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2012 Toyota Venza

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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 247 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

Great value, room for 4 adults and bags

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Roomy, drives well, good fuel econ"

Cons: "sun visors don't extend"

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

"This car has exceeded my expectations. Nice ride, very comfortable, lots of leg room front and back. Many trips with four adults and bags for a weekend, works well. Have had zero mechanical issues. Original tires lasted 80K miles. Pulls a small fishing boat with the 4 cyl engine and it does just fine."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Bye BMW... Hello toyota...

By on Thursday, June 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

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: "solid build, realiability, stylish, comfortable"

Cons: "none I can think of"

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

"I had two used bmw sedans... a 5 series and a 3 series and I put thousands of dollars into each of those cars the first few months I owned both of them. Just as I'd fix one issue... another would soon turn up and cost $1,000 or more to resolve. The 5 series engine blew with little over 125,000 miles on it just after being serviced by the bmw dealer. The 3 series I purchased to replace it was in the shop literally three days after I purchased it for a solenoid issue that cost $450.00 to resolve. The four years I owned that car I put over $5,000 in repairs and it still had maintenance issues. I got fed up with the constant maintenance and decided to check out the Venza after doing a lot of research against the rival models. I ended up purchasing a used 2009 V6 AWD fully loaded with just over 79,000 miles on it. I've had the car for 11 months and not one problem what so ever with it! The ONLY service I've had done on the car is two oil changes since I took ownership. I was fortunate that the previous owner fully loaded the vehicle with everything you can add on. I always found the body style of the Venza very attractive and when the opportunity arrived to own one I jumped on it. This is my first AWD vehicle and I will never go back to two wheel drive again. Both BMW's had HORRIBLE RWD traction in the snow but the AWD on the venza handled great. I love this car and plan to keep it for a very very long time. I'm just now hitting 89,000 miles and feel comfortable I'll get between 200,000 - 300,000 out of it. Toyota is notorious for making high mileage reliable cars and from my experience that reputation has been rightfully earned. The Venza being a crossover vehicle makes the ride height perfect for entering and exiting at my height of 5'6"."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Thursday, June 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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: "Solid as a luxury car"

Cons: "No longer made"

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

"Love this car, it is my second one. My first one was blizzard pearl and I loved it. This one is metallic gray and I do not like the color. I would love to trade for a new one, but I am so upset that they are not making them any more. Would love to stay with toyota brand - love the toyota care, but would have to settle for a Hilander which is too big for my needs or a Rav, which may not be as comfortable (cushie) as the Venza."

great car

By on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "ALL AROUND GOOD"

Cons: "SPOUNGE BRAKES"

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

"MOST COMFORTABLE CAR EVER. EASY IN EASY OUT. TOO BAD TOYOTA DISCONTINUED THE LINE . WOULD HAVE BOUGHT ANOTHER ONE"

Excellent interior room and plenty of power!

By on Friday, March 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,750

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: "Great Value, safe, and fun to drive."

Cons: "None"

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

"We traded our Lexus 470 SUV and soon missed the room for trips. I drove and researched many smaller SUVs and cross overs. The Limited Venza fit all of our needs. Now almost 12000 miles later we are delighted with our choice. We love the way the back seats fold down easy and flat, the sky roof with panorama window, the sound system is like being at a recording studio and it handles snow well with it's all wheel drive too. The V-6 takes our mountain and the freeways with ease and still gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway. The Limited comes with all the upgrades and options with one exception. I would have added blind spot warning. The only negative is that Toyota discontinued this model in 2016. Over all i think this car is terrific."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Next Best Thing to a Highlander

By on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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: "Plenty of power, comfortable, stylish, reliable"

Cons: "Rear blind spot, high beam indicator"

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

"I love this car so much that I drove 7 hours to buy one of the last new 2015 XLE AWD in my state. This car is perfect for the person who wants a car with power and spacious room for driver and passengers. I had a Highlander before this car but don't need the extra seating now since my kids are grown. Everyone I've met who owns a Venza seems to love them. Don't understand why they were discontinued."

12 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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