With a choice of efficient four-cylinder and V6 engines, available all-wheel drive and a new three-grade model line, the 2012 Toyota Venza cuts a new path for crossover design, performance and value. Bodylines reminiscent of a luxury-sports sedan, along with coupe-like details, package a highly versatile and roomy five-passenger vehicle that looks like nothing else.
In many cases, other manufacturers’ attempts to add significant room and versatility in about the same packaging as a midsize sedan have resulted in “trucky” looking bodies. With the Venza, Toyota designers achieved that desirable midsize exterior packaging while affording cavernous interior room and a distinctive style that’s neither sedan nor SUV.
The roominess and versatility speak for themselves. The Venza seats five in uncompromised comfort. Rear-seat passengers, including the middle one, will find ample room in all directions, and with 40.1 inches of rear-seat legroom, the Venza exceeds midsize sedan specs and encroaches on full-size luxury sedans.
That’s not the only place where Venza shows a penchant for surprising luxury.
For 2012, Toyota offers the Venza in new LE, XLE and Limited models. The “entry” LE seems more like an upgrade model with standard dual-zone automatic climate control with air filter and second-row seat vents, eight-way power driver’s seat, multi-information display screen, tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, adjustable rear-seat reading lights and three 12-volt power outlets.
The standard six-speaker audio system in the Venza LE includes an in-dash CD changer with MP3/WMA playback capability, satellite radio, Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability and wireless music streaming, a USB port with iPod® connectivity, an auxiliary audio jack and automatic sound leveling.
That’s a lot of “sound” value, and you can indeed enhance the Venza LE with available packages. The Convenience Package adds a power liftgate and a rear backup camera, and the Preferred Package adds a panoramic glass roof with front power moonroof.
From there, as in other Toyota models, you can up the luxury factor considerably with the XLE and Limited models. Among other amenities, the XLE adds the Convenience Package contents plus leather seating surfaces, a four-way power passenger’s seat, heated front seats and Smart Key System with Push Button Start and illuminated entry.
Audio performance moves up in the XLE, which offers an available 13-speaker JBL® Synthesis surround-sound system. You can order this sonic luxury separately or in conjunction with a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system and backup camera.
For the top in Venza luxury, just look to the new Limited. This “everything” model comes with the V6 engine exclusively. The Limited combines all the XLE features and options and adds Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with automatic high beams.
The Venza provides the elevated driving position, higher sightlines and excellent ground clearance (8.1 inches) of an SUV, without the awkward high step-in height on some SUVs. There’s plenty of carrying room – 30.1 cubic feet behind the fold-flat rear seats and 70.1 cubic feet with the seats folded. If you need to carry even more, the Venza can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the V6 and available Towing Prep Package.
Even with the SUV-like versatility Venza offers, its driving performance and comfort definitely skew more to the sports sedan side of the spectrum. The standard four-cylinder engine produces a smooth 182 hp while the V6 powerhouse puts an impressive 268 hp at your disposal. Both engines come connected to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission, and you can choose front-wheel drive or the available Active Torque Control all-wheel drive system for any model.
Four-wheel independent suspension ensures a smooth ride and responsive handling for the Venza, which gets its powerful stance not only from the bold body design, but also from its standard large-diameter alloy wheels – 19 inches on the four-cylinder models and 20 inches on the V6 versions. Those are wheel sizes you more commonly see on top luxury-brand crossovers and SUVs.
Looking for something unique in a roomy, versatile crossover? Come in and see the 2012 Toyota Venza.