What Changed for 2009:
- The Venza is an all-new model for 2009
- Part Camry sedan, part Highlander sport utility, Toyota calls Venza \"car optimized\"
- All-new 4-cylinder engine
- Toyota \"firsts\" include standard 20-inch wheels (on V-6 model), Panoramic 2-glass-panel roof, automatic high-beam headlamps, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connection
- First \"sedan\" with Toyota's STAR safety system developed for trucks and utility vehicles
- Design takes Toyota's \"vibrant clarity\" styling from the auto show stand to the road
The Venza is an all-new addition to the Toyota model lineup. It is a cross between Toyota's Camry sedan and their Highlander sport utility vehicle-all wrapped in a stylish package that Toyota says showcases its new \"vibrant clarity\" design theme, seen on recent Toyota concept cars. Based on the FT-SX concept vehicle, the Venza is part sedan and part utility vehicle, all wrapped in freeform geometrics and aerodynamically sculpted lines with oversized wheels.
Toyota has essentially taken the front end of the Camry, grafted it to the mid-section of the Highlander, and added a unique and stylish tail section to create a versatile vehicle with two rows of seating and a large cargo area, giving the Japanese automaker a model that competes with the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7. The Venza has the same overall length as the Camry, but offers the same ground clearance as the Highlander. Its roofline is taller than the Camry's but lower than the Highlander's. The Venza's interior has a modern design with an asymmetric dashboard and lots of leg room for those sitting in the back seat.
While the exterior has \"look-at-me\" styling, Toyota wanted the interior to be surprisingly roomy and to offer comfort and utility, making the journey as rewarding as the destination. While many interior designs leave the driver and front-seat passenger each feeling as thought only 40 percent of the dashboard is accessible, the asymmetric design of the Venza instrument panel and center stack was done to give the optical illusion that 60 percent is personalized for each forward occupant.
The interior offers plenty of storage room, including a compartment for a cell phone or iPod with power cords hidden out of the sight. Front cupholders slide within the center console to enhance access to storage areas within the console.
The Venza's name comes from a merging of parts: VEN comes from the first syllable of \"venture\" and ZA comes from the last syllable of \"Monza,\" the famed racetrack in northern Italy.
The single Venza model is available in four versions: 4-cylinder front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder all-wheel drive, V-6 front-wheel drive, and V-6 all-wheel drive. Standard equipment on all 2009 Toyota Venzas includes dual-zone automatic climate controls; seven air bags; Toyota's STAR safety system (with anti-lock brakes and vehicle stability control); electronic power steering; cruise control; privacy glass; in-dash 6-disc CD changer; roof-mounted XM satellite radio antenna; tilt-and-telescoping steering column with audio controls on the steering wheel; power windows; second-row reading lamps; and rear seatbacks that recline up to 14 degrees and can be tipped forward and flat via one-touch controls in the cargo area. Also standard is a rear cargo cover; HomeLink remote garage door opener; electrochromic rearview mirror with compass; fog lamps; Easy Auto Closer rear hatch; 3.5-inch multi-function display with clock; outside temperature and trip computer; power locks; remote keyless entry; Optitron gauges; overhead console with map lights; center console with sliding cupholders and an armrest; and sun visors with vanity mirrors.
Stand-alone options on the new Venza include a panoramic glass roof with sun shades; voice-activated and touch-screen navigation system with JBL Synthesis surround sound and Bluetooth wireless technology; rear-seat DVD entertainment system; and JBL Synthesis audio system without navigation. Eight option packages are also available. These include leather seating options, towing packages and lighting upgrades (high-intensity-discharge headlamps with automatic high beams).
Toyota offers the all-new Venza with a choice of two engines. The standard engine is a new, 2.7-liter 4-cylinder unit that pumps out 182 hp to either the front or all four wheels. Linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, the powerplant is EPA-rated at 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway with 2WD and 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with all-wheel drive.
The second engine choice is a 3.5-liter V-6. It is shared with the Camry sedan and Highlander utility, and again linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This engine is rated at 268 hp and gets 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway with 2WD and 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway with AWD, according to the EPA.
The 4-cylinder Venza rides on standard 19-inch wheels while Venzas with a V-6 engine get 20-inch wheels.
The 2009 Venza is the first Toyota \"sedan\" to be equipped with the automaker's STAR safety system. Originally developed for its trucks and utility vehicle models, it includes anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control and brake assist. The Venza also gets hill-start assist control designed to keep the vehicle from rolling down a hill when starting on an incline. The Venza comes with seven air bags: front, side, curtain and a special knee-protecting air bag for the driver. The Venza also has \"active\" front-seat headrests designed to minimize whiplash forces.
As an all-new model, the 2009 Toyota Venza has not been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).