By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
Sharing its platform with the Toyota Camry, the 2014 Toyota Venza might easily be considered little more than a Camry wagon. But, unlike the Camry, the Venza employs the tall seating position and outward visibility of an SUV coupled with a wide stance, available all-wheel drive (AWD) and expressive styling. Bigger than the less expensive Subaru Outback but not quite as large as the 7-passenger Highlander, the Venza appeals to people who need the power and room of an SUV, but don't really care to own an SUV. Granted, the Venza's car-like chassis limits its ability to go off-road or to tow heavy loads above 3,500 pounds, but if interior room and styling matter most, the Venza is a tough act to beat.
If you're looking for a roomy and versatile 5-door, but you don't care for the bulky or brutish look of some SUVs, the 2014 Toyota Venza may be the car for you.
If cost factors heavily into your buying decision, you can get into a Subaru Outback for a lot less money. The Venza's fuel economy is also just middle of the road and its AWD is limited to slippery pavement conditions or very light off-roading.
For 2014, the Toyota Venza has power folding mirrors added to the XLE and Limited trims, while the Limited gains front and rear parking sensors.
Driving Impressions While the most cost-effective way to get into a 2014 Venza is to purchase the entry-level model with the 4-cylinder engine, we don't think most people will be happy with...the results. The Venza is not a lightweight machine and the tepid 181-horsepower engine just isn't up to the task of merging or accelerating with any great urgency. If you're going to get a Venza wagon, get it with the V6. Regardless of which engine you choose, both are teamed to a 6-speed automatic and both can run on regular unleaded gasoline. On the road, the Venza's steering feels reasonably well connected but the wheel can feel a bit heavy at slower speeds. The Venza rides on big 19- and 20-inch wheels and tires that create a rather harsh ride over rough pavement and more road noise inside the cabin.
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 2014 Venza range, from the base LE, which can be purchased for around $30,000, to the top-of-the-line V6 Limited.
1-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 2014 Venza supplies an all-too-logical cure with 1-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 2014 Toyota Venza's interior is big in all directions. With no 3rd-row seat to take up space, the Toyota Venza for 2014 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. 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. 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.
The Venza LE includes 19-inch alloy wheels, 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 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 2014 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 2014 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 26 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: 20/26 mpg (FWD), 20/26 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. Add V6 power and AWD 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 2014 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 2014 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 cvr on Monday, July 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
By rf1987 on Thursday, June 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,250overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Jackie on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable ride, tons of storage, great mileage"
Cons: "Sun visor not long enough"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've driven this car for over 3 years now, and I can say this is by far, the best value you can get in a vehicle. This car is so versatile. Great gas mileage, smooth handling and comfortable ride for long trips, very roomy, tons of room for storage, while also being realistic for everyday driving. My one and only minor complaint is that the sun visor doesn't cover enough when it's over the side window (but I'm just nitpicking). Truly a great car that I hope to have for many more years to come!"
11 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By venza on Saturday, June 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "drives as if race worthy but family safety"
Cons: "con is my back surgeries need zero gravity seating"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"additional options aftermarket-wheel locks; alarm-disable if broken into; paint protection-3m clearmask full coverage package added(hood, sides down covering lights-and side mirrors); added extra window tint; Bi-xenon HID headlamps-the tint added to state max to make car which has special black paint-attitiude black pearl-look extra dark with added tint on all glass including full glass panaramic roof; added remote start for summer time air conditioner as well as winter time auto defrost and heated leather seats to warm up; remote liftgate and additional cargo nets as well as rear matching Venza mat; added ipod/phone holder no longer available-full 7 inch rear view parking camera w/ sensor and split screen navigation or full 7 inch dispaly-avaialble to drive with manual auto stick-0-60 in unmatched 5.8 seconds for it's class-many other options"
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Tony on Sunday, May 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,490overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks, very quiet ride, good handling"
Cons: "A little pricey, maybe the shifter?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The 3.5 V6 is a much better drive than the I4. We test drove both and the I4 is very good but the V6 only drops 2 mpg city and 1 highway with much more pick up when you need it. Very quit and smooth ride. The shifter can be bumped into the manual shift mode if you are not paying attention is my only complaint. I drove two states away almost 500 miles from home to get one with the options that I wanted. A very nice first drive home to see if I had made the right choice. What a pleasure to drive on the interstate. Very quiet and held its lane with ease at 70/75 mph and clicked off 26.8 mpg at those speeds. I've seen complaints of ill fitting dash components but ours build quality seems very high, very Toyota like. We had a 2011 Camry SE and loved it with the 2.5 4cyl. The Venza seems to be everything we loved in the Camry and more. The Blizzard Pearl paint with the factory 20's is a awesome custom look for a factory ride. Our family loves our new Venza even more then our beloved Camry! Toyota definitely has their stuff together."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By VanMan on Saturday, May 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice design. Great vehicle overall"
Cons: "Large wheels on the rough road feel uncomfortable!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Nice SUV with too large wheels and good four cylinder engine.Comfortable on the smooth roads and good climate control.Very good vehicle for older people with easy exit/entry,way to thirsty for the four cylinder engine. With somewhat limited visibility. Toyota is fully responsible for installing the worst tires on the market. I had to change my tires early for a great Michelin tires, that significantly improved the ride and the steering, on VENZA, after spending over one thousand dollars extra."