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Toyota Venza Performance

Although test drivers write that the 2015 Toyota Venza has poised handling and responsive steering, some say its ride is not as comfortable as it could be, and that a fair amount of unwanted road and engine noise is noticeable in the cabin. Most recommend skipping the base four-cylinder engine in favor of the optional V6, as it makes the Venza quite a bit peppier and doesn't use much more fuel than the base engine.

  • "The Venza starts with front-wheel drive and a 2.7-liter inline-4 that's good for 182 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. We'd be more forgiving of this engine's mediocre acceleration if it delivered exceptional fuel economy, but 21 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway isn't all that great when the 4-cylinder Camry is rated at 35 mpg." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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. All suffer from pronounced wind noise from around the exterior mirrors." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Venza comes standard with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 181 horsepower. A 3.5-liter V6 is optional, and it produces 268 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and all-wheel drive is available with either engine. A base Venza returns an EPA-estimated 20/26 mpg city/highway. V6 models with front-wheel drive get 19/26 mpg. The Venza's fuel economy is on par with that of other two-row, midsize SUVs, but less than the ratings of rivals like the Honda Crosstour and Subaru Outback.

Test drivers are generally unimpressed with the four-cylinder Venza, saying the engine is noisy, could use more power and that the transmission works very hard with this engine. Most prefer the V6 model, saying it is better matched with the transmission, is much more powerful and only comes with a minor fuel economy penalty over the four-cylinder model.

  • "The familiar V6, of course, is a gem, with gobs of civilized power on tap for passing or merging." -- Edmunds
  • "The least expensive Venza wagon for 2015 is, unfortunately, also the least desirable. With only 181 horsepower on top, the Venza LE wagon doesn't have the muscle to move the car's rather substantial bulk with any urgency." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Don't get us wrong, we couldn't blame anyone for saving some money and getting the four. But keep in mind that the Venza's optional 3.5-liter V6 is really a thing of beauty. Rated at 268 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque, this ultra-refined motor feels, if anything, more powerful than its numbers suggest, piling on speed with remarkable authority. Moreover, its fuel economy is barely worse than the four's, checking in at 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "Though the 4-cylinder engine is large, displacing 2.7 liters, it only delivers 181 horsepower. That's not enough to move the Venza along with any significant dispatch, even with front-wheel drive. The V6 is a much better option, providing more than sufficient go in any situation. The transmission is also a better match for the V6, as it's very busy when paired with the 4-cylinder." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

Some reviewers say that the Venza rides comfortably, but they complain that the large 19- and 20-inch wheels are a detriment to ride quality, and also contribute to some unwanted noise finding its way into the cabin. However, they say it handles well, as there isn't excessive body roll and the steering feels precise.

  • "As for the Venza's ride and handling, they are on par with the Camry sedan, which is to say more than competent, but the Venza's larger tires and taller suspension deliver a bit more ride harshness. There also seems to be more interior noise from the road, again attributed to the massive 19- and 20-inch wheel/tire combos." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2015 Toyota Venza tackles corners with more composure than expected, delivering carlike handling that does its Camry-based chassis proud." -- Edmunds
  • "In corners, the Venza's steering is surprisingly precise and responsive for this kind of vehicle, and body roll is held to moderate levels as long as you're not pushing too hard." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "All Venzas have similar suspension tuning. Regardless, the ride quality is not great. Bumps of all sizes make their way into the cabin; larger ones register with surprising harshness. We attribute this to the standard wheels. With 19-inch tires on the 4-cylinder and 20s on the V6, they're too large for a vehicle this size." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 8/27/15

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