The popularity of compact vehicles seems to ebb and flow — at least in the imagination of some journalist anyway. But compact vehicles still have a substantial fan based among motorists who prefer or need a small vehicle because they might commute a long distance or due to parking in their urban neighborhood.
In addition, they remain popular because larger vehicles simply are not practical in substantial swaths of not only urban areas around the United States but also the suburban areas, adjacent to them.
One manufacturer — Toyota — recognizes the reality and continues to build and practical compact vehicles, such as the 2022 Toyota Venza to its American customers.
The Venza is a five-door, crossover utility vehicle, which fits neatly into the goldilocks spaces, being neither too big nor too small. In addition, it’s nicely equipped with to date features and a hybrid powertrains capable of adequate power as required, while delivering very good fuel economy numbers in both city and highway driving.
Toyota’s exterior designs seem to underscore the company’s cautious and conservative nature where change comes incrementally. But the company’s designers have made a valiant effort at reworking the Venza’s basic two-box silhouette with a bowed roof, which slopes to the rear. The liftgate, or fifth door, slopes into the vehicle’s body, elongating its profile.
The crossover also has a stylized front end with an aggressive grille, highlighting the Toyota badge. The LED projector headlights are neatly tucked under the hood at the front corners and rear corners. The 19-inch wheels on the Venza with the unique designs further highlight the vehicle’s corners.
The interior is surprisingly spacious for a small vehicle and quite comfortable. Toyota has gone beyond using spare, plain interiors. Instead the materials used throughout the cabin are of good quality and create a pleasant space for a long drive.
The Limited version of the Venza I drove also came with a 12.3-inch touchscreen for navigation and infotainment. The gauges and information on the screen under the steering wheel were easy to read. Space in the rear seat is adequate and there also is space behind the second row of seats for packages, luggage or even some sporting equipment. The view from the driver’s seat is also excellent.
While it tries to make up its corporate mind about electric vehicles, Toyota has moved to bring more vehicles, such as the 2022 Venza Limited, into the company’s hybrid family. It is equipped with a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with the hybrid system and electronic continuous variable transmission and electronic, on-demand all-wheel drive. The system comes with four distinct driving modes including EV, ECO, Normal and Sport. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the Venza combined fuel-economy rating of 39 mpg, including 40 mpg in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The 2022 Venza Limited comes equipped with the Toyota Sense 2.0 Pre-Collision system with pedestrian detection as well as full suite of airbags for protection against frontal and side impacts. It’s also equipped with radar-based, full-range cruise control, lane-departure alert, lane tracking assist, blind-spot detection, automatic high beams with road sign alerts and rear cross-traffic alert and parking assistance.
The Venza also features a birds-eye camera, and a rear backup camera with a lens washer as well as Sirius XM Radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple Car Play. The Venza Limited I drove also enjoyed an optional Advanced Technology Package with a head-up display and hybrid system indicator
The overall performance of the 2022 Toyota Venza Limited with its 219 horsepower is more than adequate for how the vehicle is generally used. It more than holds its own on the highway. The overall driving dynamics such as steering and braking also is quite adequate and the Venza’s ride quality over all kinds of pavement is quite good. The extra weight from the hybrid system also gives the vehicle an edge in the handling out on the road or the highway. The Venza is very maneuverable and fits nicely into small parking places.
I had a chance to take the Venza on long road trip from my home outside Detroit down into Ohio and Kentucky, and I thought it did well during the journey was very, comfortable. While it isn’t designed or equipped for off-road treks, it is a good all-round vehicle for urban and suburban motorists, looking for an alternative to a larger vehicle. However, Toyota still charges for its hybrid powertrain and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $40,380 pushed into what used to what luxury or near luxury vehicles used to cost.