A large five-seat hatchback, the Toyota Venza has been lightly restyled for 2013 and now offers more standard features and updated option packages. Trim levels are LE, XLE and Limited with four- or six-cylinder engines and front- or all-wheel drive. Competitors include the Ford Edge, Honda Crosstour and Subaru Outback.
The Venza combines the interior space of an SUV with the lower center of gravity and family friendliness of a large wagon. For 2013, the upper and lower grilles are redone, and the fog lights and taillights have been tweaked. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard; 20-inch rims come with the V-6. Three new paint colors are Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl and Cosmic Gray Mica.
The base Venza LE features an eight-way driver's seat with power adjustment, including lumbar. The Venza XLE adds leather to the seats, steering wheel and shift knob, as well as driver's seat memory, a four-way power passenger seat and heaters for both front seats. A 60/40-split backseat and retractable cargo cover are standard.
Brightly backlit gauges and a 3.5-inch multi-information display are standard. A larger, center display comes on the XLE and Limited trim levels. Other standard features include dual-zone climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, three 12-volt power outlets, and the Display Audio system, which includes a 6.1-inch touch-screen, auxiliary and USB ports and Bluetooth streaming audio.
Options include a power liftgate, backup camera, panoramic glass roof and navigation. The Entune option enhances entertainment, communication and information choices by interfacing with compatible smartphones, adding features like Pandora internet radio.
Under the Hood
The Venza's engine choices include a 181-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a 268-hp
3.5-liter V-6. Both engines mate to a six-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive.
Standard safety features include seven airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and side curtains to protect the front and rear seats. The seventh is a driver's knee airbag. The front seats also have active head restraints.
As required, the Venza has antilock brakes and an electronic stability system.