The 2009 Toyota Venza is a crossover wagon based on the Camry sedan platform. Underappreciated and ahead of its time, the Venza gives midsize sedan buyers the slightly elevated driving position and extra cargo space that make today’s crossover SUVs so popular. The Venza will fit in the same parking space as a 2009 Camry or Highlander. The difference is that while it’s about 5 inches taller than a Camry, it’s roughly 5 inches squatter than the Highlander, so the Venza doesn’t tower over sedans like most SUVs do. Despite its lower roof, the Venza offers up to 70.1 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded down. The Venza also avoids the blocky look of many SUVs and looks quite stylish on its standard 19- (4-cylinder) or 20-inch (V6) alloy wheels. Its only sin is that it comes as a 5-seater only; there’s no tiny third-row perch for wee folks. See the 2009 Toyota Venza models for sale near you
What We Like
Generous storage; V6 power; quiet interior; seat comfort; handsome exterior; good cargo space
What We Don’t
Harsh ride with 20-in wheels; rear-quarter blind spots; sluggish 4-cylinder performance; brakes and steering lack sharpness
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2009 Venza is offered with a choice of 4-cylinder or V6 power and front- or all-wheel drive. A 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift is standard.
Standard fare is a 2.7-liter double-overhead camshaft (DOHC) 16-valve 4-cylinder engine rated at 182 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque. Also used in the Toyota Highlander and Sienna, the 4-cylinder burns regular unleaded gas and has an EPA rating of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy for all-wheel-drive models.
Optional is a 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 shared with the Toyota Camry and Highlander. It produces 268 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. It also runs on regular unleaded and front-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, while AWD versions get an 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy rating.
Standard Features & Options
The 2009 Toyota Venza is available in a single well-equipped trim that can be enhanced by a wide variety of options.
Base Venza features include standard dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a 6-speaker AM/FM/MP3/WMA stereo with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and auxiliary audio jack, SiriusXM satellite radio, a power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar, cloth seat trim, remote keyless entry, cruise control, rear privacy glass, a split-folding and reclining rear seat, intermittent wipers, a 3.5-in driver information display, a multicompartment center console with an armrest, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, fog lamps, a cargo cover, rear seat vents, an outside temperature gauge, power mirrors, door locks and windows, 245/55 tires on 19-in alloy wheels (4-cylinder models), 245/50 tires on 20-in alloy wheels (V6 models), anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, stability and traction control, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, roll-sensing head-curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.
A security package adds a backup camera and anti-theft system.
A convenience package brings a power lift gate and a Smart Key system with push-button start.
The leather package includes leather seating surfaces, plus a power front passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter and uplevel mahogany wood trim.
A comfort package brings everything in the leather package plus heated front seats, heated outside mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer.
Available premium packages group together all of the upgrades from the lesser packages.
Popular freestanding options include a panoramic sunroof, a voice-activated DVD touchscreen navigation system, a JBL Surround Sound premium audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with a 9-in display.
With the optional towing package, V6 models can trailer up to 3,500 lbs.
The Venza is underappreciated because it’s not an SUV, but that can work in your favor. Expect to pay more for V6 models with all-wheel drive. As with all Toyotas, clean, low-mileage examples retain their resale values and command higher used-car prices.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2009 Venza:
The accelerator pedal linkage may become stuck in the depressed position or the pedal may be trapped by the floor mats, which may lead to high vehicle speeds and increased crash risk.
A miscalibrated front occupant sensing system may cause the front passenger airbag to deploy incorrectly for an occupant’s size or weight or not deploy at all, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.
Grease on the stop light switch may cause the brake lights to be inoperative, increasing the risk of a rear-end crash.
Damaged seat heater wiring can result in an electrical short, seat burning and personal injury.
The load-carrying labels on some Venzas are incorrect. An overloaded vehicle has an increased crash risk.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car for free.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The 2009 Venza received a 5-star rating from NHTSA for frontal and side impacts, as well as a 4-star rating for rollover resistance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2009 Venza a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seat-crash performance. It was an IIHS 2009 Top Safety Pick.
Toyota covered the 2009 Venza with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Toyota certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can’t have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer and must be 6 years old or less. Every CPO Venza undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole car bumper-to-bumper for one year or 12,000 miles, extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles and includes a year of roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2009 Ford Edge — The Edge is a 5-passenger crossover SUV powered by a 265-hp 3.5-liter V6 hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Both front- and all-wheel drive are available. A Sport model adds a firmer ride. Ford’s SYNC in-car electronics integration system is also available.
2009 Nissan Murano — A sleeker, redesigned Murano debuts for 2009 with upgraded materials and equipment. The 5-passenger crossover is powered by a 265-hp V6 teamed with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Both front- and all-wheel drive versions are available.
If you live in an area with well-maintained roads, you might be happier with a V6-powered Venza, with its livelier performance. But if the roads are pockmarked and cold-patched, the 4-cylinder version, with its smaller 19-in wheels, will ride better. Either way, you’ll want to find a car optioned with a backup camera, as rear visibility isn’t great. Always look for lower-mileage examples and make sure the car you’re considering has had all applicable safety recalls performed.