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2023 Venza Limited Review


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A Family Upscale Shuttle with 40mpg and Star Gaze

Mark Fulmer
Executive Producer, Editor
The Auto Channel

The 2023 Venza presents an alternative to the rough and rugged "compact" SUV group with a more refined look, tech enhancements, and tried-and-true hybrid fuel economy. Also the driver assistance and safety technologies have added emergency steering assistance and improved vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle detection.


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Under the hood is still the 2.5-liter four-cylinder assisted by a trio of electric motors, with one that powers the rear axle giving standard all-wheel drive capability. The quad engine system puts out 219 combined horsepower. It's a hybrid system that is smooth and solid yielding a driving experience that is calm and collected. EPA combined estimate is 39 mpg, however I easily got low 40's by anticipatory and smart driving.


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The infotainment system features a standard 12.3-inch touchscreen. If you are not a big fan of screen finger-tapping Toyota has a communications system you can subscribe to that adds voice commanded digital assistants as well as connecting to navagation help from real live humans 24/7. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa come standard, along with new USB ports, an upgraded wireless charging pad, a head-up display, and automatic rain sensing wipers, and the good ol' Bird's Eye View Camera for safe and sane parking in today's rediculously tight parking lots. Audiophiles will appreciate the JBL Premium Audio System,with 9 speakers, including a rear subwoofer, powered by a 12-channel, 1,200-watt amplifier.


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The interior look and feel is refined and and comfortable thanks to 8-way power adjustments to both driver's seat and passenger seat. The driver's seat automatically moves back to its rearmost position to make entering and exiting the vehicle easier, remembering where you had positioned the seat and returning it there. Leg room up front is 40.9 inches. The Venza has S-FLOW air conditioning technology that directs cooling air only to occupied seats for better comfort and energy usage.


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Cargo space with seats up - 28.8 cubic feet.


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Cargo space with seats down - 55.2 cubic feet.


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The rear seats have 37.8 inches of legroom, and were given thumbs up by my passengers, both youngsters and seniors for good comfort, visibility, and climate control. But what they really enjoyed was above them...


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The Star Gaze™ fixed panoramic glass roof. It has electrochromic glass technology switchable from transparent to frosted modes within seconds using the ON/OFF button. In the frosted mode, Star Gaze™ brightens the interior, reduces direct sunlight, and most importantly to my granddaughters, make you look "really cool."


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Beam me up, baby.