By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2009 Toyota Venza. It competes with the Ford Edge and Subaru Tribeca.
<v Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Dave Thomas of cars.com and we're here with the all new 2009 Toyota Venza. This is a new vehicle for Toyota. It's part car, part crossover, part SUV, and a whole lot of funny name.
But besides that name, there's a lot of utility and a lot of new features that we'll walk you through. Toyota is not really known for aggressive styling, but they've gone aggressive here with the Venza especially with this grill upfront. It's really crazy looking, kind of reminds me of an alien from that famous movie series. Now moving around, another eye grabbing feature are the wheels. Standard are 19's, these are 20's. They come standard on the V-6 model. That is huge. Most models of any kind don't come with the wheels that big. Toyota Highlander SUV, for example, 17's and 18's are standard. Overall though, we're glad Toyota kind of went with an aggressive look one way or the other, 'cause you definitely won't miss this one. The Venza comes standard, with the four cylinder engine. It's good for 29 miles per gallon per highway, 21 miles per gallon city. The V6 we have here, it's good for 26 miles per gallon highway, 19 miles per gallon city. Now the good thing is Venza does come with available all wheel drive that'll dock you a mile per gallon on any of those ratings. Two groups of buyers that would be perfect for the Venza are young families with just two kids or active baby boomers. Active baby boomers, what does that mean? Boomers that liked to play golf especially. I've tested a lot of cars and SUV's over the years. One real problem is getting four sets of golf bags in the back and carrying four people with ease. And let me tell you the Venza does it in a terrific way. Trust me for a crossover like this, to have this much room in the back. That's a big deal. You wouldn't call the Venza inexpensive. It starts at $26,000 for the four cylinder, $28,000, roughly for the V-6. Luckily it's very nice. Toyota does a great job with interiors for the most part. It's a very nice wood grain, really high quality leather, and even the cloth seats in the base model are quite nice. One thing done really well, are the ergonomics of the interior, especially stuff like cup holders on the cubbies. There's a little spot here for a cell phone or an iPod or some kind of gadget. You kind of just put it right here and there's a little spring loader there. So it stays in place when you're driving. There's also a really neat center console. You slide it back, there's this huge area down here. There's a place for your cables for power and for auxiliary jack for audio and cable management. So it comes right up through the bottom and can plug into whatever you have there. Really convenient. Also all the stuff slides around. So you can slide the arm rest back, open it up. There's even more storage back here. Really nifty. The past few years, everyone's been talking about three row crossovers, and more and more have been introduced on the market. The Venza's only two rows. So there's no third row, no extra people. Now that's too bad for big families, but if you only have two kids, the Venza's a great option. Now I have a standard child's seat here in the center, which you would do for one child. And it's obviously plenty of room, I'm sitting next to it. Lots of room for either side, having people on either side. Now, if you have two kids, two seats on either side, that would fit great as well. Now check out this leg room. If I sit back straight here in the seat, there is a ton of leg room. check out the headroom, and that's with a panoramic sunroof in here cutting into that space. Like I said, lots of room. You won't find this much room on almost any car in any class. So that's great for the Venza. We've talked about families and we've talked about baby boomers. But you don't want to get lost in marketing terminology. The bottom line on the Venza, there's lots of room, lots of room for passengers and lots of room for cargo. Now there are a couple drawbacks, but looks might stop anyone from even coming into a dealership. And once they're in, a price tag starting at $26,000 could put the brakes on too. But if everything else looks good to you, definitely check it out. <v Narrator>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog, KickingTires.net.
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