2015 Toyota Venza

What's new for 2015? All 2015 Venzas come with the same 6.1-inch touchscreen interface (albeit with split-screen, navigation and mobile-app functionality reserved for XLE and Limited), and a rearview camera is also standard across the lineup. Additionally, the towing package is standard on all V6 models, the entry-level LE is now four-cylinder only, and a simplified equipment roster limits options to a single package on the XLE.

The confident V6 engine continues to be a class leader, and its technology offerings have been streamlined for 2015 with a 6.1-inch touchscreen that includes enhanced infotainment features and a rearview camera. As ever, we like how the rear seatbacks fold easily at the pull of a lever to open up a large cargo bay, and passenger space is ample in both seating rows. Moreover, the Venza's tall doors and low step-in height make it a great fit for mobility-challenged shoppers.

The 2015 Toyota Venza tackles corners with more composure than expected, delivering carlike handling that does its Camry-based chassis proud. That's partly down to the unusually large tires: 19-inchers with the four-cylinder, 20s with the V6. The ride quality is still pretty smooth, though, and it's complemented by low levels of road and wind noise, giving the Venza a relaxed character at speed.

Exterior Highlights
Two-row, five-passenger midsize crossover available in LE, XLE and Limited trim levels

The 2015 Toyota Venza is a two-row, five-passenger midsize crossover available in LE, XLE and Limited trim levels.

The LE comes standard with the four-cylinder engine, 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, rear privacy glass, a rear spoiler, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 60/40-split folding and reclining rear seatbacks. Electronic features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and a six-speaker sound system with voice controls, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, iPod/USB connectivity, satellite radio and HD radio.

The XLE adds power-folding exterior mirrors, a power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, driver memory functions, leather upholstery, a four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, an upgraded trip computer and an upgraded infotainment suite with a navigation system and smartphone app integration (including Bing, Pandora and Yelp).

When equipped with the optional V6, the XLE also comes with 20-inch wheels, dual exhaust tips and a towing prep package.

The V6-only (and all-wheel-drive-only) Limited shares those extras with the XLE V6, and it tacks on xenon headlights, automatic high beam control, LED running lights, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors and a 13-speaker JBL audio system.

The XLE can be equipped with the panoramic sunroof and JBL audio via the Premium package. There are otherwise no factory options on any Venza trim level.

Distinctive and functional front cabin, daring dashboard, large console bin, 6.1-inch touchscreen, convenient space for the mobility-challenged

The Venza's front cabin is both distinctive and functional, highlighted by a daring dashboard design with an integrated shifter that's carved stylishly into the center stack. There's plenty of room below for a large console bin, generously sized cupholders and smaller bins that are perfect for smartphones and other personal items.

The Venza's modest 6.1-inch touchscreen is easy enough to figure out, if less graphically rich than some rival screens. We appreciate that FM/AM and satellite radio presets can be mixed and matched, and available smartphone app integration (standard on XLE and Limited) enables you to stream Pandora Internet radio, buy movie tickets, reserve a restaurant table, read Yelp reviews or even search the Web with Bing. As for the traditional controls, they're quite user-friendly, consisting mostly of clearly marked buttons and large knobs.

As noted, the Venza's large doors and low step-in height make it an exceptionally convenient crossover for the mobility-challenged, and the backseat offers ample legroom, with the added benefit of reclining seatbacks. The cargo area measures a healthy 36.2 cubic feet behind the backseat, and flipping down the rear seatbacks with the handy remote lever on the cargo wall reveals 70.2 cubic feet.

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