2012 Toyota Venza Comfort & Quality

8.0
Comfort & Quality

Shaped like the related Lexus RX 350, the Toyota Venza has what seems to be a lower roofline and a shorter overall length than some crossovers, but it's very roomy inside, with tremendous space for five adults and a good amount of cargo.

In all seats, but especially in front, the Venza carves out plenty of leg and head room for passengers. The driver's seat offers up an upright, high seating position, and the step-in height strikes us as perfect for those who don't have it as easy climbing into traditional SUVs.

Five adults can truly be comfortable inside the Venza; we wish some of its plastic trim were nicer.

There's no third-row seat offered with the Venza--that's the Highlander's job--but the second-row seats can truly accommodate three adults. Tall drivers can move their seats back as far as they need, and the Venza still provides great leg and knee room. The back bench also reclines for good long-distance comfort.

The back seat also folds down to improve cargo space, which doesn't usually need the help, frankly. The Venza also has some well-conceived storage bins and cubbies for smaller items, and its cup holders are deep and useful. However, the cargo area doesn't come with any organizers, so carving up the space will be up to you.

The bigger disappointment is in the Venza's interior trim—it's oddly textured with lines that highlight its vast pieces of plastic, instead of diminishing them, and overall the materials just don't keep pace with the upscale, luxury-oriented message. Taller drivers need to rest their knees against the hard-plastic ridge on the side of the center stack—an irritating detail. The Venza's tall doors also feel thin and insubstantial—more like those on a Prius—and resonate with cabin noise.

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