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)
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