2014 Toyota Venza Review


The Toyota Venza is a bit of an odd duck, with few direct competitors in the rather marginal "fat-wagon" family. Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela tested the 2014 version of the Venza and found that it gets a lot right, particularly for a parent running around town getting groceries and ferrying children to school and such — even on slick winter roads. Problems became evident, however, when Varela hit the highway; that's when the cabin — already hampered by some cheap-looking materials — became a sonic assault of road noise. Read the review below.

2014 Toyota Venza Expert Review


RIP Kaizan

If it didn't have a slanted rear window, was a foot or more longer in the back, and had more usable storage space it would work out rather well. Heck they should make the rear doors slide while they are at it. Toyota is afraid to make a true family wagon and so is everyone else.

Which leaves anyone with two large dogs and a family stuck in mini-vans or two vehicles.


Agreed, RIP. Honda has an Acura wagon here but who wants an overpriced, sporty wagon?? The Honda Accord version of that wagon is sold all over the world. Just not here. I'd buy one in a second.

Subaru is the only wagon to buy at this point.

Mike / CTMechE

Agreed - a proper wagon is a lost breed. Apparently people need it to look "tougher" or sit higher in order to buy something. And god forbid you get something with sliding doors (which our next vehicle will have)

We currently have an Outback because it's the closest thing to a wagon I could get for a reasonable price (i.e. not a $42k base price BMW 3-series wagon)
I had hope for the TSX Wagon, but it was $32k for the 4-cylinder/automatic transmission only. No thanks.

I have to think a proper Camry or Accord wagon woud sell well, knowing the fuel economy the new Camry/Accord wagons are getting. But they have to sell for similar cost as the sedans - no jacked up price or jacked up suspensions.
But when a base Venza is $5k more than a base Camry, it makes me frustrated.
An Accord or Camry wagon for under $25k? yes please.


If you prefer wagons, there's no need to slam people who prefer higher riding vehicles. The higher seating position gives a better view of the road ahead and makes it easier to scan the ditches for deer. The vehicles you criticize also in most cases have greater ground clearance making it easier to traverse deep snow. Finally, the objects of your derision are better tow vehicles.


...not to mention the fact that the outback you drive is also a jacked up vehicle. That's right, for years subaru sold the jacked up outback next to the normal ride height legacy wagon on which it was based.

Mike / CTMechE

I only deride the SUVs because their significant popularity has killed off the availability of wagons for the rest of us. I simply resent the lack of options that they've come to represent.

And for every person that likes a higher ride height of a Venza, I'm sure there are two who'd love the 5 MPG combined fuel economy improvement that a Camry wagon would get (based on the Camry sedan).

Liftgate practicality shouldn't require a handling, weight, and fuel economy penalty. Not to mention the $5k higher base price I noted above.

I'm well aware that the Outback is a jacked up Legacy. I would *gladly* have bought a plain-height Legacy wagon, but they did not make them after 2007, and Subaru didn't offer stability control until 2008.
Additionally, from 2005 onwards, Subaru reserved many of the up-level features for the Outback wagon, essentially treating the Legacy wagons as a base-models. Even silly things like an MP3-capable CD player or the extra cargo area 12v power socket were Outback-only features that Legacy wagons lack.
Even the n/a 4cyl Outback can tow 2700 lbs, which is as much as most small SUVs (and more than a 4cyl Venza @ 2500 lbs, which requires a tow prep package to get even that over the base 1000 lbs). The base 4cyl Legacy wagon, with the same drivetrain, had the same 2700lb tow rating as the Outback until it was discontinued.

I put a trailer hitch on my Outback myself for utility and accessory purposes, but most people who regularly tow anything real will buy a vehicle better suited to the task - neither a small SUV or wagon.

The Outback handling suffers greatly for the ride height. I've driven a Legacy and a Legacy GT wagons from the same generation for comparison, and it actually makes me think of lowering the Outback.

I live in CT, where we have plenty of deer and a decent bit of snow (especially this year). Sitting 4" higher doesn't make enough difference in either situation, and the improved handling/avoidance maneuver speed of a lower-riding vehicle would actually benefit deer avoidance.

If people want to buy a small SUV, that's fine. But there are very limited choices for those who'd prefer a lower, longer, cheaper, and more economical sedan-based wagon, and it really annoys me that these cars exist elsewhere, but aren't even sold here because of the popularity and profit margin on small SUVs.


The thing is, this car has nothing to do with Camry in general and with current Camry specifically. This car shares platform with 2007 Camry. But sharing a platform is not close to be a "Camry Wagon". This is the list of cars that ride on this same platform

2006- Toyota RAV4
2007- Toyota Corolla (2009 in US market)
2007- Toyota Camry
2007- Toyota Aurion
2007- Lexus ES
2007- Toyota Mark X Zio
2008- Toyota Auris/Blade
2008- Toyota Highlander
2008- Toyota Corolla Rumion/Scion xB
2009- Toyota Matrix
2009- Toyota Venza
2009- Toyota Avensis
2010- Lexus HS
2010- Lexus RX
2010- Toyota Prius
2011- Toyota Sienna
2011- Scion tC
2011- Lexus CT

And if Venza resembles any it would be Lexus RX. This car is crossover, it is obvious. Only this one is for the city. My pick on this car is its oversized wheels. I was looking to get Venza but in the end Highlander proved to be cheaper, roomier and it doesn't need $2000 tire jobs. I think, Venza was Toyota's Avalon analog in crossover department - semi-luxury, wide, roomy, smooth, cheaper than RX.


I've owned wagons in the past, and imo you can see the road ahead much better from a suv like vehicle. To avoid deer you need to be constantly scanning a quarter mile ahead, and a higher seating position helps that. For the unavoidable deer collisions, like when they run out of the woods at full speed, a taller vehicle gives you a better chance of the deer not ending up in the driver's seat. The experts advise you not to swerve or attempt other accident avoidance moves when facing a deer collision, as leaving your lane or the road itself could be much worse than hitting the deer, so having a more nimble car is not an advantage in that scenario. The safety factor described above is worth the slightly worse efficiency, as there are tens of thousands of deer\vehicle crashes each year and numerous resulting fatalities.

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