2013 Toyota Venza Review – by MaryAnne Wendt
It was the perfect day to drive to Temecula with my husband and three friends in the 2013 Toyota Venza. This roomy five-passenger wagon surprised me with its smooth ride, sporty details and high tech features.
Our test model was the XLE with a V6 3.5 liter engine. I enjoyed the 6-speed automatic with sequential shift mode. Click to the left for manual, tap it up to shift up and down to downshift. The placement of the shifter is a bit high but it seemed to work for this cabin design. The center console extended forward to serve as a nice armrest. As an SUV driver, armrests are a must for me. One super cool feature is the nifty cell phone dock. I like having easy access to my iPhone at all times.
The power and handling were impressive. I enjoyed hitting the gas and being able to pass Grandma in her Buick LeSabre and big 18 wheelers on the freeway with ease. Body lean was minimal, but the engine noise was not. When you are cranking up the tunes on the 13-speaker JBL sound system, you don’t notice it as much. We lost radio signal through the toll roads, so satellite radio saved the day. What did a carload of 40-something year olds choose to listen to? 80’s rock, of course! Journey and Rush rocked us all the way to Temecula!
The interior is gorgeous with the thick stitching and piping accents on the leather seats. Wood grain treatment on the dash is a luxurious touch. Our three friends had plenty of room in the rear stadium seats and had a nice view on our way to Wine Country. The panoramic sunroof also provided a wonderful view of the sky. And, there are virtually no blind spots while driving the Venza. Great view all around!
Tech goodies include: Toyota’s Entune multimedia providing smart phone integration, navigation, entertainment and cool apps including Bing, MovieTickets.com, Pandora and iHeartRadio. I really love the two touch screen DVD systems on the headrests so the kiddos (or adults) can enjoy two different movies with wireless headphones. Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary audio jack and USB port are standard.
Overall, the Venza was a joy to drive and was very comfortable for our road trip to Temecula. The vineyards were beautiful. The power liftgate came in handy as we walked out with armfuls of wine and gifts from the shop. Just hit the button on the remote and the hatch magically opens for you.
Starting MSRP is $27,850 for the LE 4 cylinder and tops out at $39,020 for the V6 AWD Limited model. Our test model was the XLE V6 FWD at $33,330 and was the perfect middle in comparison to the different trim levels.
Why This Ride?
- Power and Handling
- Luxurious interior
- Multimedia features
- Remote click power lift-gate feature