I think that the Venza is a knockout.
My wife was considering one when she was looking to replace her Lexus RX300. I too think that Toyota could've put a Lexus emblem on the front and sold it loaded as a Lexus.
The Venza is really just the triumphant return of the Camry wagon. And it's about time it came back. Why would Toyota put it in the Lexus line-up when it will sell so much better as a Toyota?
I am in the same boat as the above commenter. We have a Lexus RX300 that has been faithful to us for 10 years now, but it is finally starting to show its age, and we have had a few expensive breakdowns with it. I thought of replacing it with an RX330 or Rx350, but the reviews here and elsewhere have not been all positive, with emphasis on transmission problems and general build quality, and the use of cheaper materials. I am hoping the Venza might be a better choice.
If Lexus is not a satisfactory choice, then Venza will definitely disappoint you regarding quality, durability and many other things.
Just traded our '01 Sequoia (186K miles) which we bought new for an '09 Venza with 12K miles. The car is a V6 FWD with Premium Pkg #2 (loaded). Our kids are getting bigger - we still needed some room, but not SUV-big. We considered a used RX350, but they're too common. The Venza is a great vehicle, but I don't think it would live up to Lexus standards. The seats are not as comfortable, and memory seats are not available. But we think it will be perfect for us for the next 6-8 years. Check the mechanical specs of the RX350, Venza and Camry - all nearly identical.
I was in a serious accident, and decided no more cars for me, as after trying car after car, I just didn't feel right any more. That was until I test drove the Venza. I broke down with such sheer relief as I didn't feel squashed! It was so roomy and it had so many features that my Lexus GS430 did. The dash was not ugly, and did I mention storage? Tons of it everywhere!
We have the 4 cylinder, and the car and driver reviews are right. Lots of power and cheap on gas! Anyone who says this car isn't, must either have the V8 or you need to find out what's going on, as I'm loving it!
It came with satellite radio, so we sit back and relax and enjoy the ride. My son loves it as he's tall, and my dogs love it.
My car was pretty basic, as we bought what we could afford. It's pearl white with the tinted windows, and with that and the awesome huge 21 inch tires and fogs, this car looks like class and drives awesome.
The only thing I don't like, that I miss on my Lexus, is the lengthening visors. When I get my settlement, I will be getting the new Venza with the Bluetooth, leather and heated seats. I was scared to go back on the road again, and after seeing its safety features, side impact etc, this car got me back on the road again with a big safe smile. Thanks Toyota.