Toyota Venza – All New Venza is 70% Car & 30% SUV
by Kelly Foss
In writing about some of the new vehicles being introduced today, they are often described more by what they “aren’t” rather by than what they “are”. Take the new Toyota Venza for example. It’s not a sedan, it’s not a wagon, it’s not a minivan, it’s not an SUV, it’s a…? The people at Toyota bravely describe it as a crossover vehicle that is 70% sedan and 30% SUV. Regardless of what it’s called, I found the vehicle to be pretty compelling.
The Venza is a combination of the Camry midsize sedan and the Highlander CUV in the Toyota lineup. Think of it as a taller sedan with upscale features and a utility cargo area with a hatch. Yah, that’s it.
The Venza comes in 4 iterations. These are the 4 cylinder front and all wheel drive, and the V6 front and all wheel drive models. The V6 is the very popular 3.5 liter unit found in many Toyota vehicles but the 2.7 is a totally new and efficient engine. It produces 182 horsepower and is connected to a 6 speed automatic transmission. This large 4 has more than enough horsepower to move the 3,700 pound Venza down the road handily but can also get you about 30 miles per gallon in a real-world freeway cruise. The front wheel drive drives very well and the on-demand all wheel drive could be useful if you live in areas with bad winter weather and/or mountains. You can also get a tow package which offers a 3,500 pound tow capacity.
This car is a roomy 5 passenger machine with 34 cubic feet of storage behind the seats and over 108 cubic feet in max cargo mode! The interior is very comfortable with elevated seating and lots of head room. It’s a breeze to get in and out of. The interior trim is upscale yet not luxurious. The instrument panel is very attractive and the gear shifter is on the dash board leaving the console area between the front seats unobstructed. You can get a panorama sunroof system, in-dash navigation with an upgraded audio, rear seat DVD entertainment and you can even change the font size on the in-dash information screen which also is the display for the backup camera. This is a quiet vehicle but with an open cargo area in the back, don’t expect a library-silent ride. Also, where is the cooled/ventilated seat option that’s offered on the Avalon? The half of the country that lives in a warm climate wants this option as much as the other half that live a cold climate wants heated seat option.
The Venza is endowed with all of Toyotas considerable safety systems. These include all the regular air bags plus knee bags for the driver, stability control, traction control, hill start assist etc.
The Venza should do well. It gives the sedan crowd the driving experience they are used to with a large dose of utility, good fuel economy and a starting price of about $26,000.