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2015 Toyota Venza

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2015 Toyota Venza Review


KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Although it shares a common platform with the Camry sedan, the 2015 Toyota Venza wagon is more than just a Camry with a hatchback rear end. The Venza’s wide stance and added ground clearance give it the ability to go places no Camry would dare venture, as does the available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. The Venza’s seats are wide and comfortable, and its tall ride height provides a commanding view of the road ahead. The Venza is larger than its primary competitor, the less expensive Subaru Outback, and it can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Toyota’s Venza is uniquely positioned as the perfect vehicle for travelers looking for the interior space and muscle provided by a larger SUV without the bulky proportions or harsh ride.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for more room and versatility than is found in most compact SUVs, and you also want it in a sleek package with an upscale environment, check out Toyota’s 5-door 2015 Venza wagon.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Venza wagon is practical, it can’t match the Subaru Forester for price, fuel economy or off-road ability. Those needing a 3rd-row seat or more towing ability will likely be happier in a Toyota Highlander or 4Runner SUV.

What's New for 2015

For 2015, Toyota’s Venza wagon gains a standard rearview camera while the LE V6 is dropped from the lineup. The Limited model now comes with standard all-wheel drive.

Driving the Venza
Driving Impressions

The least expensive Venza wagon for 2015 is, unfortunately, also the least desirable. With only 181 horsepower on top, the Venza LE wagon doesn’t have the muscle to move the...

... car’s rather substantial bulk with any urgency. For this reason, we think the V6 models are your best bet. Toyota’s V6 is smooth, strong and still delivers relatively good fuel economy. As for the Venza’s ride and handling, they are on par with the Camry sedan, which is to say more than competent, but the Venza’s larger tires and taller suspension deliver a bit more ride harshness. There also seems to be more interior noise from the road, again attributed to the massive 19- and 20-inch wheel/tire combos.

For most, the need for AWD necessitates moving to an SUV. But the 2015 Toyota Venza wagon offers a choice of front-wheel-drive (FWD) or AWD models with either the 4-cylinder or more potent V6 engine.

There’s nothing worse than trying to load a wagon only to have to first move around to the side to lower the rear seats. The Venza eliminates this issue with its clever one-touch fold-flat seat levers located near the rear of the cargo bay. Why others don’t offer this device remains a mystery.

2015 Toyota Venza Details
2015 Toyota Venza photo Interior

The 2015 Toyota Venza’s interior is big in all directions. With no 3rd-row seat to take up space, the 5-door Venza wagon offers an impressive 70.1 cubic feet of cargo space, while figures for head-, hip- and legroom are all near the top of the segment. We especially like the one-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.

2015 Toyota Venza photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Venza LE includes 19-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, rearview camera, 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 2015 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.

Optional Equipment

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. In short, if you want to spend under $32K 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 in the XLE and Limited is (again) the best choice. Other options include a panoramic glass moonroof, navigation, JBL audio and heated front seats.

Under the Hood

Propelling the 2015 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.

2.7-liter inline-4
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)

3.5-liter V6
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)

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