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2012 Toyota Venza

Overview
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2012 Toyota Venza Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

With the 2012 Toyota Venza wagon, Toyota combines some of the best attributes of an SUV with the handling and visual appeal of a sporty sedan. Departing from the usual tall and lean SUV look, the Venza is visibly wide in its stance, with big wheels and an imposing grille. This design creates a cavernous interior as big on hip and shoulder room as it is head and legroom. Blurring the line between station wagon and SUV makes it a bit difficult to pinpoint the 2012 Toyota Venza wagon's competition. Its wagon-like styling and available all-wheel drive (AWD) would seem to put it in the same league as the Subaru Outback, while its long and wide body might better be compared to the Honda Crosstour or even the Nissan Murano. To keep everyone happy, Toyota offers the Venza in a number of flavors, ranging from a simple 4-cylinder front-wheel-drive (FWD) version to a loaded V6 AWD model.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're of the mindset that a big car is always safer than a small one, you'll feel at ease behind the wheel of the 2012 Venza.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2012 Toyota Venza doesn't come cheap and doesn't offer a third-row seat. Those wanting more passenger room should look to the Hyundai Veracruz or Mazda CX-9, while those seeking better fuel economy might prefer the Subaru Outback or Kia Sorento.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Toyota Venza wagon is offered in three trims this year, a change from last year's single trim offering. LE and XLE trim levels will be offered with a choice of 4- or 6-cyinder engines, while the Limited is available only with the V6; all versions offer the choice of front drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).

Driving the Venza

Driving Impressions While the 2012 Toyota Venza's ride is not quite as soft as those of the Toyota Avalon or Camry, it's far from abrupt. The Venza's ride remains...

comfortable so long as the roads are smooth. However, road irregularities are quickly picked up by the large wheel/tire combo and transmitted to the cabin. Interior noise levels were also a bit higher than we expected, again perhaps owing to the big tires. If you settle for the 2.7-liter inline 4, you'll get an engine that delivers adequate acceleration and passing power and relatively good fuel economy. However, we think most people will want the added power of the V6; it not only increases the 2012 Toyota Venza's ability to pass and merge, it performs better when teamed with the AWD system. The big Venza's chassis is not tuned for razor-sharp handling, a fact we experienced first-hand while rounding corners at higher speeds. Still, we think that most buyers will be perfectly pleased with the way the Venza handles around-town jaunts. As for long-term driving, we found both front and rear seating positions offer excellent comfort and support, with lots of room in the back to stretch out and get comfy.

Integrated Sliding Center Console
Comprised of a set of cup holders and a padded arm rest that slide independently of each other, the center console provides up 14.7 liters 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 been alone in the rain with arms full of groceries, the power liftgate can be operated with a simple push of a key fob-mounted button.

2012 Toyota Venza Details
2012 Toyota Venza photo Interior

The 2012 Toyota Venza's interior is big in all directions. Comfortable seating choices include cloth or leather upholstery (trim dependent), heated front seats and a power driver's seat with power lumbar support. With no third-row seat to take up space, the Venza offers an impressive 70.1 cubic feet of cargo space, while figures for head, leg and hip room are all near the top of the segment. The large, clever sliding center console can accommodate all manner of items, from purses to tablets. Optional features to make the interior more luxurious include a huge panoramic glass moonroof and a JBL audio system. Pet-friendly accessories include a rear liftgate pet ramp, booster seat with harness, pet buckles and rear-seat zipline-style harnesses.

Exterior
2012 Toyota Venza photo

Of all of Toyota's current designs, the 2012 Venza wagon is one of the most daring and original. Standard 19- or 20-inch wheels are definitely uncommon in this segment and contribute to the Venza's good handling and assertive looks. We like the color choices Toyota offers on the Venza, which stand in stark contrast to the boring silver, gray and off-white hues all too common these days. With 8.1 inches of ground clearance, the 2012 Toyota Venza can pretty much tackle the deepest snow drifts while still maintaining its composure in the turns. However, despite its height, the Venza wagon still requires minimal effort stepping in or out, a fact that makes it decidedly easier to load in kids, groceries or whatever else goes inside the Venza's generous interior.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Toyota Venza wagon is offered in three well-equipped trims: LE, XLE and Limited. Inside, standard equipment worth mentioning includes dual-zone climate control, 8-way power driver's seat, 3.5-inch multi-information display, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, AM/FM/CD with Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming music, a USB port and power operation of the windows, locks and mirrors. The XLE adds leather seating, a 4-way power passenger seat, anti-theft alarm, heated front seats, Smart Key with push-button start, power rear liftgate and a rear backup camera. The top-of-the-line Limited adds navigation, HID headlamps, a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a JBL 13-speaker Synthesis audio system. All Venzas have Toyota's comprehensive Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Brakes, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology, plus seven airbags.

Optional Equipment

The 2012 Venza's options are bundled into trim-specific packages. The LE Convenience Package adds a power rear liftgate and rear backup camera, while the LE Preferred Package brings a panoramic glass roof. The XLE Premium Package adds the panoramic glass roof, JBL audio and satellite radio, while the Navigation Package adds voice-activated DVD touchscreen navigation and a rear backup camera.

Under the Hood

Powering the 2012 Toyota Venza wagon is either a 182-horsepower 2.7-liter in-line 4-cylinder or a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. Both engines come with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission that offers uphill/downhill shift logic to minimize gear hunting. Those who do more highway driving should opt for the inline 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 the V6 will result in only a small fuel economy penalty.

2.7-liter in-line-4
182 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
182 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 (FWD), 20/25 (AWD)

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
246 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (FWD), 18/25 (AWD)

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2012 Toyota Venza Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.8
Out of 10

Based on 228 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED!

By on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "beautiful, comfortable, feels safe, lots of room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this vehicle! It is so easy to enter and exit. It is the perfect height just to slide in. The AWD is incredible. It just takes over when needed and I can't feel it, I just know it's happening because the AWD light is on. It's totally unbelievable how much this car can carry. I do home decorating and must carry a lot when I'm doing a "whole house staging". I have been literally stopped by two separate women to ask what my car was. Not only does it look great but it is very comfortable!"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Wish it would still be made!

By on Saturday, June 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,570

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Very spacious,convenient controls, fail mpg's (should probable be better for a vehicle of it's size. Holds 4 golf bags and people easily, with room for more. Wide rear door entry. Love the auto-dimming headlights! Very rough, stiff ride with Michlin factory tires that got better with Yokohama Prada Spec x along with better traction in ALL driving conditions. Sorry to see this car go...wish Toyota would have made it better instead of stopping production."

22 people out of 38 found this review helpful

Outstanding reliability and conveniece

By on Sunday, June 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,772

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Performance, convenience, fun."

Cons: "Road noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Trips to the dealership were strictly for scheduled maintenance or driver education. Car handles well on highway, hugs curves and accelerates with spirit. Controls on dash and steering wheel positioned well and ample storage at fingertips. Very convenient auto hatch operation and can haul all sorts of oversize goodies.Heavy-duty hitch to pull boat or trailer. Some road noise is only minus. Very good-looking car!"

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

great gas milage -30 hw-27.5 overall-comfortable-g

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "gas milage , comfort ,utility"

Cons: "not great in pick up department"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"good and easy getting in and out,quiet,very good storage,right size.good traction in snow.memory and heated seats."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

First Toyota also maybe last one.

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "price, power, mileage, reliability on road"

Cons: "brake, painting, heater...less than expection"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"problems after 3+years use: painting start rusting (wt), cold weather lost power at start, uncomfortable seat, slow brake action (braking distance too long), transient lack control between brake and off transmission (automatic transmission), slow heater start on."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Very good car overall

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Value, comfort, styling, space, economy"

Cons: "Controls not as user friendly, accelerator jumpy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Enjoyed this car. Biggest criticism is its tendency to surge forward and backward. We have to touch the accelerator peddle lightly. The controls are more difficult and not as easy to find than the Toyota Prius we owned. The car is very comfortable for driving, rides well and the four cylinder has adequate pick-up and gas mileage (we achieved 23.5 mpg overall driving city and highway over the time we have owned the car). We liked the styling of this car and found it to be very adequate for space when we took long trips. Overall, this is a very good car and would not hesitate to recommend it to others."

14 people out of 27 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?