The 2013 Toyota Venza is an aerodynamic attempt to cross SUV space, towing and performance with aesthetic appeal and a stylish exterior. The 2013 model improves on the standard conveniences and adds value and style to an already established norm, bringing more to the table than last year’s model.
Three trim packages are available for the Venza, and those are the LE, XLE and Limited. Those packages all are available in the eye-popping and tongue-tripping colors of, Blizzard Pearl, Golden Umber Mica, Magnetic Grey Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Sunset Bronze Mica, Cypress Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Attitude Black and Cosmic Gray Mica.
This year’s model has radial tires on aluminum alloy rims, privacy glass on rear side, quarter and liftgate windows, and color-keyed exterior door handles and mirrors. With other features including chrome tipped exhaust (dual on the six-cylinder models), UV reduction glass, an acoustic designed front windshield and a blind spot mirror to minimize the chance of accidents during lane changes, this vehicle almost breathes class. Its windshield wiper comes standard with a de-icer feature — only adding to the feeling of luxury that comes standard in this SUV.
The outer lighting features of the Venza are nothing short of impressive. The vehicle has Daytime Running Lights that can be switched on and off, built-in fog lamps, puddle lamps, projector-beam headlamps, outer mirror turn signals (on heated outside mirrors, it should be noted) and a rear spoiler with an LED center high mount stop lamp.
The Venza is available in both a four-cylinder and six-cylinder in the LE and XLE models, while the Limited is available only with a V6 engine. All three are available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). For those requiring significant towing power, a tow package is available for the V6 that allows a maximum towing weight of 3,500 lbs. The four-cylinder, which does not have the additional tow package available, can tow up to 1,000 lbs. This is more than sufficient for the average camper or traveler’s needs.
The 3.5-liter V6 engine offers 268 horsepower and 246 lb.-ft of torque, while the four-cylinder boasts 181 horsepower and 182 lb.-ft of torque. The V6 with FWD is expected to get 19/26 mpg for city and highway travel respectively, while the AWD option has a projected 18/25 mpg ratio for city and highway travel, respectively. The expected fuel economy for the four-cylinder FWD model is 21 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg for highway travel. The four-cylinder AWD loses only slightly in comparison, with 20 mpg expected in city traffic and 25 mpg for longer highway excursions.
These engines may or may not be a little too smart for their drivers, however, as a technology known as ECT-i, or electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence, it not only chooses the right gear for uphill and downhill portions of the drive, it also provides moderate engine braking for the downhill segment. The AWD system also includes Active Torque Control that distributes the torque optimally between the front and rear wheels, with the intended result of better corner handling. Smoother transitions during acceleration are also projected thanks to the Active Torque Control feature.
The Venza also provides a substantial level of comfort for up to five adults. The vehicle comes standard with power windows that feature an automatic up/down and jam protection design, power locks with a shift-based automatic lock/unlock feature, an above the head console with lights for map reading and sunglass storage. It has a center console with a dual storage compartment, two front lighted cup holders, an iPod and an MP3 player holder and wire management features. There are also rear reading lights, a cargo light and three 12V auxiliary power outlets, two in the front and one in the cargo area.
The Venza also comes standard with Bluetooth technology that permits drivers to use their cell phones hands-free phone with voice-command controls in the steering wheel, an outside temperature reading, a clock and fuel economy information, average speed and trip distance displays. The interior for the LE is fabric-trimmed and includes an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and four-way adjustable front passenger seat. Both the XLE and Limited offer leather trim, and the eight-way adjustable driver’s seat also offers memory function, heat and power lumbar support. All three offer one-touch fold-flat rear seats.
Each model of the Venza comes with an entertainment system that puts the E in enjoyment. A 6.1-inch touch screen is standard, with an AM/FM CD player that is capable of MP3 and WMA playback, six speakers and a USB port to connect smartphones or other music devices. The XLE and Limited models also have Entune, which provides access to features like Bing, OpenTable, MovieTickets and Pandora. This allows the trip to reach an unplanned destination without an interruption to search for phone numbers and make last-minute reservations or ticket purchases.
Seven airbags, including driver and front passenger seat-installed side air bags, the Advanced Airbag System, a knee airbag for the driver and front and rear side curtain airbags, are the initial reassurance that Toyota takes safety seriously. Its comprehensive seating positions offer 3-point seatbelts and there are front and back force-absorbing crumple areas with side-impact door beams. Add that to the already commendable STAR Safety System Toyota installs in all its vehicles, and this SUV provides great style, handling and reassurance of safety when taking to the roads. Toyota also includes an Anti-Lock Brake System, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Smart Stop Technology.
In addition, Brake Assist, Traction Control and enhanced Vehicle Stability Control provide assurances to drivers and passengers alike that road conditions will be less of a determining factor in the handling of their vehicle. All Venza models also have Hill-Start Assist Control, so that starting on a hill can be done with no chance of rollback and potential contact with other vehicles. In addition, for the safety-conscious parent, the LATCH system is installed on outboard rear seats, and there are child-protector rear door locks.
Pricing for the Venza begins at $27,700 and can go to roughly $38,800 with the higher class luxury add-ons. A higher price for the V6 may be a concession interested buyers seriously consider, as the power of the V6 is not to be taken lightly.