2009 New Toyota Venza Review

2009 New Toyota Venza

Toyota recently unveiled the 2009 Venza, which in Toyota-speak is a “crossover sedan”. Now, I don’t know what that means, but the Venza is what I like to call a “station wagon”. With the Matrix at 171″ , the RAV4 at 181″, and the Highlander at 188″, exactly what is the purpose of the Venza (which slots in at 189″) ? It seats 5 like the Matrix, but falls shorts of the 6-7 available seats in the RAV4 / Highlander. Supposedly the Toyota Venza is being created to compete with the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano – something the Highlander does pretty OK with. I can’t see the Venza doing anything but cannibalizing existing Toyota sales.

The Venza is almost exactly the same length as the Highlander, at 189 inches, and almost the exact same width. The Venza does come with an all-new four-cylinder engine in the base model, which the Highlander doesn't, but we don't have power numbers on it yet. The available V-6 is the same one that's in the Highlander. The Venza will also come in both front- and all-wheel-drive models. The wheels you see pictured are the standard 20-inch variety for the V-6 model. Four-cylinder buyers won't get shortchanged, though, as 19-inch wheels are standard on it.

2009 New Toyota Venza interior

The Toyota parts bin also donates most of the Venza’s running gear. Engines include a 182-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder, teamed to a six-speed automatic and an optional all-wheel-drive system that splits power between front and rear wheels. This base Venza strains a bit to provide uphill and passing performance, but putters anonymously in most other conditions, though with a bit more engine noise than expected. The 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 is substantially smoother and more powerful, but comes with its own slight penalty: Fuel economy in front-drive V-6 Venzas is 19/26 mpg, compared to the 21/29 mpg delivered by the four-cylinder version.

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