Thanks a million VDUB!!! I am gonna do this saturday...
Gotta ask, after owning so many VW's, what do you and your wife think of the Venza?
From the Touareg it was a big step for the wife. She liked being higher up in traffic. I have always liked the looks of the Venza. I like to say it is one of the only Toyotas that actually have some style to it. Corollas and Camry are just too generic/cookie cutter for our tastes.
The fit and finish between our Toyota and all of our VW's are very different. The Toyota is definitely not as nice of a quality in the plastics used for the interior. VW uses plastics as well but the feel and look of them are much different. The leather used in the seating surfaces are also a step down in the Toyota. I understand not a 100% fair comparison since the Touareg can be upwards of $60k at the upper end of the model. Real wood vs. plastic wood.
The ride is also different, with the Touareg being AWD there was a nice level of full control of the vehicle. At least the feeling of full control. Could feel the road through the steering wheel, overall just very responsive. The Venza lacks some of these qualities in that it is just a push gas and go kind of vehicle. Not much transmitted from road to steering wheel.
Road/Wind noise is something we have grown to not have to deal with and the Venza has some definite quirks in this area. Some wind noise from the driver and passenger front windows when at highway speed. My CC is very quiet at highway speeds and don't have to crank stereo up to hear the music
. Tire noise isn't too bad on the Venza. The Touareg had a known tendency to cup tires if not on top of aligning regularly. Once the tires are cupped it can get pretty noisy. Can happen to any vehicle though. For now the Venza is good in that regard.
The reason we got out of the Touareg was the mounting repair bills we didn't want to have to deal with again. Brakes were within 5k miles or so of going out again(got 20k miles from that set) and that is very costly, even doing myself was easily over $1k. Tires were starting to cup with some road noise and this would have been another $1k minimum. The $80 fill ups of gas(22 gallon tank), the $80-90 oil changes. etc. etc. etc. Had had enough of the expense outlay which didn't make sense for us. Now though, we like filling up with 14-15 gallons and a $45-50 fill up and going the same number miles on a tank of gas.
One thing the wife mentioned was the turning radius when she is parking at a store. The Touareg was very agile in that regard and could make into parking spot very easily. The Venza seems to be wider and have to be a little more pronounced when making a turn into a spot. I have experienced this also when I have driven it.
Overall though, the Venza drives nice and smooth and for the most part quiet when driving on surface streets. Haven't taken it out for more than an hour at a time on highway to get a better sense of comfort on a longer road trip. But I do like it.
We did sacrifice some nice amenities with the Touareg(4 zone climate control, rear heated seats, AWD) but I am glad we made the switch to it as it is a nice vehicle and for the price it drives pretty nice. The wife still feels like she is in an SUV, sort of.
Next step is to get an aftermarket Nav/Radio system for her.