Here Are Worst Toyota Venza Years to Avoid and Good Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a Toyota Venza?

Don’t get stuck with a headache-inducing lemon! While this crossover SUV is generally known for its reliability, there are a few model years that stand out as problematic.

Don’t let steering issues, electrical problems, or interior component deterioration ruin your driving experience.

To ensure a smarter investment in your future vehicle, steer clear of the 2009, 2011, and 2015 Toyota Venza model years. Trust us, your wallet and peace of mind will thank you.

Worst Toyota Venza Years to Avoid

Toyota Venza Overview

The Toyota Venza is a mid-size crossover SUV that offers you a mix of style, performance, and functionality.

This SUV has been in production since 2009, with a brief discontinuation between 2015 and 2020. As a family crossover, it has managed to impress buyers with its comfortable cabin, versatile cargo space, and reliable performance.

In its first generation (2009-2015), the Venza was available in both 4-cylinder and V6 engine options, providing you with the choice of the powertrain that best suited your needs.

The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine offered decent fuel efficiency, while the 3.5-liter V6 provided a more powerful driving experience.

Worst Years to Avoid

During my findings, I gathered that the Toyota Venza years you should stay away from are 2009, 2011, and 2015.

These years had the most complaints and were issued at least one safety recall. Now, let’s delve into the specific issues for each of these years.

2009 Toyota Venza

The 2009 Toyota Venza was the first model year, and it turned out to be the worst by far. The most common problem reported by owners was related to the steering wheel.

The 2009 model also had issues with excessive interior component deformation and deterioration.

2011 Toyota Venza

The 2011 Toyota Venza also faced multiple problems that warrant its inclusion in the years to avoid list.

Similar to the 2009 model, the 2011 Venza had issues with interior components deforming and deteriorating prematurely. Owners also reported electrical problems with airbags, heated seats, and other interior components.

2015 Toyota Venza

Lastly, the 2015 Toyota Venza should be avoided due to the same problems experienced with the 2009 and 2011 models.

The 2015 Venza had issues with interior component deformation and deterioration, as well as a safety recall issued for the model.

Serious Issues

What are the most common and severe problems faced by these models? The following are some of the main issues you should be aware of:

  • Steering wheel problems: The 2009 Toyota Venza had significant issues with its steering wheel, making it the worst year in terms of complaints.
  • Interior components deformation and deterioration: The 2009, 2011, and 2015 Toyota Venza models all faced problems with their interiors, causing components to wear down and lose their shapes prematurely.
  • Electrical issues: The 2011 Toyota Venza experienced electrical problems, specifically with airbags and heated seats, which can pose safety risks for drivers and passengers.

By staying informed about the Toyota Venza years to avoid, you can make a better decision when purchasing a used Toyota Venza or researching alternatives on the market.

Common Problems

  • Steering Problems

In some years of the Toyota Venza, you may face steering issues. For example, the 2009 Toyota Venza had significant steering troubles that led to a high number of complaints.

Drivers have reported steering rack leaks, which can become a safety concern if left unattended. Be vigilant when driving a Venza, especially if it’s from the year 2009 or 2011, as these years were more prone to such issues.

  • Brake Problems

Another area where the Toyota Venza faced concerns is the braking system. Notably, the 2010 model experienced issues with faulty brakes.

Pay attention to brake components like rotors, brake calipers, and brake lights while using a Venza to ensure road safety. The 2009 and 2011 models were also subject to complaints involving brake problems.

  • Electrical Issues

Several Toyota Venza model years, such as 2009, 2011, and 2015, encountered electrical issues that often affected airbags, heated seats, and other interior components.

These electrical problems can have implications on reliability and safety, so it’s essential to stay alert for any signs of such concerns while driving a Venza from these years. In some cases, recalls were issued to address these troubles.

While owning a Toyota Venza, keep an eye out for issues like steering problems, brake issues, and electrical faults. These can affect the overall safety and reliability of your vehicle, especially in years like 2009, 2011, and 2015, which experienced higher rates of these problems.

Reliability and Safety


There are a few Venza model years that you should be aware of when reliability is massively considered.

Specifically, you should avoid the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2021 models, as they have experienced more recalls and issues compared to other years. Recalls are a crucial factor to consider when assessing vehicle safety, as they can indicate potential problems with certain components.

For instance, some of the Toyota Venza recalls in the past have involved electrical issues with the airbags, heated seats, and other interior components.

Safety Features

In spite of the mentioned recalls, Toyota Venzas are generally equipped with many safety features designed to provide you and your family with a secure driving experience.

Some common safety features found in the Venza include:

  • Advanced airbag system
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Traction Control (TRAC)
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist (BA)
  • Smart Stop Technology (SST)

These features work together to not only protect you in the event of a collision but also help to prevent accidents from happening in the first place.

Always make sure to check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for up-to-date information on recalls and safety standards. By taking these steps, you can be confident in your decision to purchase a Toyota Venza that meets your needs for both reliability and safety.

Comparison with Other Models

  • Toyota Highlander

Compared to the Toyota Venza years to avoid, the Toyota Highlander has a strong reputation for reliability and performance, especially for the Toyota Highlander best years worth buying.

The Highlander is a midsize SUV, which is larger than the Venza, with the option for a 3.5-liter V6 engine providing more power.

It also comes with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, giving you greater choice in terms of driving performance.

  • Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is another popular SUV model and a smaller alternative to the Venza. It maintains a good reputation for reliability, RAV4 has fewer problematic years compared to the Venza.

The RAV4 is smaller and more fuel-efficient, making it an attractive option for those who prioritize economy and agility over space and power.

Lexus RX

The Lexus RX is considered a luxury crossover, offering a more upscale experience compared to the Toyota Venza.

While slightly more expensive, the RX has a refined interior and a reputation for dependability. It’s available with either a regular or hybrid powertrain, giving you more options to customize your driving experience.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is another compact SUV option to consider when comparing models. It has a reputation for reliability and offers a comfortable ride, similar to the Toyota Venza.

Another good thing is that Tucson has more best years then Venza.

The Tucson’s performance, while not as powerful as the Venza’s 3.5-liter V6, is still respectable with its available engines.

Fuel Efficiency and Maintenance

Fuel efficiency is one of its strong features, especially if you opt for the Hybrid model. This version has better fuel economy compared to other models, making it an attractive option for environmentally cautious drivers.

A well-maintained Toyota Venza is capable of lasting between 100,000 to 200,000 miles without major issues.

As the owner, your responsibility in keeping up with routine maintenance can significantly contribute to your vehicle’s longevity.

Fortunately, the costs associated with maintaining a Venza are relatively low, averaging $444 per year.

Still, it’s worth mentioning that some sources cite higher than average repair costs for certain Venza models, estimating around $5,652. It’s important to consider this when comparing the Venza to alternative options, like the Toyota RAV4.

Speaking of the RAV4, if you’re curious about size differences, the Toyota Venza is indeed the larger vehicle. The Venza has a length of 186.6 inches, making it 5.7 inches longer than the RAV4.

Drivetrain and Engine Options

Lets again talk ab bit more about engines and drivetrain options available throughout its production.

Toyota has offered both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations to fit your personal driving preferences.

Early models of the Venza came with two engine options: a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine and a more powerful 3.5-liter V6.

While both engines are generally reliable, some issues have arisen with specific model years, such as the 2009 and 2015 Venza models where excessive interior deformation and deterioration of interior components like headrests and mold issues were reported.

The 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine offers a balance of fuel efficiency and power for day-to-day driving.

However, if you need more power for activities like towing, the 3.5-liter V6 might be the better option. Both engines come with a timing chain that doesn’t need to be changed unless you’re experiencing electrical issues.

To help choose which drivetrain option is best for you, consider your driving habits and environment.

Front-wheel drive is suitable for those who mainly drive on well-paved roads and prefer better fuel economy.

On the other hand, all-wheel drive offers improved traction and handling in challenging conditions, such as snowy or slippery roads.

Keep in mind that driveshaft problems have been reported in a few models, so be sure to check for any drivetrain-related recalls before making a decision.

In more recent models, Toyota has made the switch to a hybrid powertrain for the Venza, which combines a 2.5-liter inline-4 engine with electric motors for added fuel efficiency.

Although this newer model has some reported issues, such as the 2021 model year experiencing a stressed powertrain at medium throttle input, it’s worth keeping an eye on as Toyota continues to make improvements.

Comfort and Interior Accessories

In some model years, you might face problems with steering, seat comfort, and even electrical issues.

For instance, you may encounter uncomfortable seats in certain Venza models. In the 2011 Toyota Venza, some owners have reported issues with the seats’ comfort and the heated seats.

Ensure you thoroughly test the seats during your test drive to determine whether they meet your comfort standards.

As for steering, you might experience a loss of power and trouble with steering systems in some Venza years. Be vigilant while driving and test the steering responsiveness to make sure it lives up to your expectations.

With regards to interior accessories, the Venza has faced some problems in specific years. Electrical problems, such as faulty lights or issues with the auxiliary jack, have been reported in years like 2015.

It’s a good idea to test all the buttons, lights, and other electrical components before making a purchase.

Finally, if cargo space is essential to you, don’t forget to evaluate the Venza’s available storage. Open the trunk and have a look at the available cargo space, as well as the car seat configuration, to ensure it caters to your family’s needs.

While every car model has its pros and cons, being informed and paying attention to these mentioned aspects will help you better evaluate the Toyota Venza models in terms of comfort and interior accessories.


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