For the family, Toyota presents its 2011 Venza Base AWD midsize crossover. This sleek 4-door, 5-passenger people-mover offers over 70 cubic feet of cargo room with the second-row seatbacks folded, along with loads of front and rear passenger room. Not only that, but the Venza Base AWD is also delivered with full-time all-wheel drive (AWD) and a boatload of standard appearance, comfort and convenience features. A rear spoiler and 19-inch alloy wheels spiff up an already well-wrought exterior, while inside, simulated carbon-fiber accents help divert attention from an otherwise so-so cabin. Cloth upholstery, meanwhile, as well as a power-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering ease the commute, with remote power door locks, power windows and power-adjustable outside mirrors helping out, too. A universal remote garage-door opener is also standard, as is an electrochromatic rear-view mirror. Entertainment is provided with the standard single-CD changer and six speakers, complemented by satellite radio, an auxiliary iPod input and a USB connection.
Options for the 2011 Venza Base AWD include a power-tilting moonroof, JBL surround-sound audio with a 6-CD changer and 13 speakers, rear-seat DVD entertainment, remote engine start and voice-activated, touchscreen DVD navigation. Comfort-heavy option packages, meantime, include, of course, the Comfort Package, with heated, power-adjustable front seats and heated outside mirrors, and the Leather Package, with leather upholstery and wood-grain interior accents. The Convenience Package boasts the Smart Key system with push-button start and remote illuminated entry, as well as a power rear liftgate. Two Premium packages mix and match various packaged and standalone items, while the Security Package includes a rear-view camera and remote antitheft alarm. Finally, the Tow Prep Package features additional engine-oil cooling and a heavy-duty alternator.
A variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.7-liter inline 4-cylinder engine powers the 2011 Venza Base AWD and combines with the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission for 182 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque. Look for 2,500 pounds of towing capacity, with the proper equipment, as well as 20 mpg city/ 25 highway. The AWD system, meantime, is managed by a mechanical limited-slip center differential, assuring power to all four wheels via an electronic control unit that senses which wheels grip and which slip and directs torque appropriately. Additionally, the 6-speed automatic features a brake hill holder.
Standard safety equipment in the 2011 Venza Base AWD includes four-wheel antilock braking (ABS) and traction and stability control. Front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags and front head-restraint whiplash protection are additionally standard, as are daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights and dusk-sensing headlights. An optional safety feature is the Light Package with its high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. This year, Toyota has invested the Venza Base AWD with a brake override feature that brakes the vehicle automatically when the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously. This added safety feature is obviously in response to the accelerator woes faced by the automaker in early 2010.