Kurt Verlin
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What to Expect from Toyota’s 2021 Lineup

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2021 Toyota Venza badge
Photo: Toyota

Over the last 2-3 months, Toyota has been steadily revealing all of its 2021 model-year vehicles. It introduced the first-ever RAV4 Prime, a more powerful GR Supra, new safety systems, and an onslaught of special edition vehicles. If you don’t feel like reading a bunch of press releases, this is the page for you. Let’s go over the biggest changes you can expect from Toyota’s 2021 lineup compared to 2020.

Related: Toyota’s new SUV lineup

Android Auto support, finally

Toyota has been behind the curve when it comes to providing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Citing privacy and security issues, the automaker was reluctant to include the technologies even when all of its competitors were already offering them in their base models. Strangely, it was among the first automakers to include Amazon Alexa support. But finally, it began rolling out CarPlay in 2019 with support for retrofits. And now, nearly every 2021 Toyota model will come equipped with Android Auto too. Privacy be damned.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+

While Toyota lagged behind with Android Auto, it’s been a pioneer in the automotive safety sector with its Toyota Safety Sense suite of active and driver-assistive features. And the suite keeps getting better. The automaker began rolling out TSS 2.0 in mid-2018, and now TSS 2.5 as well as TSS 2.5+ are coming on select 2021 models. They include new features as well as improved functionality, such as being better at detecting exterior objects in a wider range of traffic and lighting situations

Related: 2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition strikes a pose
2021 Toyota Sequoia (Lunar Rock) front+side
Photo: Toyota

Special editions…special editions everywhere

Special edition models seem to be a bit of a trend in the industry at the moment, and Toyota is leaning heavily into it. Almost the entirety of Toyota’s 2021 lineup is offered with a special model. Sometimes these are just called “Special Edition” and come with features unique to the model. Rarely, they may even have a unique name, like the Corolla Apex Edition. But more often, Toyota is offering a Nightshade Edition with blacked-out elements. On the automaker’s more rugged vehicles, you can also expect to see a new Lunar Rock exterior color.

Hello Venza — and other new changes

There are a few other new things you can expect from Toyota in 2021. First is the return of the Venza crossover, and it’s looking quite good — a bit like an upscale RAV4 Hybrid. Toyota has also given the Camry and Camry Hybrid a mid-life styling refresh, added available AWD to the Avalon for the first time, boosted the GR Supra’s power, introduced the first-ever RAV4 Prime (a plug-in hybrid model), and finally gave the Sienna a much-needed overhaul.

Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, Toyota hasn’t seemed to slow down its development cycle. If you managed to keep working during the quarantine and saved up your CARES Act money, it might not be a bad time to get your hands on a new ride.