POSTED: Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 11:56am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:04am
Keep repeating...it's not a wagon...it's not a wagon...
When gasoline hit four dollars a gallon, most folks didn’t want to keep feeding their SUV’s. And minivans are selling that well anymore, so what will the family hauler of the future look like? I’m betting it will look a lot like the Toyota Venza.
Which is to say, it will be a vehicle that Ward Cleaver would recognize, but if you’re around any Toyota execs, don’t use the SW words. That is…station wagon. Because, though it is essentially a Toyota Camry, uh, wagon, they prefer to think of it as a Camry that’s simply been “optimized.”
And frankly, that’s alright with us; because the Venza is a very nice wagon…uh…make that optimized sedan. The formula is simple. Take a tried and true Camry V6 with the bulletproof 24-valve, twin-cam, 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, raise the ride height to highlander levels, slap a nicer interior and swoopier wagon body on it, and voila…you have a sporty, crossover, wagon kind of a deal.
The Venza doesn’t pretend to take you off road, though it looks like it could. It is simply a nice way to haul a bunch of stuff around the neighborhood, or in my week with it, all the way to Dallas and back in style.
Lovely interior, sunroof, leather seats, satellite radio and nav system and a host of hideouts and cubby holes to store your stuff make it a very livable little office. 60 miles per hour comes up in 6.5 seconds and we averaged around 21 miles per gallon around town. All this for a somewhat pricey $29 to 37,000, depending on your option will power. And now all you have to do is keep telling yourself…it’s not a station wagon…it’s not a station wagon…
And, that’s the Toyota Venza. Good car, good mileage, good price. It looks like Toyota, ho-hum, has another winner on its hands. I’m Roger Gray and I’ll see you on our next road trip…