Listeners have been inquiring about the new 2009 Toyota Venza for over a year, and I finally got around to driving it. If I only had 30 words to complete this review, I could sum it up by saying “they thought of everything”.
The test Venza was Barcelona Red with tan leather interior and as usual, was completely loaded except for all-wheel drive. The vehicle has very nice lines and 20” alloy wheels give it a very sporty appearance. Although Venza is based on the Camry chassis, you would never guess that by looking at it.
Inside you are met with spacious interior with beautiful wood and contrasting colors. The dash is well laid out and the gauges are a pleasing blue at night. A huge center stack runs between the front seats and transitions into the dash and is quite striking. Toyota used every inch of space for cubbyholes, including a place you can stand up a cell phone or ipod with a spring loaded fastener to fit every device.
Under the hood, you find the reliable and fuel-efficient 3.5 liter V6 dual overhead cam engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission just like Camry. It is smooth with good acceleration, yet even with this vehicle being of good size, you do not sacrifice good fuel economy. I consistently achieved 20 in town and 27 on the road, averaging 23 overall. Not bad at all.
It is clear Toyota made everything lower in this vehicle for ease of use. It is very easy to get in and out of; things are super easy to load in the back thanks to a lower opening and large rear door. The second row seating is split 60/40 and folds down to make a massive cargo area if needed.
Yes, Toyota thought of everything with this one. As tested, MSRP was $36,774. A four-cylinder version will arrive later in the year for those that want to save some money. But if you drive the Venza, odds are you’ll drive home in one!