By on February 25, 2013

Our recent looks at the Ford Edge Ecoboost and GMC Terrain prompted an email from a reader asking us to take a look at the 2013 Toyota Venza with these two American entries in mind. If you have a request or suggestion for a vehicle review, just click the contact link at the top of the page, or find us on Facebook and drop us a note.

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The Venza landed as a 2009 model year vehicle with a confusing mission: slot between the 7-seat RAV-4 and the 7-Seat Highlander as a 5-seat mid-sized crossover. The Lexus RX imitating shape of the Venza caused further confusion and the dimensions didn’t help either since the Venza is longer than the Highlander. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Toyota from shifting around 45,000 Venzas a year in America. If you think that number sounds low, you’re right. Ford sold 128,000 Edges and GM pumped out a whopping 316,000 soft-roaders between the Equinox and the Terrain.

Exterior

While many crossovers try to hide passenger car roots with boxy wheel arches truck-inspired grilles, the Venza is more open about its sedan origins. Think of the Venza as a modern Camry wagon. If you want a crossover that looks more butch, opt for the closely related Highlander. Just remember it is no more capable off-road than the Venza since they share engines, transmissions, AWD systems and have identical 8.1-inch ride heights. While the side and 3/4 profiles scream Lexus RX to me, the Venza shares incredibly little with the Lexus, for better or worse.

For 2013 Toyota has given the Venza a mild facelift grafting their corporate three-bar grille to the four-year old profile. Aside from the nose job the changes are fairly mild and boil down to new wheels, light modules, paint colors, and a few additional base features. While not a change to the Venza, the new RAV4 is no longer available in a 7-seat version making the Venza’s position in the lineup easier to understand.

Despite the tweaking, I find the Ford and GM crossovers more visually exciting, especially the GMC Terrain with its mini-truck clothes job. The Ford Edge is blander, but somehow manages a less controversial front bumper than the Venza. The American options are slightly larger but actually less capable off road since they have notably lower ground clearances. Before you flame in the comment section, I’m not discounting the CX-7, Satta Fe or Murano, but this is a somewhat large segment and our reader request asked specifically about a GM/Ford/Toyota shootout. (If we did drop those three into the mix the Santa Fe would have been given my nod in the looks department.)

Interior

The Venza’s interior is starting to show its age more than the competition. With a decidedly asymmetrical design, a dashboard mounted shifter and a somewhat boring gauge cluster, the Venza failed to push many of the right buttons for me aesthetically. Of course style is subjective so I’d like to know your thoughts below. On a functional level, the dashboard layout ranks low on my scale because of the three-display theme where the clock, thermometer, trip computer and climate readout are set high in the dashboard on a small LCD. In addition to this functional setback there is plenty of hard plastic in the cabin leaving the Venza at the back of the pack in terms of haptic bliss. You won’t find the RAV4′s stitched pleather dash bits in the Venza, and strangely enough we didn’t find Toyota’s usual attention to detail either. Our tester’s dashboard had some ill-fitting trim and speaker grills which bugged me all week. Hopefully Toyota will refresh the Venza’s interior soon, although if you have kids that are rough on cars, hard plastic might be what you need, it holds up better in the long run.

For 2013, all Venza models get a power driver’s seat and dual-zone climate control standard. Should you opt for the higher trim levels, Toyota will toss in a power passenger throne as well. Regardless of your trim level and fabric choice, the Venza’s seats aren’t as comfortable on long car trips as the competition. Nobody in this segment provides a huge range of motion or much lateral bolstering in their front seats but the Venza’s seemed particularly flat and thin. With any vehicle purchase, try to get a long test drive or extended seat time at the dealer lot. Spend time in the seats to decide which vehicle is better at keeping your sciatica at bay.

The modern crossover is the spiritual successor to the station wagon and minivan. This shows in the back with thoughtful touches like reclining seat backs, available rear seat entertainment systems that have dual independent DVD players, fairly good visibility and seat bottom cushions that are fairly low to the floor. The low seat cushions mean that adults on long car trips may find their legs need a bit more support but kids will be happier with the seating position.

All Venzas swallow 36 cubic feet of IKEA purchases, notably larger than the American competition despite the fact that the Ford an GM CUVs are longer than the Venza. While the rear seats fold completely flat, the front passenger seat doesn’t fold making it harder to get long and bulky items inside. An important item overlooked by some CUV reviews is the payload capacity. The Venza’s 825lbs rating is adequate for four American-sized guys and a French poodle, while the Terrain’s 1,146lb payload could accommodate the same four dudes and 60 bricks from Home Depot. Not that either shopper is likely to encounter the latter situation.

Infotainment

Venzas start out with Toyota’s easy-to-use “Display Audio” system which features a 6.1-inch touchscreen LCD, USD/iDevice integration and Bluetooth streaming and speakerphone. The base system is easy to use and allows full access of your music device via the on-screen commands. Optional on base Venza models and standard on XLE and Limited is Toyota’s Entune software. Entune is analogous to Ford’s SYNC product, something we’ve seen for ages allowing the same level of voice command interaction with your music device and other aspects of the audio system. Entune’s voice responses are more polished than Ford’s thanks to its more recent design. Response times are snappy and the system’s accuracy was equal to the other systems on the market. Entune also allows smartphone app integration with the system so you can use the radio interface to control your Pandora streaming, search Bing for destinations and make reservations via Open Table. Originally compatible only with iOS devices, the system is now fully functional with most current Android devices.

Base and XLE buyers also have the option of adding on Toyota’s basic navigation software which acts like an “app” on the system and uses your smartphone for traffic and weather data rather than a satellite subscription service. The downside? You can’t access these services without a smartphone, so if you haven’t joined the 21st century and are still using a Motorola StarTac, you won’t be able Bing while you roll.  The audio quality from the base speaker package is merely average, if you care about your tunes XLE models can be had with the  $1,850 premium package which adds 13 JBL speakers (including a subwoofer) and a power moonroof.

Venza Limited models come standard with the up-level JBL speakers but strangely use an entirely different 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The 7-inch system should be familiar with any late model Toyota or Lexus owners as this is essentially the same software they have used for some time. The larger system uses a hard drive for navigation data and has a larger pre-programmed database built in. Toyota has updated this system to allow the same Entune app integration and music device voice control as the lower-end unit, but there’s a catch. If you want traffic data to show on this navigation screen you’ll need an XM Nav Traffic subscription since it won’t pull the data via your smartphone.

Compared to MyFord Touch, the Venza’s systems all have smaller touchscreens and lack the visual polish of Ford’s system. Entune doesn’t offer Ford’s easy-to-use voice text messaging assistant, the dual LCDs in the gauge cluster or the ability to voice command your climate control. In Toyota’s defense, Entune didn’t crash or freeze during our week (unlike MyFord Touch). Does that make Ford the winner here? No, that goes to GM with their new touchscreen infotainment system that beats both systems in terms of response, graphics and the smoothness of the voice command interactions.

Drivetrain

While the competition is toying with boosted four cylinder engines, Toyota sticks with a more traditional four/six cylinder lineup for the Venza. The base engine in all trims is the same 2.7L four-cylinder engine as the Highlander and Sienna. Cranking out 181HP and 182lb-ft of torque the four cylinder scores 20MPG City, 26 Highway and 23MPG combined in FWD form and 20/26/22 when equipped with Toyota’s AWD system.

Should you need more shove, Toyota offers their ubiquitous 3.5L V6 for $1,820. This isn’t Toyota’s direct-injection six, but it does get dual variable valve timing to churn out 268HP at 6,200RPM and 248lb-ft of twist at 4,700RPM. Like the 2.7L engine the V6 is mated to Toyota’s 6-speed automatic transaxle. The extra shove may cost you more initially but it won’t cost you much at the pump with the FWD V6 having an identical highway mileage score and dropping only one MPG in the city. Add AWD and the numbers drop to 18/25/21 according to the EPA.

If you live in the snow belt, the optional AWD will set you back $1,450 with either engine. The system worked well on gravel roads and slick, leaf-covered back country lanes, but is decidedly slip-and-grip in feel. From a standstill in the Ford and GM crossovers, planting your foot on the throttle is a drama-free experience as the AWD system acts immediately preventing wheel spin in most circumstances. The Venza on the other hand one-wheel-peels for a short while before the system sends power to the back. While this arrangement is slightly less refined, it is unlikely to cause much of a problem en route to the ski resort.

Let’s be honest, nobody buys crossovers or SUVs for their on-road prowess. Of course that puts the crossover in something of a pickle since, unlike an SUV, they aren’t designed for off road use either. Rather the modern crossover is trying to be everything to everyone, the perfect family hauler, cargo schlepper, weekend ski shuttle,  and commuter car all while trying desperately to look like anything other than a minivan or station wagon. The result with the Venza is a fairly tall, softly spring crossover with a fuel efficient V6 engine and optional AWD. While far from sloppy out on the back roads, the Venza tips, dives and rolls more than my sedan-biased preferences care for. Compared to the GMC Terrain, the Venza feels far less composed and despite being smaller than the GMC, it feels much larger on the road. GM’s 3.6L direct-injection V6 delivers 301HP and 272lb-ft of torque and the difference is noticeable on the road and at the pump with V6 AWD Terrain only serving up 16/23MPG. Meanwhile the Edge’s optional 3.5L V6 lands in the middle in terms of power and economy.

Our V6 AWD Limited tester rang in a $41,904 which is a few hundred more than a comparably equipped Ford Edge but $3,639 more than a comparably equipped GMC Terrain while the Equinox is a bit cheaper still. This placed my final ranking as follows: GMC Terrain, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Equinox and lastly the Toyota Venza. While I wouldn’t rank the Venza last in the entire segment, its age is starting to show and without some attention from Toyota to the interior quality and feel issues, the Venza will continue to sell largely on its reputation for reliable and dependable service.

 

 Toyota provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.2 Seconds

0-60: 6.3 Seconds

 1/4 Mile: 14.9 Seconds at 93 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 21.5MPG over 658 Miles

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44 Comments on “Review: 2013 Toyota Venza (Video)...”


  • avatar
    tced2

    My folks have a 2010 Venza and I have driven the vehicle extensively. One of the main features is what I call “straight-in seating”. Entering the car doesn’t require going up or down.
    The driving is just ok. Steering is light and power (4-cylinder) is barely ok. The car just feels heavy and I can feel a bit of body flex.
    MPG is about the rating – 27 mpg on the highway.
    I agree with your comments about the poorly aligned speaker grilles. The edges of the grilles aren’t even with the adjoining dashboard. I don’t understand the dashboard design or it’s understanding of “design for assembly”. It seems like there are so many various pieces and materials that it is doomed to being assembled incorrectly. I am bugged by the ill-fiting speaker grilles too – I have repeatedly pushed on the uneven edges to no avail.
    The gearshift gate is unnecessarily complex (and big). I guess I just don’t get the whole dashboard design.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I never saw the point of Toyota having this and the Highlander. And similar for Ford and the Edge/Explorer.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Is the Flex too big to be eligible to compare?

    I kinda like the Venza, but I kinda liked the Pacifica (from afar).. A diesel version would be nice, and I’m too lazy to care about a stick in a car these days..

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Not to split hairs but this review and ranking seem to put a lot of emphasis on styling. I happen to find the Terrain pretty awful to look at but that’s subjective. What isn’t subjective is that the Terrain and Equinox are 95% the same car yet somehow the Terrain is ranked above the Edge while the Equinox is below it. Hard to explain unless you really love the Terrain’s styling and/or hate the Equinox’.

    • 0 avatar
      bnolt

      I too think the ranking of the Terrain over the Equinox is styling preference. Personally, I think it’s a rolling eyesore. Seems to be walking the lines between rugged, aggressive, and primitive, in a cartoon characterish sort of way. Others certainly see it differenty, but the word refined isn’t what first springs to my mind. GM seems to have a penchant for this sort of thing. When I see a Camaro, I immediately think of the ‘Cars’ movies. The interior doesn’t do anything to dispell my impression. The Venza is a little awkward looking from the a pillar forward, otherwise sort of “Meh, typical Toyota”.

    • 0 avatar
      bluestar

      Alex, you had me at hello, but you lost me at “I find the Terrain attractive”, The Terrain actually makes repugnant sound good. Style as they say is in the eye of the beholder, and to me the Venza as with the RX350 have great lines.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Like it or not, these are the station wagons of today. Perfect for those who don’t want the “stigma” of owning a minivan – or a station wagon, for that matter. Don’t get me started on the diesel manual thing, either – tired argument, just like my pillarless hardtop lamentation!

    I know someone who has a Venza, an older one, and he really likes it. I must admit I kind of like it, too, but GM’s offerings would be my choice, especially the Terrain – a very stylish brick.

    The Venza has been rated lower that other Toyotas in the past by CR for reasons unclear to me, but I don’t care a lot about what they say anyhow – just another good source of info.

    However – my REAL love is the Ford Flex – I drooled all over one at our auto show this weekend, even if the sticker read 58K! Now that a real station wagon! Should be called “Country Squire” with no apologies.

    All in all, plenty of choices for everyone, even if vehicles from Toyota seem to fall all over one another trying to find their niche in the line-up.

  • avatar
    segfault

    The wood trim in the Venza may be the worst I’ve seen on a current vehicle.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I really liked the leather piping and the interior seemed premium when it first came out. The new Avalon is like that, too. It seems really cool and avant-garde when it first comes out, but then the lack of plastics quality and strangely asymmetric design lets you down.

    The hard plastics really bug me. It’s like the new Sienna in that regard. It looks nice until you touch it…

    Btw, it says Satta Fe?

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I think that a comparison to an H6 equipped Outback Limited could also be made.

    • 0 avatar
      Franken-Subie

      Yep, buy the Outback and pocket 6 grand.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Actually, here in New England, Toyota uses a TV ad to compare the “stylish” Venza buyer against the harachi-wearing, short,squat, unkempt,scraggly-bearded Outback buyer. It’s one of the most tasteless,wrong headed ads I can remember from Toyota. If I had responsibility for Toyota’s public image, that Venza TV ad would never have been aired. Somewhere in ad agency vapor, there’s an agency that deserves to lose their Toyota account. Instead of misrepresenting the Outback buyer by a mile, better to leave any mention of the Suby out of the ad entirely. And the Venza AWD is $40,000? Little wonder that Outback outsells it by a mile here in New England.

  • avatar
    red60r

    First dash-mouinted shifter? My Mom’s 1955 Plymouth had that (2-speed Powerflyte).

    • 0 avatar
      ixlar8

      I had one on my 63 Pontiac Tempest 4 cylinder, rope drive coupe!

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        …and beginning in 1960, Chevrolet Corvair had the Powerglide lever in the instrument panel,too, but ‘Red60R’ was correct, that was a hallmark of the 1955 only Chrysler Corp cars, before switching to push button automatic selection beginning for 1956 Chrysler Corp cars.

  • avatar
    Franken-Subie

    So I’m obviously a homer in this context, but I don’t see the value proposition in the Venza over a Subaru Outback.

    On the base end, a comparable 4cyl Outback is around 25k and a 4cyl Venza w/ AWD is nearly 30
    A loaded H6 Outback is around 34k and a loaded Venza V6 AWD is 41k.

    Am I missing something?

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      If you buy at the right time, you can get an Outback for even less than that.

      I bought a new stripper Outback w/ auto in 2008 for $18.5k, after a $2k rebate and 0% financing. Made the stealership throw in the rugged floor mats, grocery net, and the trunk cover too. And this was done in Seattle where 100k-mile Outbacks were going for $10k even in the pre-Cash-for-Clunker days.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        In 2008 car sales fell off the cliff; new car buyers were awfully hard to find that year. For the few that were spending money there were great deals to be had. For desirable cars those days have passed.

        If you were a real buyer in 2008 I wouldn’t be shocked if the dealer thew his wife or daughter into the deal, let alone floor mats.

    • 0 avatar

      One Venza owner that I know jumped from a Subie, albeit an older one. Maybe Outback is just too small for the demographic.

  • avatar
    slance66

    It’s amazing what people cross-shop in this segment. I need to replace my wife’s Lexus RX350 in a year or so, and I was considering the Venza and the Outback and maybe the Edge (hate the grill). New Acura RX has a shot as well. The Terrain? I can’t get over the square wheel arches. Ugliest car in the class in my view.

    Alex is the steering as vague, numb and lifeless as in an older RX350? Unless Toyota has improved it, I’m not getting another one. Steering in our old Tribeca was superb, so maybe the Outlook deserves first shot. I think the new Escape is worth a look and of course my wife likes the Evoque (or an X3).

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Am I just not very familiar with the vehicles in this segment, or is that pretty awful mileage?

    And the price? Yowza.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Sirwired,

      It is pretty typical mileage. Part of my frustration is in finding a AWD wagon type vehicle that isn’t a tiny POS and still gets 22+ in suburban driving. Other than the Mini Countryman (tiny but not a POS) almost nothing does. I think the new 4 cyl turbos, as in the Escape may finally do better. Volvo XC70 MPG sucks too…much worse than the old 5 cyl turbo models.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        It’s hard to believe that the mileage on the Venza is as low as it is. My 05 Durango with the Hemi gets 22mpg on the highway at 75mph, and it is a truck that weighs 5000+ pounds and can tow another 9000.

        I actually like the look of the Venza but I couldn’t rationalize buying it to save 10 gallons of gas per month.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    6.3 seconds to sixty – for some perspective, that’s .4 second slower than the original SVT Cobra. Fast little bugger. I love the 2GR-FE, regardless of it’s on-paper numbers: it’s SO smooth, great mid-range torque, with non of the high-rpm blender feel that plagues the Ford V6 or the Nissan 3.5/3.7 (which at least rewards you with copious power.)

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Boy, I have to agree on the smoothness of the Toyota V6. The Honda V6 is in the same class but a bit noisier yet more direct feeling. Great engines both. The new Chrysler Pentastar V6 is not as refined but made by the bucketload compared to these two. Then there’s the ubiquitous GM High Feature V6 (code for dohc) whose refinement seems to vary depending in which vehicle it’s mounted. Can’t comment on the Ford V6s, no experience.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    To make things extra confusing…

    The Rav4 appears to offer more tow capacity (1500 vs 1000 lbs) and a little more cargo space (38 vs 36 cu ft with seats up and a similar difference with seats down).

    And it’s about $4K less. I’m having a hard time understanding why anyone would want a Venza over a less expensive Rav4 (or Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V). And the fuel economy is what I’d consider poor, higher operating cost is not a plus.

  • avatar
    mickiemac

    2011 Venza FWD V6 (loaded) owner here. Traded 2007 HH on Venza – more room, better features (pano roof, power liftgate, keyless go) and about the same mpg (25-26 mpg). The HH had better build quality (made in Japan) but the Venza has more contemporary styling (subjective) and overall nicer looking interior than HH. The powertrain is a gem – quick and quiet, handles well enough for me. If 2nd gen. Venza has a hybrid option and upgraded interior appointments I’m in. I did look at the Rav4 – too small inside and the mini-SUV styling was a turn-off. I paid about 2K more for my loaded Venza over a similarly equipped Rav4. No matter what type of acronym is used to describe the Venza, it’s a fastback station wagon which is fine with me.

  • avatar

    Most car divisions seem to have that bastard-child model that they don’t much care about. This is Toyota’s. At the Lexus division, it’s the GX 460, which is one of the few midsized body-on-frame SUVs still around, and which is the only Lexus model to not (yet) receive the spindle-grille, midlife-crisis-styling redux…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    “Rather the modern crossover is trying to be everything to everyone, the perfect family hauler, cargo schlepper, weekend ski shuttle, and commuter car all while trying desperately to look like anything other than a minivan or station wagon.” Hahaha, well said Alex. Sad though that our vanity has driven vehicle design that far.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Those different shaped plastic panels and their associated gaps on the dash are very offensive. It looks like an early 90s Buick up in there! That speaker edge and right side center vent would drive me nuts, and I’d not buy one just for that reason.

    Also agree with prior comment that the wood is TERRIBLY fake. My Atari 2600 had better wood.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I also noticed fit/finish issues on the 2012 Acura MDX, which was the exact fit and finish problem that TTAC noticed in its review for the 2010 Acura MDX.

      It’s definitely surprising to see similar fitting problems on this Toyota Venza. That right center vent would drive me crazy too.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I hope Honda turns things around with the new Accord.

    I’ve given up on their “premium” stablemate, Acura, as overpriced, milquetoast shit boxes.

    I see Toyota continuing to fall into the depths of hell now, too, and I can’t think of a single Lexus that’s the equal of its predecessor, with the IS and GS (and that hatchback whatever it is) being particularly heinous vehicles.

    And this Venza looks like ass.

    The overwhelming majority of cars/trucks peaked in quality between the mid 1990s (Germans) and 2004ish-2005ish (Japanese, some domestics).

    Get off of my lawn.

  • avatar
    chrishs2000

    “The Venza’s 825lbs rating is adequate for four American-sized guys and a French poodle, while the Terrain’s 1,146lb payload could accommodate the same four dudes and 60 bricks from Home Depot.”

    How is it possibly so low? My ’03 Accord Coupe is rated at 850lbs! I put 52 landscaping blocks and several cubic feet of mulch in it last summer. I estimated it at 1200lbs. Yes, the rear wheels were tucking like crazy and engaging first gear was a nightmare, but she made it the 5 miles just fine.

    I still don’t understand why anyone needs a ‘crossover’ unless they need a 3rd row seat and don’t want a minivan. The payload capacity, which is probably the same as the Camry, just speaks to what a poseur car this is.

    I often wonder what these owners do when their Edge, Venza etc hits 30 or 40k miles and all of a sudden they need brand new 19″ or 20″ tires at $1500+.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “I often wonder what these owners do when their Edge, Venza etc hits 30 or 40k miles and all of a sudden they need brand new 19″ or 20″ tires at $1500+.”

      FWIW, I looked up what 245/55R19s (standard for Highlander and Venza, I believe) cost at Tire Rack, and even the most expensive choice was a little over $900 for 4.

      55 series tires don’t cost nearly as much generally as 40 series which are more like $300 each for a nice set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports, so you wouldn’t even hit $1500 there unless you’re buying them from the stealership.

  • avatar
    xantia10000

    I find the review of Venza’s styling and interior a bit unfair. I happen to like the Venza’s coherent style and big wheels. I find the GMC Terrain to be gimmicky and wannabe SUV. The Edge front end is modern and curvaceous, incongruously tacked onto angular sheetmetal aft.

    As for the interior, the above cars use plenty of hard plastic, especially on the lower instrument panel and door trims. The Edge looks strange once again, with a modern IP sandwiched between those old, hard plastic door panels from the original mid-2000s design. Venza at least has a nice soft-touch dash with an intersting pattern.

    You failed to mention the instrument panel’s utility. There is a clever center storage system, with a huge console box, deep enough to hold a laptop or purse. Also included are sliding cupholders and armrest, and an integrated iPod holder with cable/wire management.

    The small center TFT display is there to allow a rear-view camera display on non-navi-equipped vehicles, thus making this safety equipment available on lower-priced trim levels. This display also has configurable font size (presumably for targeted elderly drivers).

    Did you test the headlamps? They are specially designed to meet US customer demands, with an extra long low beam reach for highway driving. On top trims they switch automatically between low and high beam.

    Overall, I think there is a lot of attention to detail for the Venza’s targeted customer.

  • avatar
    MrBillG59

    Does anyone know if you can replace the struts on a Venza and drop it to street level like a Camry SE? I’ve got a Subaru 2.5GT Wagon with street-level suspension and I would never consider buying an Outback.

  • avatar
    hacgumyu

    I know it’s hard to justify buying a venza when it cost 5k More than cx5 or outback at similar trim and feature. You really need to test drive them all in person, not on paper.

    Honda crv: everything average, I honestly can’t find anything special about it. Standard features less than most in class. power, look, feel, price…. Nothing standout, but nothing is worst either.

    Cx5: I really like this car, look sharp, handle good, low gas, low price, awesome standard features in mid trim model. Major letdown on horrible cargo noise (you need to dynamat the whole car to make it better)and lack of power. Back row too tight for 3 adults, even in my asain sizes.

    Outback: great awd. Priced well, roof rack Standard on all trim? But don’t you see one every 30 seconds on the freeway and they all appears to be in navy blue or lime green? And it’s still a sedan feel to me.(drop hip/back to seat)

    Venza: most expensive, eats most gas (23mpg mixed v6 awd)! Can’t tow much weight. Side roll more when fast cornering. Some cheap plastic interior that doesn’t feel like belong to this pricey car.

    Why I brought a Venza?
    Straight in seat my parent with bad knees can get in with ease. Very roomy, rear row fit 4 asain adults as I tried once. if you have baby and car seat, it’s a life/back saver with the straight in and room. Quiet ride, soft suspension. Best power v6 in list I drove, Climbs hill steady and fast.

    At the end of my car shopping day, I feel good about spending 5k more than the 2nd favorite cx5. Assume you don’t race with crossovers , venza actually suits daily life the best. Your family comfort is worth the extra well spend cash.

    Minor things to note. Toyota free 2 years care, and 0% 5yrs financing help make the call.


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