I bought my 2013 Venza LE AWD last April, so I have almost had it one year. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. I liked the exterior design when they 1st came out several years ago. The inside of the car is very roomy all around. The kids have plenty of space in the back and the car is wider than most. I am a pretty big guy, so I appreciate the width of the drivers seat. It also has a nice large trunk. The electric steering take a bit to get used to (feels a little loose at first) and this car also rides pretty rough compared to most American-made cars. You really need to take it for a long test drive before you buy it. This car is absolutely amazing in the snow.
Whatisthat? A Venza. (Blank expression from inquiring person). It?s a Toyota, think of it as a Lexus RX350 lite, as they are based on the same K platform. Only this weighs nearly 600 pounds less, has a 4 inch lower roofline which contributes to much better driving dynamics. Oh they say. That pretty much sums up the Venza. Even Toyota didn?t know what this was. Is it a SUV, is it a Wagon, a car, or is it a Crossover? Motor trend hinted that they may have given this the SUV/Truck of the year award in 09 except Toyota insisted that this was a car, and MT wasn?t buying that. The answer is, it?s all of the above. A stylish Crossover really. It even handles pretty well with firmer suspension and decent handling thanks to the 19 inch tires. It really is the Un-Toyota. Think of it as the working man?s Audi Q5, which is probably why the Toyota faithful shunned it. Too bad. This is a great road and commuter car, with limousine like leg room. After cross shopping every SUV/Crossover out there of 2013/2014 vintage, nothing came close to this in terms of features, driving dynamics and price. Came this close to buying an Audi Q5 (we also own a late model Audi), but this was 10K cheaper and really is almost as good as the Audi driving wise. These are now orphans since they were discontinued so major deals are out there. The good: The 2.7 motor is plenty for this vehicle, even with AWD. The shifter location was not the deal breaker I thought it would be and the tiptronic feature does help to motivate things. All the car magazines say get the six because it gets the same MPG. But in the real world the six struggles to get over 20MPG while I?m getting 25 MPG with the four, a 25% improvement. And never once have I said this thing needs more zoom and I currently own some very fast cars (Camaro SS, Lotus). Plus the six is a service nightmare, check out water pump replacement, for example. The seats are very good; much better than any Toyota seat I?ve ever sat in. The backup camera is a nice addition although it and the display can be very to see in bright sunlight. Five hour drives and no issues. The JBL system is also very good, better than any JBL system from the past. Most people complain about the spongy brakes or weak A/C or vague electric steering or the sunroof leaking or making noises, yet this car has none of these issues even at 45K miles. My guess is that as Toyota quality slipped badly over the last decade that may be the factor in these cars. My suggestion is to do a 2 hour drive on all kinds of roads and see if any of these things pop up. The Bad: Toyota paint. This has to be some of the worst automotive paint ever. The attitude black color is beautiful but it?s so soft you can scratch it with your fingernail and chips VERY easy. The amount of orange peel in it on a car that cost?s over 35K is just unacceptable. I hate to see what this is going to look like ten years from now. Next a foot emergency brake, really? Toyota spent so much time designing this huge console that they left no room for a conventional e brake. The leather on the steering wheel and shifter is something I?ve never felt before I?m thinking road kill. The satin mahogany wood looks like I don?t know what. Also I?m not a fan of push button start, I have my reasons. 19 inch wheels look nice and add to the handling, but just wait until it?s time for tire replacement which can cost $1000 or more. The pano roof is nice but only opens about 12 inches max, what?s up with that, as the roof is over 90 inches long. No luggage rack with the sunroof, most other manufacturers offer one. Yet Toyota sees fit to offer no less that 10 cup holders in a vehicle that holds 5 people. The Distance to Empty readout is a joke; it?s off at least 100 miles. Fog Lights, they can?t be turned on unless the low beam headlights are on. These are FOG lights, Toyota you?re supposed to use them when you CAN?T use your headlights because it would reflect back. How come the window sweeps do not remove the morning dew when you roll the windows down? Speaking of windows, why can?t you open the rear window on the hatch without opening the rear hatch? Then there are tire pressure sensors. Toyota uses Tire pressure sensors unlike lot of manufacturers which have moved to using the abs tone ring instead. Each sensor must be manually logged in the Computer with a special device from the dealer. The problem is the computer only stores 4 sensors. People buy AWD because of bad weather and often run snow tires in the winter. This either requires mounting and dismounting on the same rim, a considerable expense or getting spare wheels with spare pressure sensors and having to take to the dealer and reprogram the computer each time to recognize which sensors are installed, also a considerable expense(fortunately you can clone aftermarket sensors now a days if you ?know? the original numbers). Also these sensors tend to leak air due to corrosion and have a finite battery life, all of wh
I just went over 1,000.00 miles on my 2014 Venza XLE FWD V6 after owning the car for 20 days. The most impressive thing about this vehicle is the 3.5 L V6. It is powerful, relatively quiet and works seamlessly with the 6 speed automatic transmission. I am averaging just over 20 mpg in mostly city driving thus far. I have observed up to 30 mpg on the computer in short highway trips traveling at 60 and 70 mph. (Hopefully these figures will improve even further as the engine gets fully broken in). The only negative that I need to write about is the jarring ride on rough pavement. Toyota must do a better job tuning the suspension to complement the 20 in. wheels. I like the roomy cabin.
I've only had my gray XLE AWD for a few days but so far I'm pleased. I was looking for a reliable, good looking ride with decent mpg and utility that's reasonably fun to drive. The Venza is great looking. The sheet metal which hasn't changed since the model was introduced in 2009 looks great from all angles and is enhanced with the bold 20" alloy wheels and the dual chrome tipped exhaust. Most notable change is the grill which looks good It's nicely equipped including the entune audio/nav system with backup camera, power tailgate, smart key, homelink Solid feel, reasonably fun to drive, quick and nimble. Good headroom (no sunroof) was essential as I'm 6'-6. Seats are comfortable.
Working on 4 years (62K miles) of ownership. Mileage remains about 21/22MPG though and occasionally ~24 but no better, somewhat disappointing. Reliability has continued to be first rate and what you'd expect from Toyota. The "premium" infotainment system continues to be an area ripe for improvement. The screen's to small and the GPS system logic comes up with befuddling directions at times and I haven't sprung for the map updates so instead just give up and use my phone and Google Maps. As others have noted the interior while nice enough you'd expect things a bit more luxurious in the "Limited" trim level. Toyota has ceased manufacturing the Venza but those in the market for a pre-owned crossover vehicle and don't need 3-row seating might find this a worthwhile choice.