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FEATURES | 8 out of 10
JBL system provided little clarity at either end of the bass/treble spectrum
a deep, divided center console, bins for holding cell phones and MP3 players, and bottle holders in all four doors
A high-mounted LCD screen shows trip computer and climate control information along with the optional back-up camera display.
Why in the world does the radio slope up and away from the driver?
And finally finally finally: power windows have an auto up/down function for all four doors.
Toyota fits the Venza with a good deal of standard equipment, which makes the lower-priced versions some of the better values in the crossover class.
The Venza now comes in three distinct trim levels. The Venza LE offers power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering with audio controls; Bluetooth; an AM/FM/CD player; and a USB port and an auxiliary jack. The XLE version gets a rearview camera; a power tailgate; leather; and heated front seats. The Venza Limited -- only offered as a V-6 -- piles on a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system.
Unlike many other vehicles, most options are available a la carte, without the requirement to buy a pricey package or step to a more expensive trim level. Highlights from the options list include leather upholstery, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a power liftgate, a Smart Key system with push-button start, leather trim, a cargo mat, and all sorts of pet-friendly accessories.Audiophiles will want to upgrade to the JBL Synthesis system with Bluetooth and 13 speakers, coupled to a touchscreen navigation system and XM with NavTraffic. Connectivity was improved last year with the introduction of standard iPod connectivity across the model line, along with Bluetooth hands-free functions. The available, top-of-the-line JBL premium audio system is impressive sounding, and also earns Bluetooth audio streaming.
The Venza's well equipped for crossover duty, with some Lexus-like features and options.