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 Gancho on Monday, January 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Two concerns tha I have are: 1. Lack of visabilty when backing out of a parking space. 2. Unable to see garage door opener switches at night."
By kkc on Thursday, January 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, covers all the bases - AWD !"
Cons: "Seats could be more comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"toyota reliability has delivered! Great in snow or at our summer home / beach. cavernous storage with back seats declined. My wife loves it! We have owned Honda Pilot. Honda Crosstour (both were terrific vehicles for us). The Venza rates #1 for us."
26 people out of 40 found this review helpful
By AutoEnthu on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Height, Price - Value, Utility"
Cons: "Slight more noise than desired from the road"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The first thing I love about the Venza is the height at which you get in and out. Its just perfect. No stretching up or bending down. The engine is same as the camry - so totally reliable. Utility is great with space enough to fit large objects and still has a sporty look. The only thing slightly annoying is the road/wind noise when driving. I think that area can be improved...but I think its still best in class - just not Lexus level quality."
14 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By kidsmommy03 on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Best car I have ever had, driven, owned! When my 2010 Chevy cobalt shift sylinoid went out and we replaced it, it didn't fix the problem after $300.00, my husband told me he was done with that car do to it not having second gear and not being safe for the kids and myself. So he went and found me the 2010 venza! All I seen was a picture of it before he got it for me! I love all the room it has! My husband is over 6" and can fit easily in the back seat while the front seat is all the way back! Plus I have tons of room for all the kids stuff in the back! With having a teen and a toddler plus my husband and myself it gives us plenty of room. And with the reclining backseats the back seat passengers can be comfy on long trips also!"
5 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Double S on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good, handles well, Toyota reliability"
Cons: "bumpy ride and plenty rattles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very bumpy ride. Rattles everywhere. Get compliments on it all the time, so it looks good. Easy to keep clean inside but seats are not comfy. Have had no major engine trouble. Had to replace the tires at 28,000 miles. Not bad. Still has original brakes."
19 people out of 36 found this review helpful
By FunVenza216 on Tuesday, December 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Eye Catcher! Sunset Bronze Mica"
Cons: "No lock on the glove compartment!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I think it's a nice car. When it's clean it looks really good. And I've have it for over 5 years. Keep it clean! Represent yourself right!Definitely get the navigation and remote start added. Those cold days when you get in your car and it's already warm is nice!Navigation helps when you are trying to find your bearings also. But now you can get that on your phone. But it's still nice to watch where your going and put marks on your navigation to come back to the same spot when you want to at a later time.I only own Toyota's! I get my money's worth!"
9 people out of 15 found this review helpful