2010 Toyota Venza Five-Door SedanPosted on August 15th, 2010
All-wheel drive adds four-season performance for active lifestyles
By Nina Russin
The five-passenger Toyota Venza combines elements from the Camry and Highlander in a versatile, compact platform.
Available four and six-cylinder engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission, and a choice of front or all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive four-cylinder Venza is the fuel economy king, averaging 29 miles-per-gallon on the highway.
The all-wheel drive V-6 averages 25 miles-per-gallon on the highway, but offers significantly more horsepower and torque. It can tow up to 3500 pounds when equipped with the tow-prep option, meeting our ALV minimum standards.
This week I spent time in the all-wheel drive V-6 Venza on an extended road trip through the Midwest. The drive route included highway, rural roads and city streets.
During the week-long trip, I drove through several large downpours on hilly terrain, putting the all-wheel drive‘s electronic torque distribution to the test. The route included every type of road surface imaginable, thanks to an abundance of construction, and the upper Midwest’s infamous potholes.
Base price on the test car is $29,550, not including a $750 destination charge. A rear seat DVD system, audio upgrade, convenience and security packages bring the price as tested to $34,759.
Sport-utility versatility with passenger car performance
The compact Venza is small and aerodynamic enough to handle like a passenger car. Yet its tall cargo bay and fifth door gives it the versatility of a small SUV.
I jumped in the car at the tail end of Chicago’s morning rush hour. Trying to weave through dense traffic and out-accelerate fellow commuters at the toll booths made me happy to have the larger engine’s torque. The engine develops peak torque, 246 foot-pounds, at 4700 rpm: a medium-hard pedal effort.
While the Venza won’t win any drag races, it has plenty of power in the twenty-to-fifty mile-per-hour range for merging onto the highway. Peak horsepower is 268, making it easy to pass slower vehicles at speed.
Toyota’s electric power steering system is lighter than a conventional hydraulic system and more compact, enhancing the Venza’s fuel efficiency. It seems well tuned for the car, offering enough assist at slow speeds for parallel parking and the occasional U-turn, with a positive on-center response on the highway.
A 39.1 turning radius won’t accommodate U-turns on narrow city streets, but wider suburban or rural roads are not a problem.
The optional rear back-up camera on the test car makes a significant difference in visibility for parallel parking. The Venza has a narrow rear glass and large rear pillars, creating sizeable blind spots in back. A standard rear wiper keeps the back glass clear of rain and snow.
Visibility to the front and sides is pretty good. The B pillars are also thick, limiting over-the-shoulder visibility. Side mirrors do a good job of minimizing blind spots in the rear corners without obstructing the driver’s forward view.
The four-wheel independent suspension is very refined, smoothing out the ride over potholes and washboard road surfaces. Front and rear stabilizer bars help keep the chassis flat in the corners.
Twenty-inch alloy wheels are quite large for a car of this size. I wouldn’t recommend trying any off-road trails with the large rims and low-profile tires, but they do enhance high-speed performance and dress up the exterior.
Four-wheel disc brakes with four-channel antilock braking stop the car in a firm, linear fashion.
Average fuel economy for the test drive was 22 miles per gallon, about a mile-per-gallon better than the EPA estimate.
Toyota’s extensive experience designing minivans and crossover vehicles translates to the Venza. The North American design team has a deep understanding of its active audience. The Venza’s versatile interior is thick with storage areas, cupholders and power points. Standard dual climate control keeps both front seat occupants comfortable.
Three adults can sit in the second row. The center console takes up some legroom in the center position, but it’s comfortable for short trips. Rear vents circulate air through the back of the cabin.
Power adjustments on the driver’s seat are easy to use. I found the seat comfortable for drives up to five hours, with good lower back support. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheels enables smaller drivers to maintain a clear forward view. Redundant audio controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction.
By locating the gate shifter next to the steering wheel, designers left more room in the center console for storage and cupholders. There are several storage bins, including one that incorporates a 12-volt power point, USB and auxiliary ports.
Convenience packages adds keyless start, rear seat DVD and power liftgate
Keyless start on the test car allows the driver to start the ignition without removing the key from his pocket. The danger of these systems can be forgetting to grab the keys when valets park the car at a restaurant. Engineers wisely added a warning light in the digital display at the top of the center stack.
The rear seat DVD system is expensive ($1680), but it makes the Venza kid-friendly. A surround-sound system ($1050) adds a USB port for iPods and music sticks, and wiring for satellite radio with a three-month complimentary XM subscription.
The power rear door opens automatically using a button on the key fob. It’s a great feature for anyone who routinely loads in large or heavy cargo. The Venza’s low lift-over makes it easier to lift bicycles and other large gear into the back.
The rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 pattern, extending the cargo floor to make the Venza bicycle friendly. The single-lever operation is very simple, taking under a minute.
The Venza comes standard with Toyota’s star safety system, which integrates the antilock braking, stability and traction control in a manner which is invisible to the driver. A hill-hold feature applies the brakes to keep the car from sliding backwards when stopped on steep grades.
All models come with seven airbags, including front, side, side curtain and driver’s knee. The Venza received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Pick” award for 2010.
Toyota builds the Venza at its Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant.
Likes: A versatile compact five-passenger sedan with a high level of standard safety and a cargo area large enough for buyers with active lifestyles.
Dislike: Thick B pillars limit over-the-shoulder visibility.
Model: Venza V-6 sedan AWD
Base price: $29,550
As tested: $34,759
Horsepower: 268 Hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque: 246 lbs.-ft. @ 4700 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Towing: Yes, when equipped with tow-prep option
Fuel economy: 18/25 mpg city/highway
4 responses to “2010 Toyota Venza Five-Door Sedan”
[…] 2010 Toyota Venza Five-Door Sedan review | Auto Reviews | The … By admin, on August 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm, under Latest Updates, Reviews Tags:camry, […]
Hello! Is it OK that I go a bit off topic? I’m trying to read your page on my iPad but it doesn’t display properly, do you have any suggestions? Thank you for the help I hope! Chuck
Can you be any more specific about the problem?
interesting comments from others…hmm, not sure what to think
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