According to Consumer Reports, the average life expectancy of a new vehicle these days is around eight years or 250,000 km. Some can even go 15 years and up to 500,000 km, if properly maintained.
With that in mind: the 2010 Toyota Venza.
Available with front or all-wheel drive, the Venza was introduced to the Canadian market in 2008 for the 2009 model year and was manufactured in Kentucky.
Definitely not a conventional sedan but not quite a fully-fledged SUV either, it was – and is – built on the Camry platform. In 2010, there were two engine choices: a 2.7-litre four cylinder and a 3.5-litre V6.
Transmission for both was a six-speed automatic only, and featured things like a transmission cooler, adaptive shifting and a Hill-Start Assist Control. This last item was standard on all models. While it could handle modest off-road forays, the Venza was not designed for down and dirty bush-whacking.
Equipment level was reasonably high. A climate control system, heated outside mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering, power adjustable driver seat, cruise control and power door locks all came standard. Lots of airbags too: front, side, side curtain and knee, front and back. Heated front seats were an option. The Premium package included a backup camera, a decent-sized power sunroof and power rear hatch.
With its oversized 20-inch wheels and tires and SUV-ish body, the Venza sat five. The back seats folded down 60/40 fashion, either via a couple of levers on the sides of the rear cargo compartment or by pulling a lever on the sides of the seats themselves.
Behind the wheel, the shift lever was set halfway up the centre console and was easy to get at and quite usable. A multi-information display was located atop the dash, displaying things like outside temperature and whether a door is ajar. You could also adjust the size of the display itself.
There were two safety recalls from Transport Canada.
One concerned a possible misapplication of silicone grease to the brake light switch that could result in various electrical functions going awry, including an engine non-start glitch.
The second was well known to Canadian consumers: the wonky floor mat that could result in runaway acceleration and/or interference with the gas pedal. This affected a wide range of Toyota products from 2008 to 2010.
Both glitches are easily repaired by dealers.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, meanwhile, had nine technical service bulletins on file for the 2010 Venza. These included oil seepage from the engine cooling lines, a rattling noise from the steering column when driving over rough roads, popping noises from the steering column during hard, tight cornering and brief engine knocking with the four-cylinder models during cold-weather starts.
Full marks right across the board from Consumer Reports here, with the organization giving the Venza its “Good Bet” recommendation. Said CR: “Assets include easy cabin access, a quiet interior, and a roomy rear seat.”
The Venza also has impressive crash test results, says C.R., with minor body rattles and squeaks being the only negatives they could find.
Some comments from owners: “decent gas mileage, roomy and pleasant to drive,” “have had four guys with golf bags ride several times” and “highway driving is excellent.”
Unsurprisingly, this one has held its value very well. From a base price of just under $30,000 new, it still seems to fetch from $10,000 to $15,000. The front-drive models go for several thousand dollars less than their all-wheel-drive counterparts, while the four-cylinder models are likewise priced about $2,000 to $3,000 below the V6, depending on equipment level.
2010 Toyota Venza
Original base price: $29,160
Engine: 2.7-litre four-cylinder or 3.5-litre V6
Horsepower/torque: 182/182 foot pounds or 268/246 foot pounds
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 11.0 city and 7.6 hwy (V6), with regular gas
Alternatives: Nissan Murano, Ford Flex, Mazda CX-9, Infiniti EX35, BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Ford Flex, Buick Enclave.
Ted Laturnus writes for Troy Media’s Driver Seat Associate website. An automotive journalist since 1976, he has been named Canadian Automotive Journalist of the Year twice and is past-president of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).