By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
During another era the 2013 Toyota Venza might well have been called a Camry Liftback. With today's Venza Toyota incorporates a crossover utility's higher seating position and good outward vision with expressive sheetmetal, an aggressive footprint, generous cargo capacity and a choice of two powertrains. And it puts the end result, the 5-door Venza, in the same showroom as another Camry-based SUV, the Highlander. There are, of course, options beyond its own showroom; shoppers will find Nissan's Murano and, more recently, the Dodge Journey offering similar fare. If looking for a "soft-road" option it's an embarrassment of riches.
If you enjoy the utility and versatility of an SUV while preferring the car-based platform of the crossover SUV, the Venza will provide a credible menu of platform and features, along with its own, singularly stylistic agenda.
A prospective customer might find Toyota's 2013 Venza falling into a middle ground, neither fish (an upright, practical SUV) nor fowl (the wished-for aggressive sports sedan or hatch).
The 2013 Toyota Venza's enhanced exterior styling (Toyota's descriptive) includes a new upper and lower grille, fog lamps and taillights. With a new 19-inch wheel design and three new exterior colors (Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl and Cosmic Gray Mica), your neighbor with the '12 will probably wish he had waited. The 3-trim-level strategy (introduced last year) continues, albeit with updated option packages.
Driving Impressions In the time-honored tradition of offering a car-based platform powered by car-based drivetrains while suffering from SUV-induced weight, those opting to equip their 2013 Toyota Venza with Toyota's DOHC inline-4...will learn to be patient when merging onto a freeway. Check the V6 box and you'll immediately benefit from more horsepower, torque and refinement. Both engines, notably, hook up to 6-speed automatic transmissions and operate on regular unleaded gasoline. The power rack-and-pinion steering is reasonably well connected, as is the all-independent suspension. One negative associated with the Venza's generous rubber – in either 19-inch or 20-inch sizes – is the harshness transmitted to the interior. Were these 17-inch or 18-inch tires more road irregularities would be absorbed by the tire/wheel combo, and less would be transmitted into your backside. As with most Toyota vehicles the overall over-the-road impression is rather benign, but given the long ownership history most Toyota owners enjoy, that needn't be a bad thing.
AVAILABLE ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
It's rare that a manufacturer will offer all-wheel drive (AWD) across the board, often reserving the option – if it is an option – for only the high-horsepower, top-of-the-line trim levels. Toyota provides it throughout the 2013 Venza range, from the base LE, where it can be purchased for around $30,000, to the top-of-the-line V6 Limited.
ONE-TOUCH FOLD-FLAT SEATS
If you use a sport-oriented utility for its utility, there are few things more frustrating than loading gear at the rear hatch only to discover that you can't fold the rear seats from that position. Toyota's 2013 Venza supplies an all-too-logical cure with one-touch fold-flat levers located in the cargo area. It ain't rocket science, but given the feature's relative scarcity (on competitive vehicles) you'd think it was.
The 2013 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 3rd-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. We especially like the 1-touch fold-flat feature for the rear seats. Located in the cargo area, folding either one or both sides is easy and intuitive. Optional features to make the interior more luxurious include a huge panoramic glass moonroof and a premium HDD navigation system with Entune and JBL audio. Pet-friendly accessories include a liftgate pet ramp, booster seat with harness, pet buckles and rear-seat zipline-style harnesses.Exterior
On the street the Toyota Venza is immediately recognizable as something different. In point of fact, it's sufficiently different to be virtually unrecognizable as a Toyota. Its expressive face and flanks are an obvious departure from what is frequently known as "Asian generic," while even its standard rubber – all 19 inches of it – provides the Venza with an athletic footprint. And while its profile allows for a high seating position to better see what's around you, the step-in height remains low, making it far more convenient for smallish adults and the elderly. We like its wide, athletic stance, and applaud the U.S.-based design team for its effort, providing – as it does – the Venza with visual differentiation from both the Camry and Highlander.
All three trim levels offered on the 2013 Toyota Venza provide a comfortable level of accommodation. On the outside that up-market attitude is evident with 19-inch alloy rims and generous 245/55 rubber. Inside, even the base LE offers dual- zone automatic climate control; an AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity and control; and a 3.5-inch LCD multi-information display. Seats are fabric in the LE, while leather covers the seating surfaces in the mid-level XLE and up-market Limited. And all 2013 Toyota Venzas enjoy 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.
For those residing in the Snowbelt, or those in the Sunbelt wanting the assurance of all-wheel drive, Toyota provides all-season traction as an available option on all trim levels and powertrains. In short, if you want to spend under $30K for a base Venza LE, but wish to enjoy the security that comes only with AWD, you can do it. And while the standard 2.7-liter inline-4, available in both LE and XLE trims, is a well-respected powerplant, Toyota's 3.5-liter V6 is (again) available across the board.
Propelling the 2013 Toyota Venza wagon is either a 181-horsepower 2.7-liter inline 4-cylinder or 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 front-wheel-drive (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.
181 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
182 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 mpg (FWD), 20/25 mpg (AWD)
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
246 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (FWD), 18/25 mpg (AWD)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the entry-level Toyota Venza is just under $29,000; that figure supplies you with a well-equipped Venza LE with 4-cylinder power, front-wheel drive, handling and destination. Add V6 power and all-wheel drive and that LE price rises to just under $32,000. The mid-level XLE Venza begins at just over $32,000, while a fully equipped AWD Limited could easily exceed $40,000. These price points put Toyota's 2013 Venza in the MSRP range of the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge, while being significantly higher than Subaru's Outback 2.5i. However, prices will vary due to market conditions and location, so be sure and reference the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what other consumers are paying for the 2013 Venza in your area. And given Toyota's better-than-average resale values, we expect the Venza to perform credibly as a used vehicle, outpacing the Edge and Murano while coming close to matching the resale performance of the Subaru Outback.
By Romeo (NJ) on Tuesday, October 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "spacious, fuel effecient,good looking,"
Cons: "back up camera useless when it rains,expensive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was excited when I first have it but in the long run, its a boring car to drive with. I have the high end with all the features but I feel like this is just too feminine or for people in their 60s or older. Its useful for people who wants V6 with lots of room and fuel efficient. I'm trading it to a Toyota Tacoma. The car is nice but its just not for my type."
1 person out of 5 found this review helpful
By Lanylu (IL) on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "GREAT TO DRIVE"
Cons: "GAS MILEAGE"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I LIKE MY VENZA. WOULD LIKE TO HAVE LARGER GAS TANK AND BETTER MILAGE. THE RIDING IS A LITTLE ROUGH BECAUSE OF THE SMALL TIRES AND LARGE WHEELS. THE CAR HANDLES GREAT HAS A LOT GREAT FEATURES. OVER ALL THE CAR IS SLICK AND HAS LOTS OF POWER."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Karlu (NM) on Saturday, September 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful styling, good mechanically"
Cons: "Niggling little rattles/squeaks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I have owned this car for three years...have put very few miles on it in that time. I love the styling of the exterior, the interior is nice, but there are a lot of hard plastics used. The main difficulty I have with the Venza is that there are niggling little rattles/squeaks that show up whenever there is the slightest rough roadway. I think this car is the worst that I've ever had since my '59 Hillman Minx! And, that was bought new, too. The rattles/squeaks are not loud, but they are there, and I don't know if it indicates body flex or what, but they are the only thing that's behind my wanting a new car. The acceleration is great, the engine is quiet, the space is more than enough for the two of us, and the instrumentation is good. When I've taken it on road it's been great, but around town the bad roadways do it in to my mind"
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Robbielou (FL) on Saturday, June 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am so happy to drive my 2009 Toyota Venza. It is by far the best car I've owned. So comfortable, and Toyota thinks of all the little details. I love it on long trips; it gets good gas mileage and basically floats down the road. There isn't much road noise and the 4cyl still has good pickup. We always opt to take the Venza when we go out because it's so great looking. I'm proud and thankful to own one."
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Venza Lover (WI) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Lots of space and Cupholders"
Cons: "Cloth seats are hard to keep clean"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Everyone loves this car! I am regularly carpooling with 5 adults and the Venza is complimented over and over for the space and ride. Thank you for inventing this wonderful vehicle!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By SoonerFan (OK) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Drives great. Good gas mileage. Lotsa leg room."
Cons: "Rides rougher than other cars in this category."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I love the interior of this car. It has lots of leg room for all passengers - even in the back seat. It has wonderful features, lots of pep and our mileage averages about 23 mpg. Our only complaint is that the ride is not as smooth as other cars in this category. The navi is great, but it's positioned so that it has a glare when backing up - which makes the backup camera hard to use."
8 people out of 9 found this review helpful