The Toyota Venza, Sienna and RAV4 Prime are new for the 2021 model year.
Nightshade Edition and other appearance packages added to many models.
No word yet on a new-generation Toyota 86, but it may appear in 2021.
As the automotive industry is shifting its focus to fully electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, Toyota has been bucking the trend with no—or very few—EVs in sight. Its president even publicly stated that the EV trend is overhyped and could risk unsettling the economy, especially in Japan. However, it’s been a forerunner in hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, so fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions aren’t unspoken words in the Japanese brand’s dealerships.
With a comprehensive range of cars, crossovers and SUVs, pickup trucks and even a minivan, Toyota has something for everybody who views reliability and value as important purchase factors. Here’s what to expect from the Toyota brand in 2021.
Despite the company’s belief that EVs aren’t the Holy Grail, it is working on a new range of zero-emissions products, which will be called the BZ. However, they’re still a few years away. Toyota should unveil a new solid-state battery sometime in 2021, according to various reports on the web.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna is all-new, and this fourth-generation minivan will be equipped with a hybrid powertrain as standard in North America. It consists of a 2.5L inline-four with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, good for a combined 245 horsepower. All-wheel drive is available as well.
Also all-new is the 2021 Toyota Mirai, which boasts a much more seductive design than the first-generation sedan. Powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain, the rear-wheel-drive Mirai features an output of 182 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, but as with the outgoing sedan, its availability will be limited to areas where a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is already in place. Think California in the U.S., and British Colombia and Quebec in Canada. At least for now.
The Toyota Venza is back for 2021, and this second-generation crossover is going hybrid only this time around. It’s equipped with a 2.5L inline-four engine matched to an electric motor for a combined output of 219 horsepower. The Venza targets two-row midsize crossovers with great fuel efficiency and a distinctive design.
The Toyota RAV4 is another significant model to talk about, as it’s now available in 2021 with a plug-in hybrid variant called the RAV4 Prime. Its powertrain produces a combined 302 horsepower, which means interesting performance in addition to an estimated driving range of up to 42 miles (USA) or 68 kilometres (Canada). Meanwhile, regular and hybrid versions of the RAV4 are still available, which are amongst the most efficient in the compact crossover segment.
Browsing through the brand’s line of utility vehicles, we find the Toyota C-HR which receives a Nightshade Edition for the 2021 model year, in addition to the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite as standard and some paint colour changes.
A crossover using the Toyota Corolla’s bones might appear sometime soon, and could be revealed in 2021. This new subcompact model could fill the gap between the urban C-HR and the compact RAV4.
Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Toyota Highlander adds a new, sporty XSE trim level which is equipped as standard with a 295-horsepower 3.5L V6, a retuned suspension and a more aggressive exterior appearance. Meanwhile, the Highlander Hybrid features a four-cylinder engine mixed with an electric motor for a combined output of 243 hp, with AWD being available as an option.
Unlike the brand’s other utility vehicles, the Toyota 4Runner has no environmentally friendly pretentions whatsoever, but appeals to adventure freaks with excellent off-road capabilities. Its 270-horsepower 4.0L V6 and five-speed automatic transmission are prehistoric, but have proven their bulletproof reliability a long time ago. The 2021 4Runner gets a new Trail edition, while the TRD Pro variant offers a new paint colour called Lunar Rock. An all-new 4Runner might be unveiled sometime in 2021 as a 2022 model.
The Toyota Sequoia has been around for a long time, but like the 4Runner, its reliability and resale value undeniable strong points. It’s equipped as standard with a 381-horsepower 5.7L V8 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, along with a four-wheel drive system that’s optional in the U.S., standard in Canada. A Nightshade Edition has been added for the 2021 model year, and the TRD Pro edition is available with the Lunar Rock paint colour. As with the 4Runner, a new generation of the Sequoia is expected soon, and could be revealed in 2021.
As for the Toyota Land Cruiser, sold in the United States but not in Canada, a third-row seat is now optional in the Heritage Edition. The 2021 model year will be the last for this full-size bruiser, and it’s unclear if a new generation-model will eventually return to North America.
The Toyota Corolla celebrates the 2021 model year with a Nightshade Edition as well as the sporty new Apex Edition package, which will be available on SE and XSE grades of the sedan, equipped with a 169-horsepower, 2.0L inline-four engine. Other variants of the Corolla sedan are equipped with a 139-hp 1.8L four, or a 121-horsepower hybrid system. The 2021 model year also adds automatic stop-start, Android Auto integration and rear side airbags, along with available blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert on lower trim levels. Meanwhile, a Special Edition variant of the Corolla Hatchback is available in limited quantities, boasting a body kit and Supersonic Red paint.
The midsize Toyota Camry receives the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ suite along with a XSE Hybrid trim, new front-end styling, new seven- and nine-inch infotainment displays, reworked dash and console trim and new paint colours. The Camry is yet again available with a 2.5L inline-four, a 3.5L V6 and a hybrid powertrain, while AWD with the conventional four-cylinder engine has been added as an option for the 2020 model year.
Positioned above the Camry is the full-size Toyota Avalon, now available with AWD combined with a 205-horsepower 2.5L four-cylinder engine. The Avalon keeps its 301-horsepower 3.5L V6 in FWD trims, while a 215-hp hybrid powertrain is on offer in the U.S., but not in Canada. Other changes for 2021 include an XSE Nightshade Edition and a lithium-ion battery pack instead of Ni-MH (USA only) along with Android Auto integration and USB-C charging ports.
The popular Toyota Prius hybrid confusingly received a 2020 Edition trim for the 2021 model year in the U.S. which went on sale in the summer of 2020, marking the nameplate’s 20th anniversary. Otherwise, the Prius gets an upgrade to the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, along with Android Auto integration in most trim levels. The Toyota Prius Prime also gets TSS 2.0 and Android Auto for the new model year.
Early in 2020, the automaker announced the 2021 Toyota Supra with a new 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0L inline-four, while the turbo 3.0L six received a output bump to 382 hp. A new A91 Edition with exclusive colour and design features was also added, and an eight-inch touchscreen is now standard. There are rumours that a manual gearbox might be added to the Supra, but Toyota hasn’t confirmed that yet.
As for the Toyota 86, there is no 2021 model yet, and there might not be one. The all-new 2022 Subaru BRZ has recently been revealed—which is a kissing cousin to the 86—meaning a new generation of Toyota’s small sports car may soon be unveiled as well. The new BRZ packs a 228-horsepower, turbo 2.4L engine.
The Toyota Tacoma is getting long in the tooth, and for the 2021 model year, it receives a Trail edition, Lunar Rock paint for the TRD Pro variant and a Nightshade Edition, too. As for the Toyota Tundra, also quite ancient, it receives similar Trail and Nightshade Editions to the Tacoma’s along with the Lunar Rock paint for the TRD Pro, and all variants are now equipped as standard with the 381-horsepower 5.7L V8 and a tow hitch receiver.