Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
upshifts smoothly, and its short lower ratios mean the Venza nails the whole go part of get-up-and-go
The V6 is the better choice here, as it provides sufficient power for most any need.
there's not much for driving enthusiasts to get excited about beyond that excellent six-cylinder
The steering was also incredibly vague
we found the Venza's moves to be fairly athletic
You won't be reading this review if you're looking for a performance vehicle, so it won't come as a surprise to find the Venza's a competent performer, not exciting in the way it steers or accelerates. That said, it's perfectly poised and positioned for the drivers that pick it out of the big crossover pack.
Toyota offers a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines in the Venza. For any driver not needing moderate towing ability, we'd suggest the four-cylinder. It's a 2.7-liter four with 182 horsepower, found in many other vehicles in the Toyota lineup. It putters about almost anonymously, and can feel a little coarse and strained once you fill the cabin or press it up steep hills--but in most situations, it's an eminently reasonable choice, and gets the best fuel economy of the lineup, too. Toyota also offers a 3.5-liter V-6 with 268 horsepower, and it feels smoother and stronger, though not truly quick, and gas mileage falls below some seven-seat crossovers we've admired.The Venza is configured for a smooth ride and reasonably responsive performance on the road, but sprightly it is not. We've found the Venza's driving experience to be adequate, but numb and uninspiring. It drives much more like a minivan than a sport sedan; though you can hustle the Venza along, you won't feel inspired to as the steering feel is quite vague and there's a lot of body roll. We've also found that four-cylinder models ride a bit better without handling any worse, although in either model wind and road noise aren't muted to luxury-car levels either.
Off-roading simply isn't part of the 2011 Venza vocabulary. All-wheel drive is available, but for the weight and cost it brings, we'd recommend it only for those who need all-weather traction for more than a few weeks at a time.
Excitement isn't on the road map for the Venza, but it's competent and secure on the road.