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2009 Toyota Venza Crossover

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Comments

  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    I can't edit my last post, so here are my two additional thoughts:

    YES I MEANT TO USE CAPS TO SHOW MY PASSION AND DISGUST WITH THE VENZA BASHING

    #1: The fact that the Venza has generated enough PASSION for you to write in all caps is a win for Toyota. Toyota isn't exactly known for generating models with passion. :)

    #2: I was going to comment on the article at WSJ.com, but couldn't because they actually expect you to pay for the privilege of posting your opinion. :(
  • I ran across this video posted from Canada of a test drive they did in the fall in PA. The gentleman who did the review really liked the 4-cyl model and in general it was very positive. After the WSJ review, this might make you smile.
    I've test driven the V6 FWD several times (and loved it) but am waiting for a V4 to come to Charlotte. (Save a couple thousand $$ and mileage slightly better). My Highlander lease runs out in June so am looking to replace it. My thoughts now are V4 FWD with Pkg#1 and Pan Roof. It also may depend on availability and what kind of deal I can get.

    I've enjoyed reading all the comments. Anybody else from the Carolinas? What kind of deals are you finding?

    Thanks!
  • macpromacpro Posts: 52
    Even though I'm not typing in all caps, I share your same passion. I have driven the Venza for almost two months and really love it. I know not everyone share's my opinion (WSJ), and that's OK.

    It's unfortunate that some people may not even test drive it due to someone else's opinion (again, thanks WSJ).

    I read many of those same articles, but only let them influence me to a small degree, and make-up my mind based on my own experiences, not someone else's.
  • I agree. Why sacrifice cargo space and visibility for a model that will only be around 2 or three model years :confuse: I reference the discontinued Pacifica.

    I test drove a Venza last week after looking at the Rav4 and Highlanders. The Venza drives quite nice, for a CAR. Salesman told me it was built on the RX350 chassis and it makes sense. Same goofy shifter location. Lots of storage though. Gentlemen, if your significant other can't find anything in their purse, they will be losing stuff until the end of time in the cavern between the front seats! Huge glovebox too. Not fond of the center stack styling. AC controls look misplaced with the shifter located where it is. Could have made it a lot better by moving the shifter down to the console. No shortage of room....

    I also did not care for the thick A-pillars that severely restricted front side visibility. The little window does not help. Made me a bit nervous on the drive.

    The downside and a biggy: This is the first model year AND it's built in the US. Danger, Warning! All four Venzas that I looked at had fit and finish issues - window molding not aligned, lower rocker panel misaligned, quarter panels not flush with mating panels/bumpers :surprise: , windshield trim wavy, and the fake wood plastic insert on the rear doors has a sharp edge that is a lawsuit waiting to happen and many other 'non-Toyota like' problems :lemon: . I would wait until '11 to buy one if considering it - if it last that long.
  • I've read both critic / published reviews and forum reviews, i.e. these threads, and I have to say that I really appreciate the information people give here. I test drove a Venza in early / mid January and loved it. We drove it over the same roads my wife would normally drive her '02 Sentra and it was a big difference, a nice difference.

    The WSJ's review doesn't change things for me in the slightest. I almost had a Venza last weekend but the dealership mentioned one interest rate range on the phone, on Monday, and by Saturday had almost doubled it, thus I walked out. Then they guilt tripping me into buying it later in the week. If they had just stuck by their numbers, I'd have a new car sitting in my garage!

    I like the Venza. The fact that it's being compared to luxury cars should make Toyota proud. I find the amenities very nice for a car of this caliber.

    Not only that, but think of insurance. You're not paying insurance for a "luxury" car or luxury repairs or premium 93 octane gas, etc.

    I'm going to wait until I can muster up the cash to just buy one outright. But of all the cars I've looked at over the course of a year (been planning for a while), the Venza fits the bill for me.
  • roho1roho1 Posts: 317
    Thanks for the link. I think the writer may have some personal issue with Toyota, I don't agree with some of his comments but he does make some good points. I find the honesty of the criticism refreshing since most car reviews are sugar coated by biased authors.
    The over priced comment has been covered here, but the issue of the 19" tires combined with the awd is interesting.
    I have yet to read what the benefits of Toyota using 19" tires on vehicle of this type is to justify the extra cost and weight. What are the benefits of an oversized tire? All I can think of is the replacement cost.
    As far as awd, I have owned a couple in the past and have concluded nobody really needs it on a street vehicle. I lived three winters with a fwd HL in the snowiest city in the US and never had a problem. It's the awd/4wd cowboys that were always the first you saw in a ditch during a storm.
    I hope to read more real world comments on the 19"/awd combo.
  • I guess I don't understand what the issue is with the review. It is one person's opinion. His lifestyle maybe different than yours or mine, his socio-economic standing might be different, his beliefs might be different. I don't quite understand the "everyone must agree with me on my vehicle choice" mentality. I have looked at the Venza on a couple of occasions and decided it wasn't a vehicle that meets my wants and needs. That doesn't make it a terrible vehicle, nor does it make it a bad choice for someone else, its just not for me.
    Wheels larger than 16" are primarily for styling. The Infiniti FX35 started the huge wheel crossover trend a few years ago, Toyota joins the party slightly late and kind of after the fad has past.
    As for AWD, I have found it to be very helpful in winter driving. It doesn't do much for stopping or turning but it does help you get started and maintain direction and momentum.
    Unlike the previous poster, I usually see conversion vans in the ditches first, followed by high powered RWD sports cars and sedans, and then the more vanilla vehicles like CamCords. I think the 4wd in the ditch issue is primarily in California ski areas where flatlanders unaccustomed to snow think 4wd is a reason to violate the laws of physics.
  • I finally got to evaluate a Venza on the dealer's lot. My wife and I drove there to pick up some minor parts, hoping to just slip into a floor model, evaluate the seating, and fade away. No such luck - an alert salesman almost followed us into the Parts Department, and cleverly deduced that we might take a shortcut to the display model. In fairness to him, he was very polite and non-threatening in what must be a very difficult time for car salesmen.

    What really surprised me was the low seating position. Even at maximum height I was barely any higher than in our 2003 Avalon, and about the same as our 2002 Saab 9-3. I am average height, but do enjoy having lot of clearance over the dash. In the Venza, at the highest seat setting I still had 2-3 inches of headroom, but would gladly have sacrificed some of this for a higher seat. Magazine articles and readers' comments had led us to believe that the Venza provided almost an SUV seat height. Not so. Although the Venza is frequently compared to the Lexus RX350, the Lexus has a higher seat and loads of headroom.

    I was also disappointed in the Venza's styling. The low roof and the extended butt seem contrived. The Lexus (particularly the 2010 version) is much more proportional and sensible. I may have to pay an extra $5000 for the Lexus, but the 4-year full warranty, the higher quality and the dealer reputation will easily sway us from the Venza.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    What really surprised me was the low seating position.

    When I test drove the Venza, what struck me was not so much the seat height, but the expanse of the dash area compared to a truck-based SUV like my 4Runner. The large dash and small side windows made me feel like I was sitting lower than I actually was.

    Earlier in this thread, there were actual measurements of a Venza's seating height and my 4Runner. I believe the seating height (at both the highest and lowest positions) of the Venza was roughly 5 inches lower than the 4Runner. If anyone has access to a Highlander and an RX, that would probably be a better comparison.

    Looking at the dimensions of the Venza and the 2010 RX, the Venza is 3 inches shorter, has 0.8 inch higher ground clearance, and is about 1 inch longer and wider.
  • tomdtomd Posts: 87
    I've read a review or 2 that say the tranny is a bit slow to kick down and that you have to give it a bunch of gas in order to kick it down. How do people with the V6 feel? I would like to think that after all of the bad publicity with the Camry and Highlander transmissions over the last several years that Toyota would have finally gotten this right. If they haven't, shame on them.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,179
    I'm wondering if Toyota isn't making the same mistakes with Venza that Ford did with the Edge. The vehicle seems to have come in over weight giving it only a marginal improvement in fuel economy over the Highlander. It has noticeably less room, but its pricing isn't much different. Toyota introduces and advertises the Venza while only having highly optioned and priced V6 models available giving it a reputation of being expensive. The Camry is a big seller because it gives a lot of value in the LE model while being able to drive it home for under $20K. If Toyota wants volume out of the Venza, I think it will need to put out a well equipped 4 cylinder similar to the Camry LE at around $25K off the lot. Otherwise I think this will be a low volume model and potentially end up like the Chrylser Pacifica and Ford Freestyle/Taurus X. Ford had to get fairly aggresive in discounts and promotions to up the Edge sales volumes and keep it from going the way of Taurus X. I wonder if the rumored new Honda SUV this fall will be similar to the Venza, and if so, how it will be priced? While minivans are less popular, I also think one of the reasons the Honda Odyssey has seen sales declines is that they got overly aggresive with pricing and now are having to give dealers big bucks back to move them. The list price on a new EX-L is better than 4 grand higher than an 04 was and I think people have taken notice with tighter wallets.
  • Wouldn't it be great if someone can do the forum a favor by overlaying to scale Venza to other vehicles such as HL vs RAV-4 for size comparison.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's easy enough to do from the data on the three vehicles in Edmunds vehicle comparison line. But that won't tell you the whole story.

    Here are the Cliff Notes....but you should visit and verify for yourself

    The RAV is smaller all around and sits up higher. It has the 2.5L I4 and the 3.5L V6. But the RAV is an entry level vehicle. It feels and rides like an entry level utility vehicle in the quality of the amenities and especially in the ride and 'feel'. It's bouncier and noisier....more basic. You can get a standard RAV beginning at ~$22900 then go all the way up to $30000 MSRP.

    The Venza is somewhat bigger all around but the seating position is more car-like intentionally. The two power plants will be the 2.7L I4 and the same 3.5L V6. The Venza serves as a bridge between the RAV and the Highlander. It's much nicer in ride and interior quality than the RAV with nicer amenities but it only has room for 5...like most RAVs. It's almost exactly the same size as the Camry/Highlander in overall dimensions. It has less overall room than the Highlander but more than the RAV....and that's intentional. Th pricing will range from about $26000 - $38000.

    The Highlander has about the same footprint as the Venza except that it's taller thus it has more usable room. It will have the same two drive trains as the Venza. It will normally be configured to seat 7 people rather than the 5 in both the RAV and Venza. The materials will be somewhat nicer and ride will be smoother and quieter than either the RAV or the Venza. Allegedly it will be available from about $26000 Base. But realistically the Highlanders will have MSRPs ranging from about $29000 to $48000 ( hybrid-loaded ).

    In normal times...
    the RAV should sell 150,000 to 200,000 units
    the Venza should sell about 75,000 units
    the Highlander should sell about 150,000 to 200,000 units

    The purpose of the Venza is quite limited. It's there to offer a bridge between the two main vehicles. In doing so it helps support the pricing of the Highlander the more important vehicle price-wise while at the same time offering the buyers a significant upgrade over the RAV.

    So do you need seating for 7? There's really only one choice.
    Are you limited in what you can spend? There's one or maybe two choices but both are 5 seaters.
    Do you need a huge amount of cargo room? That's the Highlander.
    Do you want a hybrid? That's the Highlander.
    You don't want a more basic vehicle and would prefer an AWD 'car'? That's the Venza.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I'm wondering if Toyota isn't making the same mistakes with Venza that Ford did with the Edge. The vehicle seems to have come in over weight giving it only a marginal improvement in fuel economy over the Highlander.

    It's about the same size with the same footprint as the Highlander but the Venza gets 10% better fuel economy. It's much nicer and bigger than the RAV but the fuel economy is nearly identical.

    2009 EPA ratings.
    RAV V6 ............ 19 / 27 / 22 Comb
    Venza V6 ......... 19 / 26 / 22 Comb
    Highlander V6 ... 18 / 24 / 20 Comb

    It has noticeably less room, but its pricing isn't much different. Toyota introduces and advertises the Venza while only having highly optioned and priced V6 models available giving it a reputation of being expensive. The Camry is a big seller because it gives a lot of value in the LE model while being able to drive it home for under $20K. If Toyota wants volume out of the Venza, I think it will need to put out a well equipped 4 cylinder similar to the Camry LE at around $25K off the lot.

    See prior post. The Venza is never intended to be a high volume vehicle. At full production of 75,000 units with 1250 retail dealers that means that each store should make 5 sales per month on average. That means that at any time at an average local store there might be 4 or 6 in stock. Most stores have 15 to 60 Camry's in stock at any one time.

    Yes the I4 will likely fall in the $25000 range.

    Otherwise I think this will be a low volume model and potentially end up like the Chrylser Pacifica and Ford Freestyle/Taurus X. Ford had to get fairly aggresive in discounts and promotions to up the Edge sales volumes and keep it from going the way of Taurus X. I wonder if the rumored new Honda SUV this fall will be similar to the Venza, and if so, how it will be priced? While minivans are less popular, I also think one of the reasons the Honda Odyssey has seen sales declines is that they got overly aggresive with pricing and now are having to give dealers big bucks back to move them. The list price on a new EX-L is better than 4 grand higher than an 04 was and I think people have taken notice with tighter wallets.

    Yes the Venza has always been intended as a lower volume vehicle...as compared to the two biggies the RAV and the Highlander. Since it's produced at Georgetown it essentially takes over the Solara's production slot.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,179
    Good analysis -its a profit margin builder. Except, wasn't that supposed to be the same for the Chrysler Pacifica?
  • The Venza niche is real and substantial, for anyone not needing seating for 6+. Having fully researched and driven both V6 Venza and HL (and most other alternatives), there are several reasons to prefer the V. For those of us who, like so much of Europe, value the Avant/"station wagon" configuration rather than sedan/trunk (I come from trading in an Audi S6 Avant for the Venza), it is among the best right now of few good choices. It is very noticeably quicker w/ better mileage than HL or other box or mini-tank SUVs, as noted above. As a lower center of gravity "car" it corners and handles significantly better.

    Available interior space is more useable, since for most purposes it is footprint that matters most: in real world situations we don't pile cargo to the roof, past the back window, blocking rearview and making it difficult to open back hatch; so true useable cargo space is essentially a wash. HL Limited has 19" tires: the OE are very poor tires, and only one winter tire (Blizzak) is available and it is sold out for the year. Venza 20" tires are excellently-rated Michelins (see tirerack.com) and very good in snow, and there are several other quality 20" tires available. V interior, while plastic, is not far below Lexus for easily 10K cheaper, comparably equipped (and 20K below Audi A6 3.0T, which might have been my choice if not for the last 5 years of enduring poor Audi quality control and spotty service). All in all, while not perfect, it is the best compromise choice for us who prefer the wagon/crossover-car configuration--and that, as market research (my industry) shows, is an ever-increasing demographic. Toyota did their research; like they, I expect the V to do well.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    Here's are slides from Toyota comparing the Camry and Highlander to the Venza.

    Venza vs. Highlander

    Venza vs. Camry

    The outline of the Highlander includes the roof rack, so the difference in height is a bit exaggerated.
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The materials [of the Highlander] will be somewhat nicer and ride will be smoother and quieter than either the RAV or the Venza.

    I disagree that the Highlander has nicer materials than the Venza. The Venza has soft-touch dash and upper door surfaces (in the front, at least) versus the Highlander's nicely grained, but hard, plastic. In almost every area in the interior, the Venza is at least as nice -- and usually more so -- than the utilitarian Highlander.

    I see the Venza and Highlander as peer vehicles in the lineup that will appeal to different groups of shoppers. Both are about the same physical size (i.e. someone who finds the Highlander to be "too big" will likely find the Venza "too big" as well). Both have the same engine options and roughly the same price range.
  • roho1roho1 Posts: 317
    For those still shopping, this looks like it will become an alternative choice.

    Road and Track spy report on Accord crossover,

    link: http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=10&article_id=7542&cid=145
  • Thanks gs933. That would do. Even though no silhouette for interior layout.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,179
    Looks a bit more like an Accord wagon, but pictures can be deceiving. Also looking forward to how Ford updates the Edge in the next couple of years including direct ignition for improved mileage. This could end up a very interesting and competitive market down the road..
  • qs933qs933 Posts: 302
    The NHTSA crash test results were posted for the Venza.

    Frontal Driver: 5 stars
    Frontal Passenger: 5 stars
    Side Front Seat: 5 stars
    Side Rear Seat: 5 stars
    Rollover: 4 stars

    The Highlander scored 4 stars on the frontal passenger test, but had the same scores for the other areas.
  • LSP972LSP972 Posts: 20
    I got a quote from State Farm on the full-coverage (no deductible comprehensive) policy cost for my Venza yesterday. It was only $96 more than the current cost for my 1998 S-10.

    The agent said the low increase was probably due to the crash-worthiness of the Venza.

    Whatever the reason, it was a pleasant surprise.

    Now, if the sucker will just GET HERE! :shades:

    .

    .
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Ya know what's even more surprising about that quote from State Farm?

    On the S10 they are insuring an 11 y.o. which is 'worth' about $5000 or so. Thus if it's totalled in an accident they're only on the hook for this amount. If your new Venza were to be totalled then they're on the hook for at least 6 times as much. The financial exposure is at least $30000 or more.
  • Tell me about it. I have been waiting since the end of dec
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The information on the 2010 RX350 indicates that the 1-2 second transaxle downshift delay/hesitation is still a "feature". On a 6 speed I would imagine there will be even more instances of "heart in throat".
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Why develop and introduce a new I4 that doesn't include the advantages and FE improvements of DFI. Lexus has been shipping a GS350 V6 with DFI for several years now.

    And why market a F/awd Venza with the new I4 but not the HL..??

    Weight..??

    Venza I4 F/awd curb weight = 3945

    HL V6 F/awd curb weight = 4178

    HL I4 curb weight = 3847

    maybe not...??
  • Has anyone started to see any of the 4 cyl Venzas start to appear at dealers? Does anyone know when they are expected?
  • feltfelt Posts: 105
    Interestingly, today I visited my local Toyota dealer, expressed genuine interest in the Venza, and he acted as-if he could care less. It was the lowest salesman's pitch I have ever experienced in 50 years of buying cars. Not at all the response I expected in these tough times; also consider, Toyota today announced big losses.

    That having been said, there has been some talk in Congress of a tax rebate for new car purchases. Why would anyone buy with that "dangling" as a possibility.

    I like the Venza and may want to make a move on the car .... but I at least want to drive a 4 cylinder first. I suspect that may be just what I need. I am not interested in towing (I have a 2500 truck for that purpose); and I am not interested in 6.7 seconds 0-60 mph, or 7 passengers. But I am not interested in an engine that protest loudly getting on and over the Interstate. I own a HL with the V6, and it has been a good engine.

    Let us know when the 4's start to appear.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..he could care less.."

    At this point Venza demand is likely exceeding supply, certainly by a wide margin for the I4 if you happened to mention that as your primary point of interest.
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