2009 Toyota Venza Review – We dare you to call it a station wagon

Expert Reviews Toyota


Designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Studios for the North American market, they are responsible for making the Venza more car-like in its approach. Character lines echo the shape of the wheel wells, and at the same time point towards the trailing edge of the vehicle. Arched window openings with a high waistline break up the largish slab-sided doors which thankfully now have jam protection. Wrap-around taillights finish the rear of the Venza, which is enhanced by a rear hatch spoiler and crisp folds in the rear fascia. Chrome accents help to add a little bling-bling.

There’s a lot of the Lexus RX350 in this Toyota, too, though the Venza is pressed down closer to the ground, and sleeker. Its front end is taller, but definitely molded in the theme of Toyota’s current Camry sedan. Its standard wheels measure 19 inches in diameter, while 20 inch five spoke alloys are optional.

2009 Toyota Venza


No doubt that Toyota packed a lot of features into a pretty package for a very reasonable price. Toyota’s STAR Safety System is standard and includes ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control with a cutoff switch and Brake Assist. Hill-Start Assist, seven airbags, and driver and front passenger active headrests are standard. The issue of safety is always a big priority with us at CarReview.

My fingers would cramp up if I tried to list all of standard features and the options available for the Venza. Some goodies, such as automatic up/down switches for ALL of the windows, lots of nooks and compartments for your stash, including 10 (count ‘em, 10!) cupholders, and a very family-friendly design are just a few items that make the Venza a wise choice for the dollar. Toyota’s reputation for quality and its popularity among the baby boomer generation could give it a high resale value in the future.

Toyota Venza door panel with 2 cupholders JBL Synthesis audio system

Oh, and we really like the JBL Synthesis® audio system. Well-rounded sound stage, smooth rolloff of the high frequencies, and a solid low-end bass response supported by a subwoofer. My co-pilot during the test drives was an associate editor from CNET and we both admired the Bluetooth® streaming audio feature and the sound quality pumped out from the thirteen JBL speakers. Very impressive for a factory installed option.

Compared to the competition in its class, the Venza squeaks out a small lead ahead of the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano in terms of value. If you are seeking something with more bang for the buck, the Mazda CX-7 beats the Venza in terms of price, power from its turbo-charged four cylinder, road handling that rivals some sport sedans, and just being fun to drive.

Who Should Buy It? / Conclusion

The Venza resists classification. It is a well-mannered crossover that drives like a car, but provides the extra space for an active family on the run with a full calendar. Power is good if you choose the V6 option and 6-speed automatic does a good job of utilizing the power band and helps with the fuel efficiency numbers. Toyota designers wanted to keep up with the technology advances and provides useful features and options to help manage our compulsive desire to carry multiple electronic toys such as cell phones, MP3 players, and navigation/GPS devices.

We heartily recommend taking a close look at the Toyota Venza if you are in the market for a family car without the stigmata of a minivan or the obtrusiveness of an SUV. Who knows. You might be calling it something other than a station wagon after all is said and done.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 4.5 4.0 4.0 5.0 4.5 4.5/A-

Toyota Venza Photo Gallery

Toyota Venza Specs

Toyota Venza Specs

ToyotaThe official website of Toyota – www.toyota.com

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  • Mike says:

    The Venza and the Chrysler Pacifica are both very good cars. Most experts caution about reliability of new models, but I liked the Venza I drove, though make sure the electronic steering is acceptable to your tastes. If you don’t like it, try the Pacifica. By the way, the Pacifica is a well designed car with great reliability and quality of build. Chrysler scored a big win with it, as with some of their other models which have high quality. Toyota’s quality is questionable of late in several models, but I wouldn’t avoid trying out their cars nonetheless. Both Chrysler and Toyota have similar quality, with the edge to Chrysler in the past eight years.

  • Bogdan says:

    Exuse Me People are you not getting the point of Venza? The Venza is a great car, and don’t you dare compare it with a Chrysler Pacifica because it looks better, costs less, and is more reliable. A Chrysler Pacifica is a piece of crap on wheels. The Pacifica’s quality is terible and it is a piece of CRAP!!! The toyota is better. Also it has more technology then Chrysler or GM can ever imagine. And I Like The PAINT!! Why would you even buy a Chrysler now the GM is got in backrupt. Only Stupid people would buy the chrysler!

  • PanhandleWilly says:

    C’mon…Toyota “invented” the Chrysler Pacifica 10 years after the fact and has the gall to think they’ve presented us something new. A Pacifica looks better, runs better and has the get up and go of a muscle car. This has a Toyota sticker…and apparently really bad paint. If you buy one of these the message you send is clearly that you can’t exist outside a herd mentality.

  • stockbroker says:

    @ultradad: are you kidding? Malibu Maxx looks NOTHING like the venza. The Maxx is plain ugly. Period. The Venza is just absolutely gorgeous and well thought out. It’s like night and day! Good job for Toyota!

  • ultradad says:

    The ugly Malibu Maxx. Toyota took a photo of the Malibu Maxx and said hey, how can we make the front end, the interior, and the rear uglier. You got it. The Venza, the ugly Malibu Maxx.

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