By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
182 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
182 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 (FWD), 20/25 (AWD)
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
246 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 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