The Venza carries into its second model year with no significant changes. That's the short story, however some people might find the Venza's entertainment system considerably more functional; tech-savvy shoppers will be quick to verify that an USB auxiliary port and iPod connectivity are newly standard across the 2010 Toyota Venza model line, along with Bluetooth hands-free calling features that are built into the audio system.
In TheCarConnection.com's updated Bottom Line covering the 2010 Toyota Venza, we point to its attractive styling, versatile tall-wagon body style, and fuel efficiency as reasons we like the Venza, along with available all-wheel drive; however the steering, along with road noise and uninspired materials and trims, sum up our dislikes. To elaborate on the last point, the materials used in the Venza look good from a distance, but up close they're not as delightful and there's just too much hard plastic.
TheCarConnection.com has now been in the Venza several times over the past year, and while this crossover is a good-looking vehicle it's not that exciting to drive in any of its trims. Although the V-6 adds a friskier feel and brings a smooth, responsive feel overall, we tend to recommend the base 182-horspower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder and front-wheel drive because you'll save some gas—EPA ratings are 21 mpg city, 29 highway—and get a powertrain combination that's just fine for the Venza's personality. That goes to say that the Venza isn't meant for enjoying switchbacks and rutted backroads; the electric power steering is quite dull and lifeless, even if the suspension's capable. V-6 models gets slightly different spring and damper settings to handle their larger 20-inch wheels, but be aware that ride comfort suffers.
Another reason to stick with the four-cylinder if you're thinking of the Venza? If you must have a V-6, you should head over to the Lexus showroom before you decide, as the 2010 Lexus RX 350 costs just a few grand more than a loaded V-6 Venza. Both vehicles have top-notch safety.
The Venza is a focused product for the North Americas market. It was designed in Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and mostly engineered at Toyota's tech center in Ann Arbor. Assembly is in Georgetown, Kentucky, and Toyota says that more than 70 percent of the Venza's components come from North American suppliers.
Pricing is up just $300 versus last year's model.