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 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."
29 people out of 53 found this review helpful
By Gancho on Monday, January 26, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Two concerns tha I have are: 1. Lack of visabilty when backing out of a parking space. 2. Unable to see garage door opener switches at night."
4 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By kkc on Thursday, January 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, covers all the bases - AWD !"
Cons: "Seats could be more comfortable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"toyota reliability has delivered! Great in snow or at our summer home / beach. cavernous storage with back seats declined. My wife loves it! We have owned Honda Pilot. Honda Crosstour (both were terrific vehicles for us). The Venza rates #1 for us."
26 people out of 42 found this review helpful
By AutoEnthu on Tuesday, December 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Height, Price - Value, Utility"
Cons: "Slight more noise than desired from the road"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The first thing I love about the Venza is the height at which you get in and out. Its just perfect. No stretching up or bending down. The engine is same as the camry - so totally reliable. Utility is great with space enough to fit large objects and still has a sporty look. The only thing slightly annoying is the road/wind noise when driving. I think that area can be improved...but I think its still best in class - just not Lexus level quality."
15 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By kidsmommy03 on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Best car I have ever had, driven, owned! When my 2010 Chevy cobalt shift sylinoid went out and we replaced it, it didn't fix the problem after $300.00, my husband told me he was done with that car do to it not having second gear and not being safe for the kids and myself. So he went and found me the 2010 venza! All I seen was a picture of it before he got it for me! I love all the room it has! My husband is over 6" and can fit easily in the back seat while the front seat is all the way back! Plus I have tons of room for all the kids stuff in the back! With having a teen and a toddler plus my husband and myself it gives us plenty of room. And with the reclining backseats the back seat passengers can be comfy on long trips also!"
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Double S on Friday, December 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good, handles well, Toyota reliability"
Cons: "bumpy ride and plenty rattles"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very bumpy ride. Rattles everywhere. Get compliments on it all the time, so it looks good. Easy to keep clean inside but seats are not comfy. Have had no major engine trouble. Had to replace the tires at 28,000 miles. Not bad. Still has original brakes."
20 people out of 37 found this review helpful