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Hi all,

Sadly I'm selling my 335XI for something bigger and more practical due to the growing family. We've had great luck with Toyota's in the past (had two 4runners) and we're going to test drive the Venza and Highlander tomorrow night. Just curious if anyone here went through the same evaluation and can share why you went with the Venza. Styling and price point look great, but the fact that it's a 1st year model concerns me, and I've heard of some issues with the transmission. This will primarily be my commuting vehicle as we have a minivan for road trips and vacations. But we definitely want something that's going to be good in the snow with decent ground clearance since we head up north quite a bit in the winter (I live in New England).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
 

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Funny you should pose this question, because I briefly debated this issue with my new car purchase.

I guess the first question is how much is your family growing? Do you need a 3rd row? If so, the Venza is out. Do you need more cargo room? The highlander may be your choice.

These are just observations I have made since I bought a Venza AWD V6 and a guy that I work with just bought a base Highlander. Considering both vehicles cost about the same, the Venza seems nicer inside and out and you get a few more bells and whistles, like fog lights, 20" wheels, smart key and XM radio. I was even shocked when the guy I worked with, said that my Venza was "way nicer inside than his Highlander." Both have the same 3.5L V6.

I loved the car the first time I saw it, so my mind was somewhat made-up plus the dealer I bought my Venza from had ordered exactly what I wanted, so the timing was perfect. Also it fit in my garage. The Highlander wouldn't.

Good luck shopping and keep us posted on what you get!
 

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Hi all,

Sadly I'm selling my 335XI for something bigger and more practical due to the growing family. We've had great luck with Toyota's in the past (had two 4runners) and we're going to test drive the Venza and Highlander tomorrow night. Just curious if anyone here went through the same evaluation and can share why you went with the Venza. Styling and price point look great, but the fact that it's a 1st year model concerns me, and I've heard of some issues with the transmission. This will primarily be my commuting vehicle as we have a minivan for road trips and vacations. But we definitely want something that's going to be good in the snow with decent ground clearance since we head up north quite a bit in the winter (I live in New England).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Similar to my situation, we have an LX 470 for vacations and I was looking for a commute car, but wanted more utility, hence the crossover Venza. To me, the Venza provides the utility of the Highlander, and the drive more like a car - at least what can be expected for a 4000 lb car.
 

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Hi all,

Sadly I'm selling my 335XI for something bigger and more practical due to the growing family. We've had great luck with Toyota's in the past (had two 4runners) and we're going to test drive the Venza and Highlander tomorrow night. Just curious if anyone here went through the same evaluation and can share why you went with the Venza. Styling and price point look great, but the fact that it's a 1st year model concerns me, and I've heard of some issues with the transmission. This will primarily be my commuting vehicle as we have a minivan for road trips and vacations. But we definitely want something that's going to be good in the snow with decent ground clearance since we head up north quite a bit in the winter (I live in New England).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
The "issues with the transmission" apply across the entire Toyota and Lexus FWD and/or F/awd product line. Beginning late in the last century a design flaw was introduced and they have been seaching for a fix ever since.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Funny you should pose this question, because I briefly debated this issue with my new car purchase.

I guess the first question is how much is your family growing? Do you need a 3rd row? If so, the Venza is out. Do you need more cargo room? The highlander may be your choice.

These are just observations I have made since I bought a Venza AWD V6 and a guy that I work with just bought a base Highlander. Considering both vehicles cost about the same, the Venza seems nicer inside and out and you get a few more bells and whistles, like fog lights, 20" wheels, smart key and XM radio. I was even shocked when the guy I worked with, said that my Venza was "way nicer inside than his Highlander." Both have the same 3.5L V6.

I loved the car the first time I saw it, so my mind was somewhat made-up plus the dealer I bought my Venza from had ordered exactly what I wanted, so the timing was perfect. Also it fit in my garage. The Highlander wouldn't.

Good luck shopping and keep us posted on what you get!
We've got one 2 year old and a baby on the way. We "may" have 3 kids at some point, but that's a ways off and I'm not really concerned about that. The problem with my 335XI is that the back seat is tiny. When we sit our son back there, his feet are up against the seat in front of him. Not to mention the trunk is tiny and the cockpit is small. It's an absolute blast to drive and amazingly I've been averaging 24.2 MPG (with a 300HP twin turbo), but I need something more practical with more room that I can feel confident driving 100K+ miles.

So I don't need a ton of cargo room, but we will use it for the occassional home depot run and ski trips. I suppose I will have to test drive both and see what we like best.
 

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We've got one 2 year old and a baby on the way. We "may" have 3 kids at some point, but that's a ways off and I'm not really concerned about that. The problem with my 335XI is that the back seat is tiny. When we sit our son back there, his feet are up against the seat in front of him. Not to mention the trunk is tiny and the cockpit is small. It's an absolute blast to drive and amazingly I've been averaging 24.2 MPG (with a 300HP twin turbo), but I need something more practical with more room that I can feel confident driving 100K+ miles.

So I don't need a ton of cargo room, but we will use it for the occassional home depot run and ski trips. I suppose I will have to test drive both and see what we like best.
Be sure to let us know what you decide and what swayed you to that decision.
 

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Ski trips would imply to me that you might want the F/awd version. In that case the Venza would be the standout as it, along with the 2010 RX350, has the new F/awd system that is expected to be quite a bit more functional than the HL's "one-wheel-drive" system.

The new F/awd system is also used by Ford, Mazda, and best of all the new Porsche 911, R/awd in the latter case.

The new F/awd is not likely to need the ability to turn off TC in order to get unstuck as does the HL, Sienna, and older RXes.
 

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Like the other replies indicate, it pretty much brakes down to:

Highlander for cargo space and 3rd row seat. Venza for interior/exterior styling and personal comfort. You'll have to decide which is more important. For me, the HL won out.
 

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I don't understand why people call it a crossover. I think I'm buying a Camry station wagon (4cyl 2wd)!
At the risk of stating the obvious, 'crossover' comes from the idea that it provides utility specific to an SUV - AWD/4-wheeling to the snow, good ground clearance, large enough to take the whole family plus cargo.

Oh, it's not a station wagon. I wouldn't take the family truckster (ala Vacation) to the snow... :D
 

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So I got to test drive the venza, sport highlander, and highlander hybrid. The venza didn't win me over like I thought it would. Leaning towards highlander at this point...likely the sport unless I can find a slightly used hybrid for short money. 50K for a loaded Highlander seems absolutely insane to me.
 

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I don't understand why people call it a crossover. I think I'm buying a Camry station wagon (4cyl 2wd)!
At the risk of stating the obvious, 'crossover' comes from the idea that it provides utility specific to an SUV - AWD/4-wheeling to the snow, good ground clearance, large enough to take the whole family plus cargo.

Oh, it's not a station wagon. I wouldn't take the family truckster (ala Vacation) to the snow... :D
I would agree. Go look at any station wagon and closely view the distance from the rear wheels to the back of the car. There typically is an extended span there for cargo. The Venza is not built like that, there is a short span to the rear of the car closer resembling the crossover class, but not in Toyota's opinion. As far as an established class it closer represents an optimised all terain hatchback. Hows that for a new class?? :D
 

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So I got to test drive the venza, sport highlander, and highlander hybrid. The venza didn't win me over like I thought it would. Leaning towards highlander at this point...likely the sport unless I can find a slightly used hybrid for short money. 50K for a loaded Highlander seems absolutely insane to me.
I love the styling of the Venza, but in all honesty, the Highlander fits my *future* needs better. I already have a MKV GTI and a MINI Cooper S as good daily drivers for my DINK family. When kids come along, though, I'll be buying a Highlander instead of the Venza. I was really impressed with how the Highlander drove. It didn't feel nearly as big as it is on the road. I'm fairly certain I can fit my mountain bikes upright in the back of the Highlander, too. :D

I figure I'll probably get a slightly used hybrid version, as well. I like the bells and whistles and the electric motor AWD is very clever.
 

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I looked at both the Venza and the Highlander in great detail. Although the sticker on the Venza was quite a bit less than the Highlander I was able to negotiate a better deal on the Highlander relative to sticker because it was not a new model. I paid 35,500 for a loaded limited HL with XM radio.

Why did I choose the HL over the Venza?

1. Build quality. The interior of the Venza had a lot of mismatched seams whereas the Highlander was perfect in every case I looked at. Perhaps it's the established Japanese factory vs. the new American factory....I'm not sure...but I didn't like the way the interior on the Venza looked slapped together in every specifmen I looked at.
2. Road noise....much less in the HL than the Venza
3. Ride quality....much smoother in HL.
4. 3rd row seat option
5. Dashboard layout....just liked the way the Highalander looked from the drivers seat....more traditional and upscale looking without overreaching.
The Venza had the Highlander beat in terms of economy, handling, and looks.
I just got a bit nervous about a new model coming from a new factory with the gaps in the dashboard freaking me out a bit. Would have gone for the Venza if it had a bit less plastic and better build quality.
 

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In looking at the HL and Venza side by side, and inside and out, the Venza looks like a more expensive and higher end model. We love ours - especially the big back seat with reclining cushions. I'd love to see Toyota's business case for having both the HL and Venza existing.
 

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I had concerns about the Venza interior but the one we received this week has no issues as far as fit and finish. May be that they already addressed the problems. Ours was built late last month.

We were considering the HL until wife saw Venza, then there was no contest. The front seats of HL are fine, the middle rear less so and forget the 3rd row for adults.
 

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We decided to go with an 09 Highlander Sport instead of the Venza. The interior room and the interior fit an finish are very good in the HL. Road noise in non-existant and it rides very smooth.

We test drove them back-to-back and the difference in ride quality was noticed immediately along with the quiet interior of the HL. My HL has the 19" wheels so one more inch isn't going to make a noticebale difference. My 07 Tundra had 20" wheels and so did my 04 Ram. I would have to say the ride quality was better in the 07 Tundra then the Venza.

I still like the Venza very much but in this point in time the HL filled our needs in a better fashion.
 
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