In its first year, the Venza has captured attention as a nearly ideal blend of comfort and utility. Think of it as a cross between Toyota’s Camry and Highlander.
Seating: Its driver’s seating height is more elevated than a sedan’s for improved visibility, but it still provides a low step-in.
Cargo: Seating five, it has 34.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seat in place, and over 70 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat. The rear lift-over is low for easier loading and unloading. Providing shelter from rain or some shade from the sun when open, the rear cargo door hinges at the top. An optional power hatch is available.
Convenience: The standard audio system consists of six speakers, a six-disc in-dash CD changer and auxiliary input jack. A 13-speaker JBL-infused surround-sound audio system will add $1,090 to the bottom line. One 12-volt auxiliary power outlet is located in the cargo area and two more are situated upfront.
Features: Venzas are either front- or all-wheel drive. Power comes from either a 182-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. A six-speed driver-shiftable automatic transmission passes power along to the wheels.
Price: From $26,725 for the front-wheel drive four-cylinder model to $30,000 for the all-wheel drive V-6 version.