|✓ Distinctive styling||☓ So-so cargo volume|
|✓ Roomy, upscale interior||☓ High lift-over distance for loading cargo|
|✓ Stable all-wheel drive handling||☓ Side, rear visibility|
|✓ Smooth ride||☓ Satisfying road manners, but fun it is not|
|✓ Good fuel economy|
Toyota Venza Overview
The 2022 Toyota Venza Limited is a midsize hybrid crossover that looks faster and more aggressive than it is. The shark-like front end and rakish side view win it some points. However, it’s just moderately quick (even with the standard hybrid layout) and mainly designed for roominess and comfort. Driving fun isn’t on the menu.
Not to say that this second-generation, $40,380 Limited model is a total bore. It makes adequate progress thanks to its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motors. Together, they generate a combined 219 horsepower. This 3,913-pound crossover manages the 0-60 mph sprint in around 7.6 seconds. The process is fairly seamless thanks to a smooth “eCVT” transmission.
This model year’s Venza brings virtually no major changes from 2021.
Standard equipment, comfort and top-end features are plentiful
Four tall adults can sit comfortably in the Venza Limited’s upscale interior, which has great-looking (simulated) wood trim and high-quality materials. While it can technically seat one more, leave the stiff rear center seat for the fold-down armrest with its twin cupholders unless you’re in a pinch.
The top-line Venza Limited can touch $45,000 with options, but even the base model brings plenty of standard equipment. It features an upscale-looking interior with automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, Qi-compatible wireless charging and Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance suite.
Limited models do get a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen than the 8.0-inch unit you’ll find in the entry level $32,890 Venza LE or the mid-range XLE. The infotainment system takes time to learn, and it’s annoying that there is no knob for the radio volume and tuning (the smaller screen retains its knobs). At least there are manual buttons for such items as the heated steering wheel, trunk opening and rearview camera.
One especially standard noteworthy feature is a large electrochromic (“Star Gaze”) glass roof that can be turned from clear to opaque to keep out direct sunlight. It also has a power sliding cover.
It’s a small touch, but I liked the separate control for the rear windshield wiper. That control often is combined with the control for the front wipers and that can make it hard to stop the rear wiper while turning off the front ones.
The cargo area has a high opening beneath the power hatch but is just adequately sized for a 187-inch vehicle. If needed, the split-folding rear seats easily slip forward and sit flat to enlarge the cargo area from 28.8 cubic feet to 54.4 cubic feet.
Safety items in Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 include front/rear parking sensors, cross-traffic assist, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and a 360-degree surround-view camera.
Driving the Toyota Venza Limited
Sitting behind the wheel, the 2022 Toyota Venza Limited offers a good view of the road, but only ahead of the driver. Large side view mirrors block vision, which can be an issue when navigating tight areas. However, at least the mirrors fold in when the Venza Limited is parked to prevent some expensive damage.
Estimated fuel economy is a big upside: You should manage an impressive 40 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on highways. Even better, you only need to fill its 14.5-gallon tank with 87 octane fuel to achieve those figures. In my testing, I actually got 40 mpg on highways in steady 70 mph highway conditions.
You can select these driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport vis a console switch. I didn’t bother much with Eco — you don’t really want to dull the driving experience any further, do you? But Normal provides enough responsiveness and an impressively smooth ride, although you can still feel some bigger bumps and road dips. Sport tightens things up a bit without hurting the ride much.
Still, the 2022 Toyota Venza is no sports car. There’s a noticeable amount of body lean around curves at higher speeds. However, you always have a feeling of security, thanks to the Venza’s compliant suspension and the standard, RAV4 Hybrid-like all-wheel-drive system. Steering is quick and accurate, if numb like most modern crossovers. At least the brake pedal has a smooth, progressive action — the regenerative braking does not make for a jerky experience.
Verdict on the Venza
Overall, of course, the 2022 Toyota Venza Limited is a vehicle for relaxing long trips. It is pleasant and easy to live with, and it shouldn’t break the bank to buy (or run) either.
As-tested price: $40,380