I don't think there is anything specific that one would need to know prior to purchasing a Venza. It is a nice size, can haul a lot, big enough to lay down in the cargo area and take a nap if one wishes. Very comfortable in all respects.
I really love the utility and spaciousness inside the vehicle but have had to have door panels replaced at only 30k miles because they didn't hold up and also my visor fell apart. The inside of the vehicle is really cheap and plastic. The only reason why the seats have held up is because I had really nice buttery leather after market leather added.
I'm really satisfied with my Venza. It is a joy to drive and I feel very comfortable at the wheel. It's got nice acceleration and plenty of cargo space for it's size. The ride height is great and can traverse the muddy roads during spring break-up in Alaska. Driving in the snow and ice was not a problem in the least.
We've purchased our 2011 Venza new and have had it now for five years and 55K miles We had continual problems with the alarm going off for no reason. That was finally resolved. On and off the steering makes a whining or creaking sound. Recently the sun visor on the driver's side broke--it wouldn't stay up or down, just mid-way where it obstructed the front view. The mileage is not quite what Toyota claimed--we get about 22-24 on the highway. For a vehicle that had a sticker price of $40k, it's definitely a disappointment. The ride is average. They don't make Venza anymore and I think that may have affected the resale value. Judging by various resale valuations, it has lost significant value. On the plus side, maintenance is much cheaper than Honda.