Is the Toyota Venza the Most Underrated Crossover?

The roomy Toyota Venza offers 40/37 MPG fuel economy and slips in smoothly sizewise between the Camry and the Highlander. Why aren't more people driving this car?

2023 Toyota Venza Review
Is it gray or blue, or teal? With a name like Coastal Gray Metallic it can really be anything you want. Photo by Erica Mueller

Quietly luxurious, this one surprised me.

I first saw and drove the 2023 Toyota Venza at the Texas Auto Roundup last spring. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this beautiful all-wheel-drive crossover still exists – I’ve seen so few of them on the road. Perhaps the Venza took a back burner for a while as other more popular models got makeovers, but it’s back now, completely hybrid and prettier than ever.

Having this car on my birthday week when my BFF and I were headed to the big city for a spa and shopping day made it extra special. We even got to see just how much we could fit into the Venza when we hit up our local Costco on the way home.

Related: 2023 Lexus RX Hybrid SUV

Shopping In The Toyota Venza

Filled to the gills, but still comfortable and happy in the Toyota Venza. Photo: Erica Mueller

The 2023 Toyota Venza has a Striking Exterior

What an elegant and sleek exterior this crossover has. At first glance, you’d think you were looking at a luxury car. It’s that sophisticated. The bold grille, refined LED headlights, and sculpted lines are classy and modern, and the aerodynamic profile also contributes to its overall fuel efficiency. The model we drove was a beautiful deep sea blue that sometimes appeared gray or teal, depending on how the sunlight hit it.

Related: 13 of Our Absolute Favorite Electric Cars, Hybrids, and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

2023 Toyota Venza Cargo Space

Cargo space? The Toyota Venza has plenty of it! Photo: Erica Mueller

This is what Hybrid Performance Should Look Like

Under the hood of the Venza, a hybrid powertrain delivers power and efficiency. This combination of a gasoline engine with electric motors not only gives you a thrilling instant torque boost for responsive acceleration but also enables the vehicle to run on electric power alone for short distances, reducing fuel consumption and emissions while still giving you 219 horsepower! Of all the hybrid vehicles I have driven, this one has the smoothest shift between electric and gas – it’s almost impossible to feel when the switch is made!

The Venza has four drive modes, EV, Eco, Sport, and Normal. I tend to drive in Eco most of the time but did try out Sport mode for a little extra oomph when passing on the highway. It did not disappoint!

Related: 2023 Dodge Hornet Plug-in Hybrid SUV

2023 Toyota Venza

One of the things I love about the Toyota Venza is the traditional gear shift. Photo: Erica Mueller

Interior Comfort, Technology, and Safety

Granted, we drove the luxurious Limited model, so the interior was top-of-the-line, but when it comes to space and comfort, all Venzas feature a spacious and refined interior, high-quality materials, ergonomic design, and meticulous attention to detail. Toyota has created an inviting cabin space that caters to both drivers and passengers. The available panoramic glass roof adds an open and airy feel and makes the cabin feel even bigger!

The Venza is also equipped with the latest multimedia and connectivity features. The centerpiece of the dashboard is a responsive touchscreen display that controls everything from navigation to entertainment. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come standard, allowing seamless integration of your smartphone for a connected journey. I’m personally not an experienced user of Toyota’s Entune system, which requires the installation of their app, but I wasn’t bothered much by that, thanks to the Apple CarPlay integration, which enabled me to use my phone’s music and maps applications.

True to Toyota’s commitment to safety, the Venza is equipped with an array of features such as a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, adaptive cruise control, and more for peace of mind behind the wheel.

2023 Toyota Venza Interior

The accent stitching on the bolster seats in the Toyota Venza matches the dash color. Photo: Erica Mueller

2023 Toyota Venza Trim Levels

Whether you’re seeking a well-equipped base model, a mid-tier option with added comfort and technology, or a luxurious top-tier experience, the Venza has a trim level to suit your needs. You’ll also get 37-40 MPG on every single model available.

The base model, the LE, starts at $34,620. It includes the standard 2.5L 4-Cyl. hybrid engine powertrain for excellent fuel efficiency, Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance features, and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Second in line is the XLE trim, which starts at $38,830 and offers additional comfort and convenience features like upgraded interior materials and finishes, an available panoramic glass roof for an open feel, wireless device charging, and an upgraded audio system for enhanced entertainment.

The Limited starts at $42,765 and is the top-tier trim level, boasting luxury and advanced technology. Premium leather upholstery for a refined interior, JBL premium audio system, and a larger touchscreen display with integrated navigation combine to give you the feeling of being pampered while still driving an affordable, efficient crossover.

There is a 4th and special edition called the Nightshade that starts at $39,995. This is what you’d call a “blackout” package with black wheels, bumpers, and accents, and it falls between the XLE and Limited in price and luxury but is more of an exterior appearance option than a trim level.

Toyota has really enhanced the Venza driving experience by including all of these substantial features. Why this crossover isn’t more popular, I’ll never know!

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter! Additionally, A Girls Guide to Cars may earn a commission from affiliate links in this story.

Car Shopping

Need a new car? Whether shopping for a new car or a used car we recommend using our car shopping service

Tire Shopping

Need new tires? We recommend Tire Rack

Car Repair

Need to get your car repaired? We recommend Repair Pal. Exclusively just for Girls Guide to Cars readers, call (877) 323-1708 to speak to RepairPal Car Genius for FREE automotive repair advice and if needed to find the right shop for you!

A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller