2014 Toyota Venza AWD Limited Review by Stu Wright

The latest test car that was delivered to me recently was a 2014 Magnetic Gray metallic five-door with all-wheel drive and a V-6 engine.  Since the Venza was introduced into the Toyota line five years ago as a 2009 Camry derivative (one of many), the company has chosen to dress the car out with lots of equipment.  And this one had enough in the line of options to bring M.S.R.P. to $40,720.00.  Included was the top premium package of options that had leather seats, shift knob and steering wheel, twin power heated front buckets, smart key system, pushbutton starter, power liftgate, backup camera, navigation, JBL stereo, XM radio, IPod connector, Bluetooth, and towing package.  The car also had an upgraded roof rack, chrome door handles, and a dual power glass moon roof.  Wow, that’s some upgrades!  I full of anticipation before it arrived and was not disappointed when it did; it was fully loaded.

 I departed for Denver  on I25 on an overcast afternoon with snow all over the highways.  I wanted to meet my daughter for lunch at Chipotle near the Stapleton area.  The Venza has a 268hp  V-6 installed that is 3.5 liters, DOHC, 24 valve with dual variable valve timing.  The transmission attached to it is a 6-speed electronically controlled model with sequential shift mode.  All of this drivetrain spec provided tons of passing power and I was satisfied with the Venza’s ride.  Dual climate control kept both the wife and I comfortable and the tilt/telescope kept the wheel in a proper attitude for the driver.  This upgraded Toyota had silver carbon-fiber look trim in quite a few locations in the car and it was very attractive.  So was the dashboard material and gauges.  And the back seat is enormous – 52 cubic feet.  If you fold down the back seat the total cargo space comes to over 70 cubic feet.  

 Fuel mileage for the Venza is 18mpg city and 25mpg highway.  I observed an average of 20.3 during my week with the car.  I mentioned the acceleration – reportedly the Venza V-6 goes 0-60 in 6.9 seconds.  The car rides on big 20” five-spoke silver allow wheels that look great, shod with P245/50R20 steel belted all season radials.  And the drive system is all-wheel with Active Torque Control.  Also under the car is 4-wheel independent MacPherson strut suspension with stabilizer bars.  

I left Chipotle less satisfied with the lunch than the car, and noticed a lot of looks from shoppers in the Stapleton district.  The Toyota Camry has produced a lot of offspring, and the Venza is the best-looking one of the bunch. 

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