This is the nicest, most modern new Toyota cabin in a long time, but is it just a fancier RAV4 Hybrid? Fact is they do share the new Toyota platform like several other of their sedans and crossovers. This new Venza feels like a completely different vehicle; much more luxurious and upscale. And I’m really digging this Limited grade. With a starting price of $33,645 including delivery, the Venza slots in between the RAV4 and the Highlander occupying the space of a quasi-midsize 5-seater but in reality its interior dimensions are more compact. Going into my test week I can’t say I was really expecting too much – Toyota has been the target of my criticism of late – which is why I’m so surprised at how well they’ve executed the Venza’s return. It’s as smartly crafted and perfectly positioned as any model in their vast lineup.
TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID PLATINUM AWD QUICK TAKES. Toyota made “hybrid” synonymous with high fuel efficiency more than 20 years ago. Later, Toyota introduced the first hybrid SUV in its class, the 2006 Highlander. Leave it to Toyota to again raise the bar for hybrid SUV functionality by making the 2020 model the most fuel-efficient Highlander Hybrid ever. The bottom line is an eye opener for the efficiency-minded: 243 total system horsepower and up to a manufacturer-estimated 36 combined MPG. The latter is a 24-percent improvement over the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid’s 29 combined MPG. Yet, Highlander Hybrid still delivers the everyday acceleration, power and responsiveness that family buyers expect. In another Highlander first, the hybrid is now available in either 2WD or AWD, further expanding hybrid technology to a new group of buyers.
LEXUS RX 350 L 2020 QUICK TAKES. The pioneer of the luxury crossover segment is receiving an update – inside and out – for the 2020 model year. The new 2020 Lexus RX and RXL three row enhance both their elegance and captivating appeal through improved driving dynamics, an updated Lexus Multimedia System, additional standard safety features and elevated styling that bring a new sophistication to the RX lineup.
All 2020 Lexus RX models feature updated exterior styling that includes revised front and rear fascias and a new standard 18” wheel design. Triple-beam LED headlamps have also been redesigned as an option. Inside, an available 12.3-inch touchscreen paired with the remote touch pad supports added dynamic voice and navigation functionality. The updated Lexus Multimedia System now includes advanced in-dash technology to simplify a guest’s life, such as Apple CarPlay® integration for your iPhone.
HONDA CR-V HYBRID TESTDRIVENOW QUICK TAKES.
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid is distinguished from the rest of the CR-V lineup by unique front and rear styling cues that include Hybrid badging on the grille, front fenders, and tailgate; hybrid-exclusive 5-lamp LED fog lights; and a unique rear bumper design. Like the rest of the 2020 CR-V lineup, the 2020 CR-V Hybrid benefits from new headlight designs, new alloy wheel designs for EX and EX-L trims, and new 19-inch wheels on Touring trims.
Inside, the CR-V Hybrid offers the same spacious and tech-savvy cabin as the non-hybrid, including its full-flat folding and 60/40-split second-row seat. Unique to CR-V Hybrid versus its non-hybrid counterpart are three buttons to the right of the push-button gear selector that let the driver select between Sport, EV and ECON modes to help maximize power or fuel efficiency. CR-V Hybrid’s digital gauge cluster also offers functions distinct from the non-hybrid, such as a power-flow meter.
The new CR-V Hybrid comes standard with Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System™, and a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price starting at $27,750 (excluding destination and handling charges).
The Real Time All-Wheel Drive with Intelligent Control System gives buyers additional inclement-weather driving confidence. Like its gasoline-only counterpart,
CR-V Hybrid also comes standard with the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver assistive technologies, automatic climate control, and automatic high beams. The CR-V Hybrid also comes with additional standard features that include LED headlights, Smart Entry and Pushbutton Start, and a cargo cover.
Honda’s refresh of the Accord has it looking better than ever at a very affordable price point. Hybrid makes for a very accommodating family car. The hybrid system itself is excellent though providing more pure EV driving, even at speed, than expected with nearly seamless transitions between EV, Hybrid and Engine drive. In Sport, it’s also a fun car to drive. That prowess is best on display in Sport mode which heightens the hybrid’s performance characteristics and imbues this car with sports sedan attitude. So for those who want an added dose of sportiness and a little bling to go with their Hybrid, it’s worth a test drive.