By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
Slotting between Toyota's best selling Camry Sedan and its Highlander SUV, the 2011 Toyota Venza is part crossover, part wagon and part family sedan. Unlike many compact crossovers, the Venza's wide body creates a spacious interior with plenty of room for five passengers and their gear. Long rear doors make for hassle free entry and exits (not to mention securing in place those bulky child safety seats) and the Venza's impressive ground clearance and available all-wheel drive helps it traverse deep snow with ease. Because it blurs the line between wagon and SUV, the Venza can be cross shopped against a number of competitors including the Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-7 and Subaru Outback. Its choice of four or six-cylinder engines, along with a healthy roster of available equipment, give the Venza a leg up on many challengers, as does Toyota's reputation for quality and stellar resale values.
If you're a fan of vehicles that offer a commanding view of the road, but no fan of high step-in and loading heights, the Venza will sufficiently satisfy your needs. With the interior quality and detail of the most lavish Camry, the Venza will also satisfy your need for comfort and luxury.
Outside of a simplified option package list, there are no major changes for the 2011 Toyota Venza.
Driving Impressions Not quite sedan soft, but not quite SUV harsh, either, the Venza performed much as we expected on both city and highway roads. Although most felt the Venza to be...a smooth operator, some of our editors did feel the stylish 19- and 20-inch wheel/tire combo creates some noticeable road noise and telegraphs road imperfections to the passenger compartment. While the 2.7-liter in-line four easily tackled some rather steep hills without too much gear searching or audible strain, the more robust V6 is definitely the engine you'll want. During some sportier driving moments, the Venza's chassis made it apparent this is not a vehicle meant to be driven aggressively around curves. Still, we think that most buyers will be perfectly pleased with the way the Venza handles around-town jaunts. As for long term comfort, our staff found both rows of seats to be comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate a vehicle full of adults or older children, so much so that no one riding in the second row ever complained after a long road trip.
Integrated Sliding Center Console
Comprised of a set of cup holders and a padded arm rest that slides independently of each other, the center console provides 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.
Power Rear Liftgate
Helpful for anyone who's ever found themselves alone in the rain with two arms full of groceries, the power liftgate can be operated with a simple push of a key fob mounted button.
The Venza is as big inside as it appears outside. Seating is offered in either a breathable soft cloth or available leather, the latter heated, while the driver is treated to an eight-way power adjustable seat with power lumbar support. Because there is no third-row seat, the Venza offers an impressive 70.1 cubic-feet of cargo space. Head, hip, leg and shoulder room are all excellent, and the Venza's sliding center console can accommodate all manner of gear, from a large purse to a plethora of portable electronics. A set of sliding cup holders allow easy access to the console, which also houses an auxiliary audio input jack and a small pass-through allowing a cord to attach to your device when the lid is closed.Exterior
Despite glimpses of Camry styling peppered all about the Venza's exterior, the overall design is one of the most daring to come from Toyota in a decade. The Venza's standard 19- or 20-inch wheels, wide wrap-around grille and stunning paint color options give the vehicle a bold, solid presence, while its impressive 8.1-inch ground clearance makes traversing unruly surface a bit more reassuring. Contrary to the Venza's imposing height, the vehicle's low step-in height makes it decidedly easier to load in kids, groceries or whatever you need to place inside the vehicle, another plus over some crossover SUVs.
The 2011 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 and traction control, and anti-lock brakes are standard fare.
Unlike some competitors that bundle high-end options only with their V6 models, the Venza's numerous options are available regardless of engine choice or drive configuration. The most noteworthy packages include leather seating surfaces, push button start, backup camera, HID headlamps with Automatic High Beams and a power open/close hatch. 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, while those who like to feel the sun on their shoulders can opt for the panoramic moonroof. Also available is a voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, although it only offers a four-disc CD changer.
Powering the Venza is either a 182-hp 2.7-liter in-line four cylinder or a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. 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 27 mpg in FWD guise, this engine is the more financially sensible choice. However, if having AWD or the need to tow 3,500 pounds is a priority, 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: 21/27 (FWD), 20/25 (AWD)
268 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
246 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (FWD), 18/25 (AWD)
By Bjhayer on Friday, March 20, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, fun, comfortable"
Cons: "Sound system at highway speeds"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great ride, powerful to tow two motorcycle trailer and still get great gas mileage (23 mpg highway). Audio is a little weak at highway speed: have to crank it up a little more. Had to replace steering box per Dealer mechanic (under warranty at $3500). Seems like brakes go quickly at 5cm. Had problems with Toyota remote start: took 4 remote starter systems before getting it right. Settled on a Viper remote with the cell phone app to remote start anywhere. Was able to get lifetime Sirius/XM service for the radio. I want to pull the radio if I sell the car-the service is almost double now! Wife loves this car and if/when we are ready, she wants another one."
By luv on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives like a sedan floating on a cloud!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely love this car! I originally was looking for an SUV as I have 2 teenage sons that are both over six feet tall and I needed a lot of leg room. There were not any SUV's that could come close to the leg room that this vehicle has...incredible! I was first drawn to this car because I absolutely love the look of it, the high profile tires is one of the things that caught my eye and gives it a "sexy" look. There is only 1 reason that I gave the interior/exterior 9 out of 10 and that is because some parts of the interior, around the dash are a little to plastic for me. However I have had no issues with them. I only wish they were made a little sturdier. But I couldnt be happier with this purchase!"
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Annandale on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cool looks, good height, decent instrumentation"
Cons: "Noisy, rough and stiff ride, poor quality fabric"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I bought this vehicle brand new 2009 4 cyclinder when it just came out to replace my 2001 Highlander. My wife was the primary driver, however I have been the main driver for the past 2 years. I travel 66 miles round trip highway and surface streets in my daily commute. Ride- very stiff and uncomfortable, vehicle tends to bounce. Completely different from the ride from the SUV Interior Design:Good use of space, fabric seat is really cheap and readily picks up stains. Exterior- paint is not the best, I have the black and scratches readily show. Interior Comforts: The vehicle is noisy and readily transmits road noise to the inside, I tend to cringe going over train tracks. The dashboard is decent, but since my other car is an Avalon I am still wondering why 4CDs instead of 6, why not show all the KPIs on a singe dashboard instead of having to cycle through to access them (temp, mpg, etc). Summary. All my cars have been Toyota all 12 of them, but this was my biggest disappointment. Like the height but the trade-off with the tires/ride is not worth it. Get the V6, the gas economy is 22.5 with inline 4 engine, with the Avalon V6, got standard 24 mpg on my daily commute."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By CS on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Feels like a sports sedan more than a CUV. Love the looks and the interior design is top notch with a very contemporary look and feel. When you hit the gas the car doesn't hesitate to throw you back in your seat even at highway speeds. I've even felt torque vectoring when dropping the hammer at 60 mph. Friends and family all seem to be very impressed with the vehicle as it looks more like it should have a Lexus logo than a Toyota. I traded in a 2004 4 runner on this car so it took some getting used to driving more of a car based vehicle but I wanted something new and loaded out. (i have the XLE premium package) The new 4runner was out of range with these options, I have felt/thought maybe I should of just bought a new 4runner base model but overall I am happy. Cons, the gas mileage has been the biggest disappointment (part of the reason I went with this vehicle over the 4runner) I am getting about 15 mpg around town now that the engine is broken in, and dealer service says that's the average. Highway MPG is a little more respectable with around 24 mph if you stay close to the speed limit but if you want to go 80+ mph forget it about. Although the materials for the interior seem to be high quality the arm rest and center console cup holders already jiggle and shake when pressure is put on them in the tracks that allow them to open and close, also some of the faux wood trim will creak when you rub up against on the door. I am not that worried about it because I will trade this car in when it's paid off but for the next owner those things will be very annoying as I am sure they will get worse with age. All in all if you are looking for a vehicle in this class and have performance, luxury and style high on your list than the V6 Venza will not disappoint."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Sabrina on Sunday, March 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable, spacious, feel safe inside"
Cons: "gas overflows out with auto gas shutoff"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love my Venza, however I wish I had the awd version.... The only real complaint I have about it (besides not being awd) is that when I fill up with gas it ALWAYS overflows out with the automatic gas shut off and gets gas on the car. Otherwise it is so comfortable, easy to drive, and overall a great car!"
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By kOFY on Friday, January 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good all around car for City or highway."
Cons: "Rides a little stiff and some road noise ."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"found this Venza to do a super job of accomadating our needs but gave passengers a comfortable leg & headroom so we filled our needs without going for a van."
32 people out of 58 found this review helpful