Under the hood is Toyota's workhorse 2GR-FE 3.5-liter V-6 engine. This is the same V-6 that can be found under the hood of the current Toyota Camry, the 2010 Lexus RX, and surprisingly, the Lotus Evora.
Surprisingly, the engine still feels peppy despite the Venza's increased weight.
Viewed from the side, the Venza's size becomes more apparent. We can also see, from this angle, the Venza's very low step in height. Combined with the tall seating position, the Venza is actually easier to get into than a sedan or an SUV.
While we like that the dash-mounted shifter frees up room for a large storage area in the center console, we dislike the long stalk, which was always in the way when we wanted to adjust the climate controls.
Bluetooth handsfree calling is available as part of a navigation package, which also includes Bluetooth A2DP stereo audio streaming. Although the set-up process involves pairing a compatible device twice to access both voice and audio, the inclusion of A2DP almost makes up for the curious lack of a digital iPod/mp3 player connection.
Being a Toyota, the Venza boasts the same featherlight power steering that the Japanese automaker is known for. Capable of being directed with a single finger, the Venza's overboosted steering feels a bit squirrelly at speed.