2009 Toyota Venza AWD V6

I was more impressed by the Toyota Venza than I expected to be. When it debuted at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, I dismissed it as an oddity, but now that it's on the market and I spent a weekend driving one, I can understand what it's all about. It's a spacious, comfortable, and quite luxurious crossover for people who don't have more than a couple of kids to haul and hence do not need a third-row seat. I was impressed by the interior finish quality and by the general cabin ambience. Ergonomics are first-rate, the seats are comfortable, and the cargo area is big and easy to access. Toyota's 3.5-liter V-6 provides plenty of go here, although I share Rusty Blackwell's skepticism as to whether the standard four-cylinder engine is up to the job. We'll find out soon enough, as we're getting a four-cylinder Venza for a test-drive soon.

Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor

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