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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 182 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

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

Stylish, dependable all weather car.

By on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,200

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Looks great."

Cons: "Could have better fuel economy."

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

"This is a great looking car. Very comfortable and reliable. Awesome in bad weather (with AWD). The car feels heavy, but it is nimble with the 20" wheels. It's not a sports car. Fuel mileage is my only complaint. Gets about 24 mpg on the highway. Overall great car and I would but another one with AWD."

Best vehicle I ever owned

By on Monday, July 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Easy to drive - easy to operate - love it."

Cons: "Blind spots & cup holders that are not deep enough"

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

"I love this car for ease of getting in and out - for driving comfort. The minus on this car - blind spots."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Only 1 Issue!

By on Thursday, June 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,250

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
8/10

Pros: "Almost everything"

Cons: "Rear visibility"

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

"This is the best car that I've ever owned. I really enjoy driving the Venza. It is very stylish inside and out. The rear cargo area has a good opening and lots of space, especially with the seats folded. The seats are very comfortable. The sliding center console is very helpful. The only issue that I have is the rear visibility. Not really an issue now because I got used to using the rear-view camera."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable ride, tons of storage, great mileage"

Cons: "Sun visor not long enough"

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

"I've driven this car for over 3 years now, and I can say this is by far, the best value you can get in a vehicle. This car is so versatile. Great gas mileage, smooth handling and comfortable ride for long trips, very roomy, tons of room for storage, while also being realistic for everyday driving. My one and only minor complaint is that the sun visor doesn't cover enough when it's over the side window (but I'm just nitpicking). Truly a great car that I hope to have for many more years to come!"

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

just over 7k miles-better than showroom

By on Saturday, June 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

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: "drives as if race worthy but family safety"

Cons: "con is my back surgeries need zero gravity seating"

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

"additional options aftermarket-wheel locks; alarm-disable if broken into; paint protection-3m clearmask full coverage package added(hood, sides down covering lights-and side mirrors); added extra window tint; Bi-xenon HID headlamps-the tint added to state max to make car which has special black paint-attitiude black pearl-look extra dark with added tint on all glass including full glass panaramic roof; added remote start for summer time air conditioner as well as winter time auto defrost and heated leather seats to warm up; remote liftgate and additional cargo nets as well as rear matching Venza mat; added ipod/phone holder no longer available-full 7 inch rear view parking camera w/ sensor and split screen navigation or full 7 inch dispaly-avaialble to drive with manual auto stick-0-60 in unmatched 5.8 seconds for it's class-many other options"

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Better driving and better resale than Ford Edge

By on Sunday, May 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,490

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great looks, very quiet ride, good handling"

Cons: "A little pricey, maybe the shifter?"

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

"The 3.5 V6 is a much better drive than the I4. We test drove both and the I4 is very good but the V6 only drops 2 mpg city and 1 highway with much more pick up when you need it. Very quit and smooth ride. The shifter can be bumped into the manual shift mode if you are not paying attention is my only complaint. I drove two states away almost 500 miles from home to get one with the options that I wanted. A very nice first drive home to see if I had made the right choice. What a pleasure to drive on the interstate. Very quiet and held its lane with ease at 70/75 mph and clicked off 26.8 mpg at those speeds. I've seen complaints of ill fitting dash components but ours build quality seems very high, very Toyota like. We had a 2011 Camry SE and loved it with the 2.5 4cyl. The Venza seems to be everything we loved in the Camry and more. The Blizzard Pearl paint with the factory 20's is a awesome custom look for a factory ride. Our family loves our new Venza even more then our beloved Camry! Toyota definitely has their stuff together."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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