Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,800 – $24,600*

2009 Toyota Venza Front

2009 Toyota Venza Rear

2009 Toyota Venza Interior

2009 Toyota Venza Profile

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • Entry/exit
  • Rear-seat comfort
  • Rear-seat room
  • Acceleration (4-cylinder)
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-corner visibility
  • Ride (due to oversize tires)
  • Wind noise

Like the Camry and Highlander upon which it’s based, Venza simply isn’t an excitement machine. On the other hand, it’s quite versatile and surprisingly roomy. Avoid the underpowered four-cylinder engine in favor of the smoother, more refined V6. Overall, Venza is more like a traditional station wagon. As such, it seems compromised by American-market realities that prefer SUV-flavored crossovers. New-car pricing has been on the steep side, and used-car prices may remain high due to Toyota’s long-standing reputation for reliability and traditional strong resale value.


Launched for 2009, the brand-new Toyota Venza was the latest addition to this widely-known Japanese automaker’s lineup. In size and price, this midsize four-door, five-passenger wagon slotted between the Camry sedan and the Highlander crossover SUV. Sharing some of its basic design with both of those vehicles, Venza came in a single trim level, with a choice of two engines and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The base engine was a 182-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder. Offered as an alternative was a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Each engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Four-cylinder models could tow up to 2500 pounds, and the V6 could tow as much as 3500 pounds. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, front side airbags, curtain side airbags with rollover deployment, and a driver’s knee airbag. Four-cylinder models came with 19-inch wheels, while V6 versions rode on standard 20-inch wheels. A navigation system, keyless access and engine start, leather upholstery, and heated front seats were among the Venza options. A panoramic glass roof with power front section also was optional, along with DVD entertainment, but both of these features could not be ordered together. Competitors included the Kia Rondo, Nissan Murano, and Subaru Outback.

Yearly Updates

2010 Venza
No major change was evident in Venza’s second season. All Venzas now had iPod connectivity, as well as a USB port for an auxiliary music source and Bluetooth wireless technology. Venza was one of the Toyota vehicles recalled for a sticking accelerator pedal, amid a flurry of negative publicity for the company.
2011 Venza
The 2011 Toyota Venza was largely unchanged.
2012 Venza
The model lineup for the 2012 Toyota Venza was broken into LE, XLE, and Limited trim levels, but there were no other changes of note.
2013 Venza
Toyota gave Venza a freshening for 2013. Highlights included updated styling and some new features, including the brand’s Entune infotainment system.
2014 Venza
For 2014, some Venza models received extra standard features. XLE and Limted models added power-folding side mirrors, and the Limited picked up front and rear parking sensors.
2015 Venza
Toyota’s car-like crossover SUV received a few minor updates for its swan-song season: A rearview camera was standard on all models, and all V6 Venzas were equipped with a towing package.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Four-cylinder and V6 engines have been available for the Venza. Toyota’s 2.7-liter four-cylinder makes 182 horsepower, versus 268 hp for the 3.5-liter V6. Both engines mate with a six-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.7/165
Engine HP 182
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 182
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 21/29
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 268
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 246
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic 19/26 24.1

Road Test

Acceleration depends upon engine choice. With front-wheel drive, the four-cylinder model has just adequate power for around-town driving. That engine strains going up hills, while highway passing and merging require plenty of road room for safety’s sake. The V6 is the better choice, as it provides plenty of power for most any need. Though smooth with both engines, the transmission is far “busier” with the four-cylinder than the V6.

Fuel economy isn’t bad for this class. A test V6 Venza averaged 22.0 to 26.4 mpg, with slightly more highway driving than city activity. Both engines use regular-grade gasoline.

Ride quality suffers from the choice of Venza’s tires. Good suspension tuning cannot fully compensate for tires that are simply too large for a vehicle of this type. Four-cylinder Venzas have 19-inch tires, and V6 versions have 20s. Occupants feel most road imperfections, and sharp bumps register with undue harshness.

Though not quite as carlike as a Kia Rondo or Subaru Outback, the Venza never feels ponderous. While Venza is competent and controlled in most every situation, tight, fast turns bring pronounced body lean. Steering feel is good, though testers have divided on brake-pedal feel. Some have said it’s fine; others cited mushy responses. All-wheel drive would be a plus for slick roads.

Venza’s level of interior quietness is somewhat disappointing overall. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines are loud during acceleration, and both models suffer excess wind noise from around the windshield and exterior mirrors. The four-cylinder is particularly fussy when pushed. The V6 is a bit louder and less refined than we’ve come to expect from Toyota, but it’s much quieter at cruise than the four-cylinder.

Large gauges are easy to read. With or without the available navigation system, Venza has a simple, handy, and logical control system for audio and climate functions. The climate controls are grouped together on a small pod in the center dashboard stack, but everything is clearly marked and easy for the driver and passenger to use. The navigation system seems daunting at first, but is actually quite simple to program. It absorbs, but does not complicate, audio functions. The audio system supports wireless streaming from compatible digital-music players, but no USB port was included until 2010. No models with the Entune infotainment system have been available for testing.

Cabin materials on models equipped with the standard cloth seats are pleasant, though nothing special. Versions with the available leather upholstery have contrasting, visible stitching on the seats, adding a more upscale feel. Models with cloth seats have faux carbon-fiber trim, with a tacky brown hue. Versions with the optional leather upholstery include woodgrain trim that looks much nicer. While cabins generally look good, some test Venzas have disappointed with sloppy assembly quality, including uneven gaps and misaligned dashboard panels.

Front-seat occupants should enjoy ample headroom and legroom. Slightly longer seat bottoms would improve long-distance comfort, but the seats are supportive overall. The standard manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel and power driver’s seat make it easy to find a good driving position. Fore and aft visibility are good, though the view to the rear corners is tricky because of very thick roof pillars. Low step-in height eases entry and exit.

Back-seat comfort is a highlight, as Venza’s rear bench is long-haul supportive. Headroom, legroom, and under-seat foot space are generous. A reclining seatback has been standard, further enhancing comfort. As in front, step-in is low, making for easy entry and exit.

Numerically speaking, Venza has slightly less total cargo volume than many wagons and SUVs. Yet in reality, it holds an ample amount of gear. A low deck and wide floor are helpful. Rear seatbacks don’t fold completely flat, but go down far enough to where they shouldn’t impede the loading of large items. A steeply slanted tailgate means taller items will only fit in the forward section of the cargo bay. Interior storage includes a deep, divided center console; bins for holding cell phones and MP3 players; and bottle holders in all four doors. Each front door pocket can accommodate maps and two bottles.


Model Tested: 2010 Toyota Venza AWD V6

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 6
Ride Quality - 5
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 9


Value - 5

Total: 62


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.3 189.0 75.0 63.4 3760
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
70.1 17.7 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 39.3 40.2 39.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Venza 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5

Trouble Spots

Alternator belt
Description: Charging system may become inoperable. An updated pulley is available. (2009-11)
Oil leak
Description: Oil-cooler pipe may leak. (2009-11)
Steering noise
Description: Rattle or popping from steering column when turning or on rough roads. (2009-11)
Vehicle noise
Description: A groaning noise from the rear when accelerating, slowing, or going over speed bumps is caused by the rear coil springs insulators out of position and revised insulators are available. (2009-10)
Wind noise
Description: If there is wind noise at the front door(s), the weatherstrip must be replaced. (2009-10)
Interior trim
Description: A rattle from the center of the dash may be due to a loose or cross-threaded instrument panel mounting bolt. (2009-10)
Interior trim
Description: The interior door trim may peel and improved panels should have been installed. (2009)

Recall History

2009-10 Venza
Description: Accelerator pedal in some vehicles could stick in wide-open position, due to being trapped by an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat.
2009-11 Venza w/aftermarket heated seats
Description: The wiring of aftermarket heated seats installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors may short circuit and cause a fire.
2009-2011 Venza
Description: Silicone grease may have contacted the stop lamp switch during assembly, triggering warning lamps, no-start condition, immovable shift lever, or inoperative brake lights.
2009-2013 Venza
Description: Certain 2009 through 2013 model Venza vehicles that had accessories including leather seat covers, seat heaters, or headrest-mounted DVD systems installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) may not have a properly calibrated occupant sensing system in the passenger-side front seat. This makes it possible that the passenger’s side air bag will not deploy at all or deploy with inappropriate force for the size of the passenger in the seat.
2010-13 Venza
Description: Certain 2010 through 2013 model Venza vehicles sold by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET) may have been fitted with labels that inaccurately describe the vehicle’s weight.
2010-2012 Venza
Description: Inaccurate label lists an inaccurate amount of allowable added weight.
2011 Venza
Description: There is a possibility that the front, right, drive shaft may break due to insufficient heat treatment. Should the shaft break during vehicle operation, the vehicle will lose power without prior warning. Loss of motive power without warning may increase the risk of a crash. Toyota will notify owners and dealers will inspect the drive shaft, and, if the shaft is identified as one that may not have been correctly manufactured, it will be replaced with a new one at no charge.
2012-13 Venza
Description: The air conditioning condenser’s drain hose may become clogged allowing water to collect in the unit’s housing. The collected water may leak and get the air bag control module wet which may lead to a short circuit. This can result in inoperative airbags or inadvertent air bag deployment.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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