Wow. I thought I didn't care for the milquetoast Venza and its further crowding of Toyota's lineup, but I don't feel nearly as negatively about this vehicle as Mr. Don Sherman. I mean, at least this Venza wears an extremely attractive coat of gold umber mica paint. It still resembles an uglified Ford Edge, though, particularly from the front.
Like Sherman, I, too, noticed poor panel fits and cheapish materials in a couple places, particularly in the radio/HVAC center stack, but I've noticed occasional slipping quality standards in Toyota products for a couple years now.
I expected the four-cylinder Venza to be interminably slow, but it seems capable of keeping up with grandma-footed traffic, so long as Joe and Jane Blow floor the accelerator frequently (which I doubt they will). When I first tried some acceleration runs with the Venza, I was impressed by how quick it felt, considering the low horsepower and high weight. However, upon further review, I think my initial impressions stemmed more from the big four-cylinder's loudness than the Venza's actual swiftness.
I know that this vehicle is far from fast, but I was still alarmed by the brakes' engagement only after the pedal is depressed a couple inches. Also, I found the driver's seat to be too flat in both padding and in positioning. I guess Toyota just assumes that most Americans bring along plenty of padding in their bottoms.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor