The Venza is a clear case of a good design that has been ravaged by cost cutters. Toyota nailed the basics: the Venza drives like a mid-size sedan (albeit a boring one) and offers as much utility as larger crossovers. It even would even be attractive save for its overly fussy front fascia. What kills the Venza is its inexcusably cheap interior. The cheap, mismatched graining of the plastics and the impreciseness of the panel fits on the dash is just the sort of work we used to slam in Fords and Chevrolets.

If Toyota is serious about breaking out of its success-induced malaise, it should pull ahead the Venza's mid-cycle refresh and completely redo the interior. A new grille wouldn't hurt, either.

David Zenlea

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