The Toyota Venza hit the market as a unique option for buyers, fitting somewhere between a wagon and an SUV. But its life was short-lived and hit the dealerships for the last time for the 2015 model year. With word of a new Toyota Venza on its way back for the 2021 model year, we all hope it will be better than the 2009 Toyota Venza.
Why 2009 is the worst year for the Toyota Venza by far
The versatile Toyota Venza came on the scene for the 2009 model year, and since then, owners have issued complaints about their Venzas on CarComplaints.com. Out of all model years reported for the Toyota Venza, the 2009 model year receives the most complaints from owners.
According to CarComplaints.com’s model year comparison of the Toyota Venza, with 41 total complaints, the 2009 model year has between two and 12 times the number of complaints of any other model year.
The biggest problems with the 2009 Toyota Venza
The 2009 Toyota Venza is the oldest model year you can find, and it also comes with the most complaints from owners. According to CarComplaints.com’s breakdown of the 2009 Toyota Venza’s 41 complaints, the most complaints fall into the steering problems category.
Eight owners complain of steering problems, stating issues with drifting or wandering, whining when turning, and experiencing steering rattle. In fact, steering rattle is ranked as the model year’s No. 1 worst problem, costing an average of $2,000 to fix and occurring at an average of around 65,000 miles.
Six more owners report issues in the accessories/interior problems category, reporting problems with the dashboard material warping, the sun visor falling apart, issues with uncomfortable seats, and even a defective auxiliary jack.
Four owners have complaints about body/paint problems, with all of them reporting that their Venza’s paint chips extremely easy. This paint-chipping issue is ranked as the 2009 model year’s second-worst problem, occurring at a low average mileage of around 5,000 miles.
The annoying problems don’t stop with those categories, however. Four owners also report engine problems, such as their engine knocking or noise when starting the car.
There are three complaints each in exterior accessories, drivetrain, and electrical problem categories, but the transmission category is where the Toyota Venza hits another costly snag. Although there are only two reports of problems that fall in the transmission category, the third-worst problem for the model year is transmission failure.
According to CarComplaints.com, the transmission failure problem occurs at an average of around 61,000 miles and costs an expensive average of $3,200 to fix, earning it a high severity rating of 8.0 (out of 10). One owner even reports having to replace the transmission in his 2009 Toyota Venza twice.
But there’s also owner-reported problems that fall into pretty much every other category, including AC/heater, brakes, exhaust system, fuel system, seat belts/air bags, suspension, wheels/tires, and windows/windshield.
Do all Toyota Venza model years share the same lack of reliability?
Although the 2009 Toyota Venza receives more complaints than any other model year, it’s not Car Complaints’ choice for “Worst Model Year.” Due to the cost of repair and occurrence at low mileage, Car Complaints chooses the 2013 model year as the one to stay away from. Between the 2009 and 2013 Toyota Venza’s problems, you may think it’s a car to stay away from altogether.
But even though the 2013 Venza comes with the label of “Worst Model Year,” it still only has 10 total complaints from owners. Better still, 2014 and 2015 model years only have three and six complaints, respectively.
Overall, the Venza comes with a comparably small number of complaints. The category that seems to provide the most problems across all model years is accessories/interior problems. “Accessories-interior problems” is Car Complaints’ choice as “Worst Category” overall, with the majority of complaints falling into this category across all model years.