in 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $20,154 - $28,926
Original MSRP: $27,850 - $39,020
MPG: 20 City / 26 Hwy
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2013 Toyota Venza Performance

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

The 2013 Toyota Venza is a comfort-oriented SUV with adequate power from its base engine. The optional V6, however adds a lot of power with a minimal fuel economy penalty. Most reviewers note that the Venza exhibits lots of body roll through turns, which is a result of its softly-sprung suspension. Neither the steering nor the brakes get high marks either.

  • "Once you're perched in its driver seat, the Venza feels a little wagon-esque. Though it has a raised ride height, you don't get quite a commanding view of the road. It's more like the 2013 Subaru Outback in this way. However, it does feel more carlike, both in terms of visual perception and driving experience." -- Edmunds
  • "Like the Camry and Highlander upon which it is based, Venza isn't an excitement machine." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Venza is available with two powertrains. The base engine, available on the base LE and mid-level XLE trim, is a 181-horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The upgraded engine, standard on the top Limited trim and optional on the other two, is a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum EPA-rated fuel economy is 20/26 mpg city/highway for front-wheel drive, four-cylinder models. Opting for the V6 or all-wheel drive reduces fuel economy slightly. Still, these figures are good for the class.

Most reviewers say that four-cylinder models have adequate power for day-to-day driving, but that the V6 is the better choice, as it makes the Venza move faster without a significant penalty in fuel economy. Still, not everyone is enthusiastic. One reviewer says that neither of the engines are all that quiet or pleasant sounding, and another is unimpressed with the power from even the V6.

  • "While the base four-cylinder engine delivers adequate power, we'd recommend paying extra for the V6. Not only does it provide quicker acceleration than its myriad competitors, but also its fuel economy is almost equal to that of the four-cylinder." -- Edmunds
  • "In the time-honored tradition of offering a car-based platform powered by car-based drivetrains while suffering from SUV-induced weight, those opting to equip their 2013 Toyota Venza with Toyota's DOHC inline-4 will learn to be patient when merging onto a freeway. Check the V6 box and you'll immediately benefit from more horsepower, torque and refinement." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Both engines are loud and unrefined, with the 4-cylinder producing a strained groan during full-throttle acceleration. The V6 sounds better, but not by a whole lot; at least it's quiet at cruising speeds, unlike the 4-cylinder." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Now, to be clear, despite the punchy six-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, there's nothing really exciting about the Venza driving experience. With 268 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque, acceleration is merely adequate. … Acceleration from a standstill is brisk, but doesn't have the same kind of punch as some of the four-cylinder, turbocharged competition, largely due to the Venza's 6200-rpm horsepower peak and 4700-rpm torque peak." -- Winding Road

Handling and Braking

The 2013 Venza comes standard with front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available on all trim levels. Like the Camry on which it is based, reviewers say the Venza caters to comfort rather than sport. They say that the soft suspension that provides a supple ride also makes the Venza prone to body roll through turns. And despite its comfort-tuned suspension, one reviewer also says that the Venza’s large wheels detract from ride comfort somewhat. One also indicates that the brake pedal felt mushy on a test drive, and another says the steering doesn’t provide much feedback.

  • "Fast turns result in marked body lean. The steering feels fine, but some test vehicles suffered from a mushy brake pedal." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling is decidedly oriented towards comfort. There's plenty of roll, squat, and dive, but it rarely gets to the point of feeling sloppy." -- Winding Road
  • "The power rack-and-pinion steering is reasonably well connected, as is the all-independent suspension. One negative associated with the Venza's generous rubber - in either 19-inch or 20-inch sizes - is the harshness transmitted to the interior. Were these 17-inch or 18-inch tires more road irregularities would be absorbed by the tire/wheel combo, and less would be transmitted into your backside." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It shouldn't come as a shock that the 2013 Toyota Venza is hardly a wagon in the style of sporty European models. Instead, the Venza is very American -- designed for comfort, utility and ease of driving. If it weren't for the vague feel of its electric-assist steering, the Venza might actually be interesting to drive instead of merely pleasant." -- Edmunds

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