By KBB.com Editors
Call it a crossover or even a Camry wagon, but just don't call it nothing new. The 2010 Toyota Venza sits squarely in-between the automaker's best-selling Camry Sedan and Highlander SUV, borrowing elements from both. The result is a vehicle that has plenty of room for five, is easy to get in and out of, has respectable fuel economy and possesses the ground clearance of a much taller vehicle. While the Venza isn't the first - nor will it be the last - car to blur the lines between segments, it certainly offers a well-rounded package at a great price that would suit most people's needs. In a growing and increasingly popular vehicle landscape that includes the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7, the Venza shines with a healthy roster of standard equipment, a competitive price, and Toyota's reputation for quality and stellar resale value.
If you're a fan of the Camry but want a more commanding view of the road, the Venza deserves your attention. Perhaps even more importantly, the low step- and load-in heights help to make getting people and stuff in and out of the car a more pleasant – and back-friendly – experience.
Although the Toyota Venza is quite spacious, it only offers two rows of seats. Those needing the added versatility of a three-row vehicle might be more interested in the Chevy Traverse, Hyundai Veracruz, Honda Pilot or Mazda CX-9.
For 2010, the Venza gains as standard equipment a USB port with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth for hands-free calling.
Driving Impressions On city and highway roads, the Venza performed much as we expected it to: not quite sedan soft, but not quite SUV harsh, either. The attention-getting 19- and 20-inch wheels,...as expected, add some noticeable road feel and road noise, but overall the vehicle is a smooth operator, and the new in-line 4 traversed some rather steep hills without too much gear searching or audible strain. Although some sportier driving made it apparent that the Venza is not meant to be thrown around curves, we think that most buyers will be perfectly pleased with the way theirs handles around-town jaunts. Driving dynamics aside, we spent some time in both rows of seats and found them all to be comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate a vehicle full of adults or older children, so much so that we'd never object to spending a long road trip in the second row.
Integrated Sliding Center Console
This unit is comprised of a set of cupholders and a padded arm rest that slide independent of each other, opening up 14.7 liters worth of storage space. This space also hides the auxiliary input jack cable, which can be left in the console or fed into an mp3/phone holder situated in the center stack.
Easy Step-in Height
For those who have more difficulty than most getting in and out of a vehicle, having a low step-in height certainly makes things look a little more gracious.
Spacious is certainly the word that comes to mind when thinking about the Venza's interior. With only two rows of seating, Toyota was able to offer an impressive 70.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. Up front, a sliding center console makes storing things a breeze; simply move the sliding cupholders back, and access to a large storage space that can accommodate a purse or several portable electronics opens up. An auxiliary input jack also lives in this space, and the cord for it can be snaked up to feed into an mp3/phone holder right on the center stack for easy access.Exterior
While there are glimpses here and there of the Camry-esque styling that so many Americans love, the 2010 Toyota Venza is definitely more dramatic in its styling. The large, wraparound grille and standard 19- or 20-inch wheels give the vehicle a solid, bold look, while the 8.1-inch ground clearance (the same as on the Highlander) gives drivers a little more confidence on the occasional unkempt road. Despite the Venza's high seating position, it has a low step-in height, making it easier to maneuver people and stuff in and out of the vehicle, a plus for those who often take more than themselves for a trip around town.
The 2010 Toyota Venza is offered in one well-equipped trim. Inside, standard equipment worth mentioning includes audio, climate and cruise controls on the steering wheel, a 3.5-inch multi-function display, dual zone automatic climate control, iPod connectivity, tonneau cover, Bluetooth, auxiliary input jack, and six-disc in-dash CD changer with integrated satellite radio and six speakers. Outside, integrated fog lights, a chrome exhaust, color-keyed spoiler and 19-inch (20-inch on the V6) wheels can be seen. To keep all occupants safe and sound, seven airbags, stability/traction control and anti-lock brakes are standard fare.
The Venza's numerous options are available regardless of engine choice or drive configuration. While most are packaged together, the most noteworthy include leather seating surfaces, push button start, backup camera, HID headlamps with Automatic High Beams and a power hatch. Those who like to feel the sun on their shoulders can opt for the panoramic moonroof, while those who enjoy listening to music may enjoy the JBL Synthesis surround sound system with six-disc in-dash CD changer, Bluetooth streaming audio capability, satellite radio and 13 speakers. This system is also available with a voice-activated touch-screen DVD nav system, although only with a four-disc CD changer.
Powering the Venza is either an all-new 182-hp 2.7-liter in-line four cylinder or a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6, also used in the Camry and Highlander. Both engines come with standard six-speed automatic transmissions that offer uphill/downhill shift logic to minimize gear hunting. Those who do more highway driving should opt for the in-line 4; rated at 29 mpg in FWD guise, this engine is the more financially sensible choice. However, if having AWD would better suit your commute and weather needs, you'll be happy to know that choosing this system will only penalize you by one mpg with either powertrain choice.
2.7-liter in-line 4
182 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
182 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 (FWD), 20/28 (AWD)
268 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
246 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/22 (FWD), 18/21 (AWD)
By Venza Lover (WI) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space and Cupholders"
Cons: "Cloth seats are hard to keep clean"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Everyone loves this car! I am regularly carpooling with 5 adults and the Venza is complimented over and over for the space and ride. Thank you for inventing this wonderful vehicle!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By SoonerFan (OK) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives great. Good gas mileage. Lotsa leg room."
Cons: "Rides rougher than other cars in this category."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love the interior of this car. It has lots of leg room for all passengers - even in the back seat. It has wonderful features, lots of pep and our mileage averages about 23 mpg. Our only complaint is that the ride is not as smooth as other cars in this category. The navi is great, but it's positioned so that it has a glare when backing up - which makes the backup camera hard to use."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By McPiggy (OK) on Monday, April 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent reliability"
Cons: "I haven't found any yet!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I am still loving my Venza after almost 4 years on the road. I am thinking of a newer model, but I have had such a great experience with this one, it almost seems like I would be betraying the one I have! I was one off the very first Venza owners in my area and when mine was new, people stared everywhere I went. I would leave stores only to find small groups of total strangers circling my bronze beauty in the parking lot. People were not shy in asking if I liked it, or if they could see the interior, and I was happy to talk about it and show it off. Now, I see Venzas all over my town and like to think that I helped set the trend for the Venza frenzy in my area. This is hands down the best vehicle, in all categories, that I have eveer owned. And even better...mine is 4 years old and its current value is only 2000 less than what I paid for it. WOW, you should test drive a Venza now!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Cherry Pie (MO) on Monday, March 25, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Bought the new 2013 Venza - My approximate mileage is 77,000
Pros: "Sexy, fun to drive, Classy, holds its value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely loved my 2009 Venza. I put 77,000 miles on it in 4 years still looks new inside and out. I bought the top of the line 6 cyl AWD Blizzard White. The only thing this car didn't have was seat memory for different drivers.Lots of room and lots of class. I went in for an oil change and ended up with the new 2013 Blizzrd white again!!! Limited addition I will pick it up Wednesday and can't wait to drive it home. This car never missed a beat in all the snow the midwest had this year. I averaged about 26 miles per gallon which is not too bad for a car this size. The only reason I traded was because i drive a lot and after 90,000 miles cars loose value, so I needed to make a choice to keep it or trade while it was still worth a good amount. We were able to trade for a great price so I will start a new love affair with the next one. I highly recommend this vehicle for young and old. It is an SUV but it drives like a car. This one has the seat memory too!!! So this car really has it all now! Classy!!!!!"
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Ronn (VA) on Sunday, March 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, the JBL system rocks ! smooth ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Love my new Venza. This makes my 8th Toyota, and I just traded the 2008 Highlander Limited for this crossover. While I loved the Highlander, it was a little big, and I wanted something more sporty looking. The Venza is sharp looking....I have the Golden Umber Mica color which is really beautiful on this car. I have had many comments on the color already ! While some have complained about the road noise and bumpy ride, I can tell you that just isn't so. The ride is smooth and very quiet.....just as quiet as the Highlander...easier to drive ! Get one and enjoy !"
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By BigD (NY) on Thursday, March 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "good looking, reliable, fun to drive"
Cons: "mpg, wind noise, harsh ride, dash fit/finish,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"After almost 5,000 miles, I have to agree that most of the attributes that are pointed out in the cosumer reviews both good and bad are accurate: On the plus side, you get a great looking vehicle that's generally well made; doors shut with a satisfying whump, sheet metal seams are tight, nice features, like power lift gate, homelink, memory seats back up camera and nav. The ride on relatively smooth roads is rock solid and the V-6 and 6 speed transmission are well matched and provide ample power. The Venza is not promoted as a sport wagon but it's quick and nimble and actually kind of fun to drive. The seats are comfortable and the back seat is extremely roomy. Rear doors open about as wide as I've seen any rear doors open. If you don't want to be driving the same car everyone else is driving Venza sightings while not rare are far less frequent that Highlanders, Rav4's, 4runners or even FJ Cruisers. On the negative side, the power seats need more adjustabilty, down and back. The power slider on the passenger side only moves back and forth; unacceptable in a car with a $36K MSRP. Turn signals do not have the lane change feature that allows you to hit it once for a three or so flashes; annoying. More annoying is that the directionals won't click off after the more gradual turn on to an entry or exit ramp. That coupled with the fact that the click sound is soft and dead, easily masked by music or road noise, added with the fact that I hold the wheel at a point that blocks my view of the flasher means that I frequently find myself driving for extended distances with my turn signal on! There's too much wind noise from the mirrors. In some cross winds I find myself checking windows even still, thinking one has to be open a bit. There's also a fair amount of road noise and what really shocked me was the first time I drove over recently salted roads. The salt thrown up from the rear tires and hitting the wheel wells sounded like gravel shaken inside an empty coffee can. While it handles surprisingly well the 20" tires make for a jarring ride over rough pavement; very trucklike. The rear camera is a nice idea but clouds and blurs from moisture running down the lift gate and there's no rear sensors. And then there's the dashboard. I didn't inspect it closely (I guess i presumed certainly things are a given) as the overall look is nice, clean and functional if not elegant. The fit is simply substandard. The seams, and there are lots of them, around the vents and speaker grills are uneven and gapped. The dash is a soft touch material but with a wierd grainy texture like you might find in vinyl siding. And the biggest disappointment to date is the mileage. Granted I haven't done a ton of highway driving but I'm averaging less than 18 mpg: had I known I wouldn't have considered the Venza. The 2013 Venza received a mild cosmetic makeover; the first since introduced in 2009. If Toyota is interested in keeping this model in the lineup they need to go much deeper with the modifications. As it stands, the Venza is fast, relativley fun, good looking and practical but the cons are considerable, so much so that if given a chance, I am not sure I would buy it again."
16 people out of 20 found this review helpful