By Peter Perrotta
When it comes to producing some of the smoothest most fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles on the planet, no one does it as good as Toyota.
For years, Toyota has had great success with the Prius Hybrid and now, the Japanese auto maker has introduced the same type of power technology in a number of its other models.
The Toyota Venza, a two-row, five seat mid-sized SUV (sport utility vehicle), introduced last year, is a fairly new addition to the Toyota hybrid line-up that seems to exactly fit the mold of where this auto maker is heading.
I recently jumped behind the wheel of a 2022 Toyota Venza Limited Hybrid for one week to see what this fairly new offering brings to the table.
As expected, the Venza is a very solid, almost luxurious SUV that offers a very smooth ride and seamless hybrid powertrain while getting an impressive average of 39 miles per gallon (mph).
This SUV is comfortable and roomy and offers great sight lines as well. It has solid handling and adequate acceleration.
However, when it comes to on the road excitement, it falls a bit short in the “Wow” factor department.
“Fairly boring to drive,” is what the folks at Car and Driver Magazine said in its review of the 2022 Venza.
I’m not sure I’d mistake this Toyota for a Lexus, but I get the point. It does have a pricey feel to it, inside and out.
As far as the “fairly boring” comment goes, I’d say that is somewhat accurate.
This Venza lacks a bit of punch in the power department, so it doesn’t have enough zip to make it an adventurous ride. However, the overall DNA makeup of most Toyotas is that they are good “meat and potatoes” vehicles.
What I mean by that is that they check all the right boxes and offer up a good, solid all-around vehicle that has a reputation for great reliability. But, when it comes to on the road, excitement they do have a tendency to be a bit dull.
On the zero to 60 mph test track, the Venza scored a bit lackluster 7.6 seconds performance. Not exactly numbers that will win you any races anytime soon.
The hybrid power system comes standard in the Venza. It combines a high efficiency 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine with three electric motors.
This seamless hybrid system delivers a total of 219 horsepower. There are three driving modes that can be chosen, normal, Eco and sport mode.
Also coming standard on the Venza is Toyota’s on demand all-wheel drive system. Under this system, instead of using a transfer case for the all-wheel drive system, Toyota offers up a separate rear wheel mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed.
The Venza is offered up in three trim levels, the LE, XLE and the Limited.
The base price for the LE is $34,575; $38,110 for the XLE and $40,380 for the top-of-the-line Limited.
The Limited I test drove for one week had a bottom-line sticker price of $43,989. Added charges includes: $1,215 for destination and delivery; $725 for an advanced technology package and $1,100 for a panoramic roof.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that it will cost about $900 a year of the average motorist to run this Venza.
On the government’s crash test safety test the Venza scored an impressive five stars out of a possible five in the overall vehicle score.
The tester I drove offered up the larger 12.3-inch infotainment display and nine speaker JBL premium sound system.
The interior ergonomics of this Venza are exceptional, and the infotainment system is easy to understand and operate.
While the Venza carries the standard Toyota factory bumper to bumper warranty of three years or 36,000 miles it does come with two years of complimentary schedule maintenance.
Moreover, the Venza’s hybrid components are covered by a special eight year or 100,000-mile warranty and the battery is covered for 10 years or 150,000 miles.
At the end of the day, if you are in the market for a mid-sized hybrid SUV you would be remiss not to include the Venza on your list of one of the vehicles to check out since it offers up a good all-around vehicle for the money.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week.
On the Road is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield NJ one of the leading leasing agents in the tri-state area.