The Toyota Venza
By Fatimah and Natu Ali
We specifically requested Toyota's year old Venza for a test drive, especially after the car companies had given us such a long hiatus from their media fleets. We've loved the Venza ever since it first launched a couple of years ago. It's no secret that Toyota/Lexus is one of our favorite automakers because, despite all of the technical problems which were reported back in 2009, we've never had a big problem with any Toyota products.
The Venza kind of reminds us of the Dodge Magnum, with its sleek, long lines, with the exception that the Magnum sits too low to the ground, while the Venza offers a much higher wheel base: 19 or 20 inches as opposed to 17- or 18-inch wheels which makes the ride just a bit bumpy. Front or rear wheel drive is also optional.
Out of its class competitors, the Venza falls smack in the middle price wise, with costs inching up just few hundred dollars between the 2009 and 2010 model. With base prices that range from just under $23,000 (the Outback) to the Cross Tour, which is just under $30,000, the Venza has a base prices of $ 26,500 and sits amidst the Volkswagen Passat Wagon; Honda Accord Cross Tour; Ford Edge; Nissan Murano and the Subaru Outback (which looks better than ever these days). The Mazda CX-7 and Subaru Tribeca are also with in the Venza's range.
Starting with its beautiful Tropical Sea Metallic blue paint coat, the Venza is not only sturdy and attractive but it's also and unique looking car which really doesn't fit into either the cross over, mini-van or the SUV category. Other color options include Classic Silver Metallic; Sunset Bronze Mica; Magnetic Gray Metallic; Golden Umber Mica; Blizzard Pearl; Black; Barcelona Red Metallic; Aloe Green Metallic. Seating choices include Light Gray or Ivory, in either leather or cloth. Exterior visuals include twin chrome tail pipes and the option of a two piece glass roof.
The base priced Venza sports a 2.7-liter four-cylinder, that makes 182 horsepower and 182 pounds-feet of torque. But we strongly urge choosing the optional 3.5-liter V-6 which makes 268 hp and 246 pounds-feet of torque, believing the heftier power makes the most since for this five-seater. There's only one transmission choice, a six speed automatic. The Venza, which averages 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, runs on regular gas.
+ Top Story
It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I'd get to test drive a 2012 Dodge Charger for a couple of days. A muscle car that's large enough to seat five passengers and intimidates anyone who pulls up to the stop light next to me? What could be better than that?
The ongoing question for several years after gas/electric configurations first hit the market place was; why can't auto makers build regular looking cars that also feature Green engine technology. We demand cars that are environmentally friendly, spacious and Green all at the same time.
People who may have at one time bought a Volvo because of its strength and safety features were turned off because they were just so, well--ugly quite frankly. Well not anymore.