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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 185 Ratings for the 2009 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

The best car on the road

By on Sunday, July 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

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: "smooth ride, reliable, attractive"

Cons: "none"

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

"I can't say enough good things about the Toyota Venza. It is the best car I've ever owned. My husband puts over 100 miles a day on this car and it still runs like it is brand new. I feel safe and confident in the Venza that it will get me where I need to be. My next car will be a Venza too. Why try something different when you have found the best."

A Non-Minivan with "Bling"

By on Friday, July 25, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All around great vehicle, very easy entry/exit"

Cons: "Lousy front console cup holders"

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

"After 2 1/2 years I sold my retirement gift to myself a 2012 Premium Mustang Convertible. I loved it, but with 31,500 miles it was coming close to the end of its warranty. I knew if I wanted to sell it, late Spring/Early Summer was the time to do it. What to get? I wanted a pickup, but did not need a pick up. My significant other kept pointing out the "16" overall MPG. While walking around dealership on a Sunday when they were closed, I came across two nearly identical (2011 & a 2012) Toyota Venza. I had never even considered such a car, nor a used car, but both of them looked brand new. I think the owners of this class of vehicles take good car of them. It was SO EASY to get in and out of. It has TONS of ROOM. The front (and the back) seats are excellent. The back seats are roomy for two or three people. I finally decided on the 2011, with the lower mileage and navigation with the large back up camera screen, though I miss the marking of the Mustang's back up screen. Love, absolutely love the keyless entry and start up bottom. One locks the car by squeezing the door handles - how cool and never needing to fish for your keys. Love the panorama roof. Don't like the shallow and to large diameter coffee cup holders, but love the console. There are bottle holders in the doors. While I wanted a vehicle with a bit of "bling", red color, tinted windows, panorama roof and the 20" Wheels, give it "bling", I dislike the price of replacing 20" tires and they do the ride no favors. Overall, I love the car. I really liked the Mustang, but I love the Venza. The overall MPG is about the same, 22-24 overall, 25 and sometime more MPG on the HWY with the V6 and AWD."

Sleek looking and comfortable ride

By on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400

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: "design, interior room and storage, comfort"

Cons: "gas mileage"

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

"This car has so much interior room! Nobody ever feels squished. I am 5'5" and when we went looking for cars, I was almost too tall to fit in many of them, especially the rear, but the Venza is roomy in both width and height, especially in the rear. Plenty of room for my 90lb German shepherd. I love the dual moonroofs and the leather seats are very comfortable and easy to clean. My previous car was a BMW sedan so I was used to a high performance car handling. At first the Venza felt like I was driving a bus or truck, but now I am totally used to it and I can handle the turns well. We have the V6 - good acceleration when needed. Once you get up to speed, this car cruises well and I have to watch myself as I can get up to 75-80 without realizing it. The ride is so smooth and the engine and transmission operate so quietly. At first I did not like the stereo system, it may have been using Sirius which we stopped. But after being in an area with HD radio and putting in my own CDs, I liked the stereo sound more. The ergonomic design of the interior dash, gear shift and entertainment controls are excellent. I don't use the bluetooth feature, I hate talking on the cell while driving (even hands free) so I can't comment on this. There are so many well thought out storage spaces, even for sunglasses so I never forget them now. My only complaints so far are the gas mileage, I mostly do city driving and so far barely 19mpg. Highway driving in the Venza does not improve the average mpg much. The interior can be a bit noisy. I have no issues with rear visibility as others mentioned, using the reverse camera is easy. Steering radius could be improved. Overall I would recommend this stylish, space age looking car. It has the large interior feel of a full SUV, but the ease of driving a regular sized sedan."

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

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