The Venza is a perfectly nice five-passenger tall wagon, as far as space, appointments, and utility are concerned. I just don't understand why Toyota is building it. The company already had an overfull quiver of hatchback crossover things, so why add the strange-looking Venza to the bunch? Well, it turns out that Toyota sold a very respectable 54,410 Venzas last year (nearly as many as Scion's 2009 brand total), so I guess there's the answer. It saddens me, though, that consumers apparently prefer the bulky Venza alongside competent RAV4s, Highlanders, Matrixes, 4Runners, et al. instead of a more carlike, more efficient, and no longer offered Camry station wagon.
Based on the mediocre fits all over the Venza's dashboard-not to mention the recent recall debacle-Toyota has apparently expended too much energy developing new niche models when the company should have been perfecting and polishing its existing vehicles.
A few other comments after driving the Venza:
-This cloth interior isn't nice enough for a family vehicle with a $35K price tag.
-Despite its two-ton weight, it accelerates surprisingly quickly.
-The styling of the front end really turns me off, but I do like the side profile, largely because of those cool twenty-inch (!) wheels. Unfortunately, they noticeably compromise the Venza's ride comfort.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor