in 2012 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $18,930 - $25,919
Original MSRP: $27,425 - $37,915
MPG: 21 City / 27 Hwy
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2012 Toyota Venza Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Test drivers say that the Venza is a comfortable, car-like SUV, though the base engine may not be powerful enough for all drivers. Though it has a smooth ride, reviewers say it’s not very fun to drive.

  • "It shouldn't come as a shock that the … Toyota Venza is hardly a wagon in the ilk of sporty European models. Instead, like the Camry upon which it is based, the Venza is designed for comfort and ease of driving.” -- Edmunds
  • "Like the Camry and Highlander upon which it is based, Venza isn't an excitement machine.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “What We Don’t (Like): Firm ride, sloppy handling, mushy brakes, unresponsive transmission.” -- Cars.com

Acceleration and Power

The Venza comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 182 horsepower, while a 3.5-liter 268-horsepower V6 is optional. Most test drivers say the V6 is the better choice, especially for spirited driving.

According to the EPA, a Venza with the base engine and front-wheel drive will get 21/27 mpg city/highway, while those with all-wheel drive will get 20/28 mpg. V6 front-wheel drive Venzas are rated at 19/26 mpg, and Venza models equipped with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive will get 18/25 mpg. For a midsize SUV, these figures are excellent.

  • "With front-wheel drive, the 4-cylinder has just adequate power for around-town driving. It strains going up hills, and highway passing and merging require lots of room. The V6 is the better choice here, as it provides sufficient power for most any need.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Unlike with most midsize crossovers, the Venza features a four-cylinder base engine. This provides sufficient power, but given that the bigger V6 achieves similar fuel economy, it would be foolhardy to not at least consider shelling out a few more bucks for the big engine.” -- Edmunds
  • "While the 2.7-liter in-line four easily tackled some rather steep hills without too much gear searching or audible strain, the more robust V6 is definitely the engine you'll want.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say that the Toyota Venza drives like the Toyota Camry sedan it’s based on, which means it’s not particularly sporty or fun. Still, testers say it’s easy to drive, and its optional all-wheel drive should help in foul weather.

  • "Its wagon-style dimensions also make the Venza feel more like a car from behind the wheel compared to Toyota crossovers like the Highlander and RAV4, although we certainly wouldn't call it athletic. Instead, like other Toyotas, the Venza puts an emphasis on comfort and ease of driving.” -- Edmunds
  • "During some sportier driving moments, the Venza's chassis made it apparent this is not a vehicle meant to be driven aggressively around curves. Still, we think that most buyers will be perfectly pleased with the way the Venza handles around-town jaunts.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Venza is not quite as car-like as a Honda Accord Crosstour or Subaru Outback, but this Toyota never feels ponderous. It is competent and controlled in most every situation, but tight, fast turns make for pronounced body lean.” -- Consumer Guide

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