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2009 Toyota Venza AWD Crossover Review & Test Drive

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The all-new 2009 Toyota Venza crossover brings cutting edge design and more passenger comfort and amenities to the growing crossover segment.  Passenger car power and handing plus versatile and functional five-passenger interior enhancements make the all-new Venza one of the best crossover vehicles on the market.

2009ToyotaVenzaHeadonAction01smallThe development focus of the Venza design team was to create a new vehicle that shifted away from the more traditional SUV styling themes prevalent in today’s market by leaning more heavily on a sleek sedan concept with a wide stance that featured a sporty exterior, but also included important SUV attributes such as cargo space, towing capability and all-wheel-drive performance.

The exterior design begins with an imposing front end featuring a distinctive grille, headlights and fog lamps for an aggressive, yet refined look.  The silhouette shows an aerodynamic shape with short front/rear overhangs, swept-back A-pillars, crisp 2009ToyotaVenzaBeautySide01smallcharacter lines, and a low roofline and ground clearance.  From behind is Venza’s sophisticated and confident appearance is complete with an angled rear hatch, spoiler, wide wraparound tail lamps that interconnect with the hatch door and wide, dual exhaust pipes located under the rear integrated bumper.  Venza’s sweeping lower rocker panels achieve a lower step-over height for easier entry and exit.  Its sizable rear hatch opening enhances loading and unloading of cargo, plus the Venza rides on standard 19in. or optional 20in. wheels and tires giving it a more aggressive and sure-footed look while also improving overall styling and appearance.

2009ToyotaVenzaDashboard01smallThe Venza interior is laid out to enhance driving enjoyment and offer premium comfort.  The flow of the center console creates a unique 60/60 design that gives both you and your front passenger the look and feeling that 60% of the space is accessible from each seating position.  Venza’s standard Optitron speedometer and tachometer and multi-color center instrument panel display can be paired with an optional satin mahogany wood-grain style trim.  Dual-zone climate system controls are centrally located on the upper console providing easy access for both you and your passenger.

2009ToyotaVenzaCargoHold01smallPersonal space lends overall comfort to the vehicle’s interior.  Measurements for head clearance, should room, hip room and couple distance surpass other crossovers.  Venza’s additional utility, located in the rear cargo area, is realized with fold-down 60/40 rear seats, one-touch fold-down seat levers, and a tonneau cover.

Venza’s technological refinements allow all occupants to enjoy the pleasures of personal road travel.  The Venza is equipped with a wide assortment of standard features on all models.  Among the many exterior feature are the integrated fog lamps, privacy glass and roof-mounted XM satellite radio antenna.  The standard rear door includes an easy-close function or electrically-powered cinch function that ensures the vehicle’s hatch is not left partially open.  Interior features also 2009ToyotaVenzaInstrumentCluster01smallinclude dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration and second row seat vents to create a sense of enhanced comfort, power door locks with all windows up/down express, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with integrated audio controls, cruise-control, an overhead console with dual map lamps, rear seat adjustable personal reading lamps, and three-12-volt power outlets.

Venza’s surprising utility includes several clever storage locations and functional lighting.  Standard storage features such as an adjustable center console with sliding cover and armrest, dual cup-holders, three MP3 player holders with wire concealment 2009ToyotaVenzaBackSeats01smallfeatures and a large storage compartment remove clutter.  The compartment is also equipped with an auxiliary audio jack and 12-volt power outlet.  The upper portion of the center console houses the gear-shift lever for easy and comfortable driver access.  Map pockets and bottle holders are integrated into the drivers and front passenger doors to provide additional storage.  An on/off switch on the overhead console enables front seat occupants to turn on or off all four personal overhead interior lights.  The rear seat also comes with a pull-down armrest and dual cup-holders under a lid for more comfort when not needed.

2009ToyotaVenzaFrontSeats01smallFor your listening pleasure the Venza offers three different audio systems.  The standard system includes an AM-FM six-disc, in-dash CD changer with integrated satellite radio, MP3/WMA playback and six speakers.  Optional audio equipment is available with JBL Synthesis surround sound AM-FM six-disc in-dash CD changer with integrated satellite radio, MP3/WMA playback, hands-free phone capability via Bluetooth wireless technology and 13-speakers.  For the ultimate audio experience, also available is a voice-activated, touch-screen, six-generation DVD navigation system with JBL Synthesis surround sound AM-FM four-disc, in-dash, CD changer with integrated satellite radio with XM NavTraffic, MP3/WMA playback capability, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology and 13-speakers.  Rear seat passengers can enjoy an optional DVD entertainment system that features JBL Synthesis surround sound, a 9in. color display, two wireless headphones, a remote, an auxiliary mini-jack, a 120-volt outlet and RCA mini-jacks.

2009ToyotaVenzaEngine01smallThe new Venza offers two engines to give customers more flexibility when considering their driving needs.  New to the Toyota line-up and standard on Venza is the fuel-efficient 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine which will deliver 182hp at 5,800rpm and 182lb.ft. of torque at 4,200rpm.  A 3.5 liter V6 produces 268hp at 6,200rpm and 246lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm is optional.  Both engines are mated to a 6-speed sequential-shift electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i).  The 6-speed ECT-i provides a fun driving experience and helps improve fuel economy.  EPA estimates for the 4-cylinder engine is 21mpg/city and 29mpg/highway, while the V6 should get about 19mpg/city and 26mpg/highway but that can vary by the way you drive and the terrain you traverse.

2009ToyotaVenzaRearAction01smallOn all models, Venza also employs uphill/downhill shift logic control that selects the proper gear for driving conditions and helps provide moderate engine braking during downhill driving.  Both the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines are available in front and all-wheel-drive configurations.  Venza’s Active Torque Control AWD System optimizes torque distribution between the front and rear wheels to help ensure stable acceleration and smooth cornering.  All-wheel-drive enhanced traction and helps provide excellent overall handling in inclement weather over slick road surfaces.

Venza was designed with a lower center of gravity to help provide dynamic handling, which is further enhanced with large wheels and tires.  The 4-cylinder models ride on 10-spoke, 19X7.5in. aluminum alloy wheels, while the V6 models ride on distinctive 20X7.5in. five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, the largest of any Toyota passenger car.

2009ToyotaVenzaDoorTrim01smallVenza features a body structure that relies on high tensile-strength steel, gussets and crossmembers for its strength, rigidity and lighter weight.  Its fully independent suspension helps you enjoy a smooth ride with excellent handling ability.  Up front is a rigid L-arm-type MacPherson strut setup with a stabilizer bar, and the suspension is a dual-link MacPherson strut setup with stabilizer bar.  The wheelbase-to-overall length ratio lends itself to improved stability and ride comfort.

Electronic, rack & pinion power steering is employed to minimize steering effort and provide a ride experience more like that of a sedan.  Electronic Power Steering helps provide a more direct steering feel at both high and low speeds, and assists when maneuvering the vehicle in tight parking spaces.

Quickly slowing the Venza down from speed are 4-wheel, power-assisted disc brakes.

Up front are 12.8in. vented discs and 11.7in. solid discs in the rear.  Enhancing Venza’s stopping and control ability is standard ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist.  Keeping you on tracking during hard cornering or when maneuvering on slick road surfaces is standard Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control.

2009ToyotaVenzaBadge01smallVenza is equipped with a comprehensive list of other standard safety features such as a total of seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, driver/front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, and front and side curtain airbags.  Front seat belt pretensioners with force limiters cinch the seat at the time of a frontal collision, and the dual-stage force limiter helps the seat belt force applied t the driver and front passenger’s chest.  The front seat headrests are also active and react by moving the headrest up and forward to limit wipe-lash in collisions from the rear.

Additional options not listed above includes a electric dual panorama sunroof, power rear hatch with jam protection, smart key system with push button start/stop, leather trimmed seats, rear-bumper protection, tow hitch, carpeted floor mats, and a cargo mat covering an under-floor storage area.

The all-new 2009 Toyota Venza brings fun-to-drive, cutting edge style to the crossover segment along with a choice of two powerful, fuel-efficient engines, a premium, well-thought out interior that can be configured in many ways to help store your cargo with the latest innovations in passenger comfort, ergonomics, and safety systems.

Prices start at just $26,000.00 for the 4-cylinder equipped Venza.



Price: MSRP $25,975

Type: Midsize Wagon
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 189 in.
Width: 75 in.
Height: 63.4 in.
Wheel Base: 109.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 8.1 in.
Curb Weight: 4045 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5270 lbs.
Front Head Room: 39.6 in.
Front Hip Room: 56 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 60 in.
Rear Head Room: 39.3 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 59 in.
Rear Hip Room: 56.5 in.
Front Leg Room: 40.2 in.
Rear Leg Room: 39.1 in.
Luggage Capacity: 30.7 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 70 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine Size: 3.5 liters
Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 268 hp
Max Horsepower: 6200 rpm
Torque: 246 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4700 rpm
Maximum Towing Capacity: 3500 lbs.
Drive Type: AWD Turning Circle: 39.1 ft.
0-60mph: 6.9 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.7 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 18 mpg / 25 mpg / 21 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 318.6 mi. / 442.5 mi. / 371.7 mi.


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