While the Venza looks like a tall hatchback or an oddly proportioned station wagon, it's related to the previous-generation Toyota Highlander SUV. Targeted at former SUV drivers who want something less utilitarian for their daily drive, the Venza winds up being less pleasant to drive than the bigger and more-refined Highlander.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

While the Venza looks like a tall hatchback or an oddly proportioned station wagon, it's related to the previous-generation Toyota Highlander SUV. Targeted at former SUV drivers who want something less utilitarian for their daily drive, the Venza winds up being less pleasant to drive than the bigger and more-refined Highlander. Giant 20-inch wheels hurt the ride, and handling is nothing special, despite the Venza's lower ride height. The sloping roof inhibits cargo volume and the view out of the rear window. Thankfully, a rear camera became standard for 2015.

On the plus side, the Venza has plenty of room for passengers inside its very quiet interior and access is super easy. As in other Toyota products, the optional 3.5-liter V6 is refined and pulls strongly, although the Venza's 20 mpg overall in our tests is no better than the non-hybrid Highlander. We can't help thinking the Venza is an anachronism, fighting to win over an anti-SUV buyer who threw in the towel years ago.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 2.7-liter 4 (181 hp)
  • 3.5-liter V6 (268 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Toyota Venza owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Wind noise

"I like this car, but the road noise makes it almost impossible to listen to my CD's. I replaced the tires with quieter Goodyears but not much reduction: the noise level at 65MPH is around 80dB! It's just a noisy vehicle. I'm considering a soundproofing treatment"

F E D., FL (2012 Toyota Venza LE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

"Is it wind noise or is it that the Venza is inherently noise. I spend a lot of time checking to see if my windows are closed. The car did get quitter when we changed TIRES. The other item that has failed on both of my Toyotas is the drivers side Sun Visor!"

Winston W., CA (2012 Toyota Venza 3.5-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Rattle coming from the dash"

Anonymous, FL (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)

"Several items rattle and squeak including center console, front seat belt mount, overhead grab handle plus the extremely load road noise from back tires"

Anonymous, TX (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

"Heat shield protecting the gas tank came off. This was covered by warranty"

Anonymous, NB (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

"Rattle in Dash Area"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)

"The dash on the driver side squeeks (plastic on plastic rubbing) and I have taken it in twice. The transmission makes a clunking sound on cold start ups"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Toyota Venza LE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Calipers

"Same complaint as previously stated"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)
Premature brake wear

"Both rear brake systems needed to be replaced. I felt that these was too early based on my experience with other vehicles"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

"Road salt pitted the rotors on front brakes"

Anonymous, BC (2012 Toyota Venza LE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

"Premature brake wear on rear brakes pads"

James C., MO (2012 Toyota Venza Limited 3.5-L V6)

"At my last service they told me that the front brake pad need to be replace. The rear will also need to be replace shortly. The cost to replace all 4 wheels will be over $1000. I feel this is a rip-off by Toyota"

Anonymous, NB (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

"The Venza was purchased from a Toyota dealer as a Program Car. After a relative short period of time (about 18,000 miles) I have had to replace the rotors. A program car should have been updated to last longer than this number of miles. I feel the dealer used substandard materials to get the car to program car standards"

Robert J., MI (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

"NOISE AND PREMATURE WEAR"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Toyota Venza LE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"Disks will not eject from car system. This is the fourth time that this has occurred and each time they gave me a refurbished one"

Casey B., IL (2012 Toyota Venza Limited 3.5-L V6)

"Won't load or eject since purchase. Working on repair due to certified warranty but dealership registered incorrect mileage to Toyota upon purchase. Toyota says my warranty has expired. It's been two months with multiple emails and calls. Still w"

Anonymous, AR (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

"Would not eject the disks. This occurred twice. Received replacement both times"

Anonymous, IL (2012 Toyota Venza Limited 3.5-L V6)
Steering wheel controls

"The up/down switch on the steering wheel has ceased to function"

Edward G., IL (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)
Display screen difficult to see

"Screen is very hard or impossible to see (AND DANGEROUSLY USELESS) when sunlight falls from the passenger side into the car. Should be positioned further into the dashbord. Notified Toyota, but didn't get an answer. Also, GPS-system is primitive"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Toyota Venza Limited 3.5-L V6)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The GPS display is of low resolution, the map system looks primitive, compared to those I experienced with VW, BMW or Mercedes in Europe, and offers no flexibility. Its operation is less intuitive. I notified Toyota a while ago,did not get an answer"

Anonymous, MA (2012 Toyota Venza Limited 3.5-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

"Shifts are not smooth when accelerating, but are particularly rough when downshifting. Downshifts when a hill is encountered when the cruise control is functioning are extremely rough"

Robert J., MI (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

"The logic of shifting while the car is on cruise causes major hunting of gears while ascending and descending hills and road irregularities. This leads to too much variation of vehicle speeds above and below the selected speed. Shifts to maintain speeds are very abrupt and tiresome"

Robert J., MI (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 2.7-L 4 Cyl)
Gear selector or linkage

"On two occasions pin from gear shifter to linkage slipped out. One time repaired at home one time required tow to dealer"

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Bouncy ride lead to all 4 struts being replaced under warrantee"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)
Wheel bearings

"Right rear wheel bearing needed replaced after 75000 kilometres. Replaced under warranty, but charged $100 by dealer for wheel alignment"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

"intermittent headlight working. had to replace the entire assembly at dealership @ cost of $500"

M S., TX (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)
Keyless entry

"Keyless entry system failed on the passage side. Had to replace controls in both doors ($1400). My key fob often locks the door instead of unlocking when I grab the handle, driver's side"

Winston W., CA (2012 Toyota Venza 3.5-L V6)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

"Paint is very easy to scratch, much more so than in any other vehicle I have ever owned"

Anonymous, NH (2012 Toyota Venza XLE 3.5-L V6)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Evaporator

"White gritty dust on car dash due to evaporator coating flaking off. Replaced under warrantee without complaint after internet article described the problem"

Anonymous, ON (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

"grease leaking from seal"

Anonymous, VA (2012 Toyota Venza LE 3.5-L V6)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel cap

"Two times I have had warning lights to check engine. Both times it was due to gas cap. The second time I reset the cap but no change. I was told it had to be corrected by dealer"

Anonymous, KY (2012 Toyota Venza 2.7-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

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