Car review of the 2013 Toyota Venza XLE, 2013 Toyota Venza XLE photos and pics
2013 Toyota Venza XLE

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The definition of what’s a car or truck is getting harder to determine every day, and the new 2013 Toyota Venza XLE V6 AWD doesn't really fit either description. Technically billed as a crossover, the 2013 Venza boasts the comfort of a car, utility of a truck, and things that neither can totally match.

Exterior

Our 2013 Toyota Venza’s aerodynamic shape has been tastefully modified with a new upper and lower grille, fog lamps and rear taillights. The 20-inch alloy wheels look very sporty along with projector beam headlamps, heated power outside mirrors with turn signal, privacy glass, touch sensor lock, unlock door handles and power liftgate with jam protection. We also received plenty of compliments on the stunning Barcelona Red metallic paint on this stylish vehicle. We learned that the Venza design was the creation of Toyota’s Calty Design studios in Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. Calty designers leaned toward a sleek crossover concept with a wide stance that featured a sporty exterior. Toyota found the right balance in the Venza where the overall look is sleek with a very functional twist as well.

Interior

This is where Toyota really hit the mark, as the cabin of the 2013 Toyota Venza XLE V6 AWD is so comfortable you could spend a weekend inside without leaving. The black leather seating is as comfortable as any car or crossover we have tested to date, and we have tested some great vehicles over the years. The material and width of both the front and rear seats really made an impression. The flow of the center console creates a unique “60/60” design that gives both the driver and front passenger the feeling that 60 percent of the space is accessible from their seating position. All grades have a standard Optitron speedometer and tachometer. Our XLE also included a TFT multi-color center instrument panel display. Dual-zone automatic climate system controls are centrally located on the upper console, providing easy access for both the driver and front passenger. Rear storage is plentiful for long trips or for those dedicated baseball coaches’ equipment.

The 2013 Venza also offers the Toyota Entune multimedia system, which we found very useful. Toyota Entune supports engaging mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable and movietickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services like live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks and sports. Toyota Entune has a large selection of music options available to a vehicle, including iHeartRadio’s 750+ stations and Pandora’s personalized music service.

2013 Toyota Venza XLE

Performance

The 2013 Toyota Venza is not a small crossover, so we recommend the larger V6 engine choice for superior performance. The 3.5-liter V6 produces 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 246 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. The V6 FWD model we tested has EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 MPG city/26 MPG highway and 18/25 for the AWD. Both engines are teamed with a six-speed sequential-shift electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i). The six-speed ECT-i provides an engaging driving experience and helps optimize fuel economy. Uphill/downhill shift logic selects the proper gear for driving conditions and helps provide moderate engine braking during downhill driving.

Venza's Active Torque Control AWD System optimizes torque distribution between the front and rear wheels to help ensure stable acceleration and smooth cornering on all road surfaces. AWD offers enhanced traction and helps provide excellent overall handling in inclement weather.

We found the V6 AWD Venza to be a steady vehicle on the highway and much more of a smooth ride than anything resembling a sport suspension. Per Toyota, “Venza’s body structure relies on high tensile-strength steel, gussets and cross members for its strength, rigidity and optimized weight. Front suspension consists of a rigid L-arm-type MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar, and the rear suspension is a dual-link MacPherson strut setup with stabilizer bar. Electric power steering (EPS), with its ideally weighted steering effort, contributes to the Venza’s spirited driving dynamics. EPS helps provide a more direct steering feel at both high and low speeds and delivers just-right assist when maneuvering the vehicle into tight parking spaces.” I would guess that most folks in the market for a Venza would be pleased with the driving experience.

Overview

The 2013 Toyota Venza XLE V6 AWD has so much to offer the growing family or buyers who covet space and a smooth ride. The fit and finish in the interior of the Venza is precise and upscale, and with amenities like 20-inch wheels, there is plenty of style to go around as well. Our media loaner was pretty much loaded and came in with a sticker price of $35,887, which translates into a lot of car for the price.

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