SUM UP (2 Stars)

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Venza in 2014

After a mid-cycle refresh for the 2013 model year, the only changes for 2014 are the addition of front and rear parking sensors for the Limited trim...
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Vehicle Overview

The Toyota Venza is a five-passenger crossover that fits below the seven-passenger Highlander and above the RAV4 in the automaker’s lineup.

Summary

The 2014 Toyota Venza is available with a six-speed automatic in front- or all-wheel drive form. The standard model comes with a 2.7-liter I-4 that makes 181 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, and gets an EPA-estimated 20/26 mpg city/highway. The optional V-6, which we recommend, produces 268 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque, while getting 18-19/25-26 mpg, with a slight penalty for AWD.

The 2014 Toyota Venza received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHSTA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing received a rating of good in the four categories it has been tested in (the highest- possible rating is good).

What We Think

The Venza make’s a statement with its looks that the performance can’t back up. “The Venza drives very much like a car -- an exceptionally boring car. Under most conditions, body control is decent and steering is reasonably precise. But push the Venza at all on a curvy road, and only the optional 268-hp V-6 feels up to the task, as the cushy brakes and Cool Whip suspension squirm in protest. The garish, twenty-inch wheels do nothing to help in this department, as the soft dampers seem to send them bouncing in four different directions through bumpy corners. Overall, it's not much better than a well-mannered crossover or minivan,” we said in a comparison of 2010 tall crossovers, which was before the 2013 refresh.

The Venza placed last in a comparison against the Honda Crosstour and the Nissan Murano. “There's nothing egregiously wrong with the Venza, and yet, there's nothing remotely appealing about it, either. Executed properly, the Toyota could easily be the best in this group, and yet right now, its styling, driving dynamics, and interior quality all scream mediocrity.” While the 2013 refresh addressed some of the fit and finish issues, it still makes us hesitate, as its price is rather close to the more efficient, roomier, Highlander.

You’ll Like

  • Aggressive-for-a-Toyota styling
  • Optional V-6
  • Cargo area is efficiently designed

You Won’t Like

  • As-tested fit and finish was sub-par
  • Inadequate I-4 power
  • With options, not much less than more efficient Highlander

Key Competitors

  • Ford Edge
  • Nissan Murano
  • Toyota Highlander

Rating

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