- 2021 Toyota Venza XLE Hybrid with New London, CT in the background

A Car Trip To Connecticut in A Venza - How Was It?

I took a road trip to New London for my birthday weekend. Here is how it went.

My birthday weekend trip was planned like how people throw darts at a map and go where it lands. Except in my case, the plans consisted of planning a trip to an east coast state that the wife and I haven't been to yet. So, I figured Connecticut would be the state to go to. I pulled up Google Maps and searched for battlefields and forts that I would like to visit since I am a history major. Turns out New London has 2 forts and a battlefield; Fort Trumbull and Fort Griswold with Griswold being a gruesome sight of the battle for the Revolutionary War for the colonists. So, we packed our bags, booked our hotel, and Toyota gave me a Venza as a gift for the weekend. So, how was the Venza? How was New London, CT? Let's discuss, shall we?

Exterior Styling

"...mysterious eyes of..."

The styling of the Venza is the simple rounded styling of how Toyota models their vehicles. But where the intriguing aspects and details that are striking can be found in the headlight and front fascia. The chrome bar that runs across the front under the headlights acts like an eye-liner for the mysterious eyes of the headlights. The curves and lines round off the sides and create some edges. They finish off at the back creating a weird edgy slope that resembles an old hatchback.

Interior Design

"...whick took 5..."

As far as interiors go, the Venza is pretty conservative of leather, plastic, bits of metal, and wood. In typical recent Toyota fashion, the Venza looks as nice inside as the seats are comfortable. Believe me, they are comfortable. They offer plenty of support for long drives such as my trip to Connecticut, which took 5 hours instead of 3. As for cabin space, the Venza has plenty of it. The trunk can hold a couple of suitcases and still have room for souvenirs for the family. There is plenty of space where I can sit behind myself comfortably and still have plenty of room to move about.

Pricing and Options

So, how much does this Venza cost? After adding everything up, the total price comes to $40,160. What does that get the potential owner? For safety, the Venza comes with Toyota safety sense with 2.0 pre-collision system, pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, multiple airbags, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking assist, and an overall safety score of "5 Stars" with 2 "4-star" ratings going to the categories of rollover and driver frontal crash. For comfort and convenience, the Venza comes with heated and ventilated front seats that are powered, a heated steering wheel, 9 JBL speakers with a subwoofer, multiple USB ports, an infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity that features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and dual-zone climate control.


"...also makes sense..."

The 2.5L 4-cylinder engine under the hood, mated to the hybrid system creates a combined 219 horsepower through the ECVT transmission to all four wheels. With my driving habits throughout the trip to Connecticut, I was able to achieve 40 miles per gallon. That is crazy for a CSUV. But it also makes sense since the hybrid system helps. Ride comfort is as great as it can be with Toyota's quality. Steering is light. The suspension keeps everything nice and tidy. Braking is good but the weight of the Venza can be felt while pressing the pedal. My only concern is why the Venza comes with a "Sport" driving mode.

New London/Groton/Mystic, CT

"...classic movie..."

As stated at the top, the reason why I chose New London was pretty much on a whim. The city is beautiful with much to offer in and of itself with whatever the locals do as well as food and history. Across the Thames River is the town Groton and further up I-95 and you'll find Mystic, CT where the wife and I ate at the "Mystic Pizza" that was featured in the 80s classic movie that bears the same name. New London/Groton (pronounced Grah-ton, not Grow-ton), there's both Fort Trumbull and Griswold for history buffs. Fishing for those who like to fish off the dock of Fort Trumbull in the Thames River. New London has plenty of places to eat if you're a foodie and a cafe I quite enjoyed going to is Muddy Waters Cafe. Mystic has a couple of rooftop bars and dinner places to eat such as The Mix, Mystic Pizza, and Friar Tuck's Tavern. But the town itself is quaint and peaceful. Especially with the river cutting through it. I recommend visiting the New London area. The best thing about staying outside of New London is that with I-95 as the main road to travel, it only takes 20 minutes max to get to where you're going.

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Comments (5)

  • @tribe New article is up! What do you think?

      1 month ago
  • Great review. I actually kind of dig this type of vehicle. Plenty of room, good comfort, great mileage, Toyota reliability (I've owned 3 Toyota's)....it's the kind of vehicle that you can eat up the miles in comfort. The interior looks good, a bit of Lexus feel inside and out. New London looks incredible.

    Happy Birthday

      1 month ago
  • Happy Birthday!

    I always liked these. They aren't cheap nor did the non-hybrid get good mileage. But it's a fat longroof. I appreciate conservative interiors. I'm a fan of the less is more aesthetic. Keeps brain clutter down.

    Great review as always, Charles! Thanks for reviewing this one. I've always wondered and never knew anyone that had one of these.

      1 month ago