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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 194 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

best car I have ever owned that I bought new

By on Friday, September 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great looks, lots of power"

Cons: "lousy placing of windsheild wipers"

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

"I love the power it has. The all wheel drive is one of the best. I live on the coast and driving on the beach in the sand it does wonders!The only complaint I have is the ground clearance could be slightly higher.I love the gas mileage at 23 mpg for an AWD.One other complaint is the way the wipers are set up. It's very confusing & I've had my car for 2 yrs and I still get it messed up.It's a 2012 with 42,000 miles so that shows how much I like it"

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Meets my requirements, but has some flaws.

By on Thursday, September 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Very comfortable to ride in, especially during long trips. Outstanding interior versatility and carrying capacity. Excellent exterior design. Powerful engine. Steering is dead and unresponsive when cruising on interstate. Nudging the steering wheel doesn't work--you have to "tug" it--very irritating. Ride in town is choppy--20" wheels will do that, but I thought the Toyota suspension engineers would have figured that out by now. Transmission is okay most of the time, but it sometimes cannot figure out what gear to be in at very low speeds and simply hums for a short while until locking up--another irritation. Nav screen is washed out by sunlight about 75% of the time. Needs to be reconfigured to a vertical position. Overall, my wife loves the vehicle, but I am a bit disappointed in it overall for the reasons stated. I thought Toyota would have sorted out these types of things given its reputation for quality and market position."

Been a great car. Love the height, design.

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,334

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "All around drivable."

Cons: "None."

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

"This has been a very reliable car. Easy to enter/leave. Mileage good, but less than rated. The interior space is roomy, and attractive. If I were doing I over again I would buy it."

11 people out of 19 found this review helpful

stylish, comfy car

By on Friday, August 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

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: "Lots of room, nice looking car"

Cons: "none"

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

"I've owned this 2010 since new, has 49,000 miles. Got a great deal on it. I use it to drive to Florida and back to Colorado each year. Very comfy for up to 5 passengers. Can take four golfers with clubs. I get many remarks about classy style and smooth ride. My sister and a neighbor like it so much they both bought one. V6 AWD great in snow with plenty of power for the mountains. Over the road get 21-25 mpg, around town get 20 mpg. Reliable, with no issues so far. Might buy the next gen when it comes out."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Another badly built American car

By on Monday, August 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "comfortable"

Cons: "not reliable, gas guzzler, and sub par interior"

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

"Remember American cars in the 70's ? There back in the form of the American built Venza. This car is large, comfortable and with every convenience, but the fuel milage is horrible, and the reliability is on par with a 75 Caprice. Mine spent six weeks at the dealer waiting for a new transmission in the first six months of ownership. All that happened was a speed sensor malfunctioned, but they can't be replaced without replacing the entire transmission. And, apparently, Toyota doesn't read the internet because they told me mine was the first time they ever heard of the problem, (I heard that same thing at my Chevy dealer in 1975) but there are whole blog sites devoted to discussing it. The car is not cheap and for the same money I could have and should have bought an audi or a bmw wagon. That's what I'll do next time - next month."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Overall excellent vehicle for the price

By on Sunday, August 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Lots of room, good gas, comfortable"

Cons: "A bit noisy for a toyota"

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

"I purchased this car new. It came with a the towing package. I used to have a Tundra. The towing package has come in very handy. It has a 4 cylinder and it has been just fine. I was a bit skeptical about the 4 and thought about the 6 cylinder but the price for a 6 was pretty high at the time. With the towing package it has been all I needed. I have moved 3 times and I have hauled a number of trailers with no issues. I moved from Fayetteville NC to Raleigh NC, NC to AL and AL to Florida. Plenty of room in the back seat for tall people. The rear seats come down flat in the back so you can haul lumber (up to 8 feet) but watch the width. I go to the local Lowe's and Home depot a lot and there is not much I cannot fit in there. Mine is a 2009 so I have a plug in for my Iphone so I can hear the music from my internal speakers. Works great. I get about 26-28 MPG on the highway (no trailer). I get about 21-24 around the city. I live in a small town so a lot of stop and go but the brakes have been good. Just about 60 K and same breaks. I have replaced the tires and they are expensive."

18 people out of 31 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

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