San Antonio.- Late last year Toyota celebrated building its 25 millionth vehicle in America. That is a testament to this manufacturer’s ability to provide a quality product for the consumer, consistently for over 75 years. No one is going to argue the aggressive manner in which Toyota has set trends in the automotive world in that timeframe.
The Toyota Venza was born in 2005 and is currently being built in Georgetown, Kentucky. The 2013 model does not have any real major changes to the 2012 model minus some style cues like new grille, new taillight design and a new 19-inch wheel design.
Additionally what you find under the hood is also for the most part unchanged. There are four-cylinder and V-6 models that can be purchased in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive version. The base engine produces 182 horsepower, while the V-6 can generate a sprite 268 hp. EPA ratings for the Venza is averaging 21 mpg city, 27 highway (or as low as 18/25 for the V-6 all wheel drive version.
The 2013 Toyota Venza is a five-seat crossover with pretty good cargo space, plenty of room for passengers so they don’t feel cramped when taking extended rides to grandma’s house. The ride is not as stiff as an SUV, nor does it have the smooth ride of a sedan, but you do sit higher than say a Camry, and you have plenty of maneuverability that you expect in a crossover. At the same time, you give up some of the sporty feel that some crossovers will give you for the more comfortable ride. It’s all give and take.
The Venza has a nice set of “standard equipment” across all of its models. The Venza comes in an LE, XLE, and Limited trim. The Venza LE includes a blind-spot mirror and outer mirror turn signals with puddle lamps. A dual-zone automatic climate control system with second-row-seat vents keeps everyone comfortable, a 3.5-inch LCD multi-information display, a 6.1-inch touch-screen infotainment interface help making your multimedia selections a snap.
But this infotainment set up was made to interface with your smart phone, so it provides you with an auxiliary audio jack, or a USB port to connect your media player to a six-speaker stereo, that has lots of bump. The XLE trim of the Vensa provides a navigation system the Entune media system, beautiful leather-trimmed seats, pushbutton start, a power lift gate, a backup camera, and an anti-theft system and more.
The Limited enlarges the 6.1-inch infotainment display to a full seven inches, which is massive and adds an upgraded navigation system, a panoramic glass roof that lets the moon light in and HID headlamps.
On the outside the Venza has a sleek, low profile look, almost aggressive. It seems to me that the grille is a bit bolder than before. The lower inlet has a traditional crosshatch pattern with some chrome added for looks. Fog lamps remain set into the lower fascia, but also have a touch of chrome to make them pop.
By the way the Venza comes in three new colors—Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl, and Cosmic Gray Mica. Can’t we just call it black, cream and gray? Bottom line the Venza may be the answer to your mobility prayers. Not as big and bulky as an SUV, more room than a sedan, and handles just fine with some sporty snap to it, great gas mileage, good looks and the Toyota promise of exceptional quality and long-term affordability.
Here is a review of the model I drove: Engine: V-6, 3.5 liter, 24v with 268 horse power/246 foot-pounds of torque which is great. The Venza weighs 4,045 pounds and has a fuel economy of 18 city, and 25 highway. The cargo capacity was at 36.2 cu feet, which is exceptional and you get it all for the base price of $34,630. A steal, not really, but a great investment if you are looking for years of exceptional transportation.