2013 Toyota Venza: Preview

March 7, 2012
2011 Toyota Venza

2011 Toyota Venza

A refreshed version of Toyota's Venza crossover is due to be introduced at the New York Auto Show next month, and while Toyota hasn't yet given us a good look at the new Venza (other than this teaser photo above), it's now released enough details about the upcoming model so that we have a pretty good idea where it's headed.

The 2013 Toyota Venza will be reshaped to some degree, including a new upper and lower grille, different fog lamps, a new taillight design, and a new 19-inch wheel design. And to freshen the look, three new colors will join the palette: Attitude Black, Cypress Pearl, and Cosmic Gray Mica. Based on the teaser image, the headlights and grille will likely more closely match the designs introduced in the latest 2012 Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon models--but differences, really, are slight.

Before we get a closer look at the new Venza, the biggest news is probably its bolstered connectivity and infotainment features. The 2013 Venza will gain Toyota's Entune suite of multi-media features, as well as a revised feature list and option packages. Specifically, Entune comes with the middle Venza XLE trim on up, and top Limited models will get Premium hard-disk-based navigation and JBL sound in conjunction with Entune.

As before, the Venza will be offered in four-cylinder or V-6 form, in base LE, mid-range XLE, and top-lux Limited trims—again with the Limited model V-6-only. But each level adds some other new features for 2013. LE models get new Display Audio systems (comparable to those that made their debut in the 2013 Camry), plus a blind-spot side mirrors, puddle lamps, and outer turn signals. Venza XLE models get a memory power driver's seat, reverse-tilt outside mirrors, and navigation—in addition to Entune. And at the top of the line, all Limited models now get LED daytime running lights plus the JBL/nav/Entune combination.

Outside of these feature revisions, as well as a tweaked exterior and interior design, we don't expect the 2013 Venza to change all that significantly. Since the model's original debut, for 2009, it's occupied a middle ground between crossovers, like the Nissan Murano and Ford Edge; station wagons; and 'alternative' more fastback-like vehicles such as the Honda Accord Crosstour (now just renamed the Crosstour). It both looks and drives like a middle ground between the Camry mid-size sedan and the Highlander utility vehicle—aiming at those who want a higher seating position and easier entry, without a trucky ride or off-road ability.

Over several drives, we've found the Venza to be strong and smooth, but not all that inspiring from behind the wheel. Its seats are indeed comfortable—and its earned excellent safety ratings—but we've noted that some of the current Venza's hard-plastic interior trim to be a bit disappointing, so we hope Toyota improves on that.

See our full review of the 2012 Venza for more information about the current model. Also, stay tuned for live pictures and other info about the 2013 Toyota Venza by following our New York Auto Show coverage.

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