for it although current owners apparently swear by them. Lucky for them, Toyota’s just unveiled a new RAV4 hybrid based Venza that is sure to fulfill Venza lovers’ desires.
The midsize two-row SUV segment is loaded with alternatives such as the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Honda Passport, Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Murano, and for this comparison test, we’ll pit the 2020 Ford Edge against the all-new 2021 Toyota Venza.
As we’ve not yet driven the new Venza, we’ll compare known specifications with the Edge.
What is the pricing and when will they be available?
The 2021 Toyota Venza should land in August. Pricing has not yet been shared; we should get the information in late June or so. We can speculate however that the price for the base LE trim will hover around the low $40,000 mark. The mid-range XLE should be priced in the mid and upper $40,000s while the top-line Limited may reach near $55,000.
The 2020 Ford Edge can be purchased at this very moment and starts at $36,299 for the base SE AWD version. A new ST-Line model has just been added and retails for $40,799. The $43,699 Titanium sits between it and the actual Edge ST which goes for $49,399.
Which Has The More efficient Powertrain?
In this section, and compared to any other midsize SUV, the 2021 Toyota Venza will take the honors for a while yet. It is only available with a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine combined with three electric motors for a total system output of 219-horsepower. Also included as standard is Toyota’s Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive. The system features a separate non-mechanically connected rear-mounted electric motor that powers the rear wheels when required. Here’s the real selling point: the combined average fuel economy rating should be of 5.9L/100km, or roughly 40 mpg, for the LE trim.
As for the 2020 Ford Edge, with the exception of the Edge ST with its 335-horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre V6, all versions get the turbocharged 250-horsepower 2.0-litre 4-cylinder with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard AWD for the SE and Titanium, optional with the SEL and ST-Line. In this SUV’s case, the combined average fuel economy is rated at 10L/100km. If performance is key, then the Edge ST crushes the Venza on all counts.
Towing capacity can be an important consideration when purchasing an SUV. The 2.0T AWD Ford Edge will tow up to 3,500 lbs. The Venza can tow up to 1,750 lbs as it shares the RAV4 Hybrid’s powertrain and TNGA platform.
What About Style And Space?
Designers for both the Ford Edge and Toyota Venza have opted for a more elegant less SUV-like style for the vehicles.
Much like the Chevy Blazer, the Ford Edge’s best side comes out in upper trims. Specifically, the ST and SL-Line versions are distinct and honestly attractive. The basic SE, SEL, and Titanium are ordinary, much like the Escape, from most angles – the only exception being the rear thanks to the black trim between the taillights.
The Ford Edge is far more spacious than its outer dimensions suggest. There’s a fair amount of room in the second row and the trunk can hold up to 1,110 litres behind the second row.
The Toyota Venza defines itself visually with numerous highlights such as the front grille, rear taillight treatment, and overall poise that reminds us of Lexus. Now, we’re not saying it’s a striking SUV but it is different.
As for interior space and volume, data for the Venza is limited. The boot will hold up to 1.027 litres of gear and the rear bench legroom for adults is on the narrow side.
Which is better equipped?
The 2020 Ford Edge SEL AWD is closest in price and equipment to what we think will be the Venza LE’s price.
For just over $40,000, this Edge is loaded with an 8-inch touchscreen with SYNC 3 including Waze integration, two 4.2-inch colour instrument displays, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM, heated front seats (10-way power driver and 6-way power passenger), Ford Co-Pilot360 (Pre-Collision System Vehicle with emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and more), a power liftgate, remote start and more.
The base 2021 Toyota Venza LE will feature an 8-inch touchscreen, a 4.2-inch colour instrument display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM, an 8-way power driver seat, Toyota’s Safety Sense (TSS 2.0) which hosts technologies such as Pre-Collision System Vehicle and Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and more. Details here remain limited for the time being.
Both SUVs gain numerous accessories further up the trim ladder however the Venza being a more recent product, it can be equipped with larger screens, a heads-up display and more.
How important are these vehicles for their respective brands?
Ford has put itself in a semi-precarious position now that the only “car” they sell is the Mustang – which will be offered as an SUV soon… Because of this, all volume must come from the SUVs, and, as noted, the Edge “replaces” the Fusion. The Edge is one of the best-selling SUVs in its segment but that may change with the many new additions. What’s more, the Escape, also a best-seller, happens to be close in price to the outgoing Fusion and so will likely pick up where the sedan left off.
In this respect, the Ford Edge is extremely important to the Blue Oval if mostly as the logical replacement for most previous Ford sedans. Failing that, buyers will end up in an Escape.
As for the Venza, we are considering it as a niche 2-row SUV given its powertrain, styling, and expected $40k+ starting price. Toyota is probably not expecting huge volume, at least we assume, but if it does happen, it will as a result of its overall efficiency. Here as well, the Venza, which is based on the RAV4, will live in the smaller SUV’s shadow – it’ll be the other SUV on the showroom floor.
Our Thoughts On The 2021 Toyota Venza and 2020 Ford Edge
All the latest SUVs in this segment, namely the Honda Passport, Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, and Chevrolet Blazer, are really good offerings. While we can’t anything especially wrong with the Edge other than its spotty reliability record, and uninspired styling. For this reason, we’d select any one of the other three vehicles with a preference for the Honda.
Now, if we had to select between the two, we’d once more lean towards the 2021 Toyota Venza if mostly for its unmatched efficiency. Toyota’s done hybrid technology for 25 years and know a thing or two about making it work.