As boomers reach retirement age, it seems we begin to downsize everything—houses, belongings, even our cars. After all, who needs the extended size SUV (my kids called ours the Blue Mule), now that car pools and long family road trips are a thing of the past (or almost). So which vehicle should you consider for your reincarnation as a downsized, hip and ready to travel boomer? The 2013 Toyota Venza.
Last month, Toyota U.S.A. invited a group of boomer travel journalists—including me— on a road trip from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara and back to West Hollywood to experience the 2013 Toyota Venza for ourselves. As a long-time Toyota Forerunner owner (12 years and counting), I wasn’t convinced that a downsized vehicle was for me. I like the feeling of sitting up high that my SUV provides. However, the Venza’s expansive windshield was one of the first things that I noticed when it was my turn to drive the car. I didn’t miss the view from my Forerunner one bit.
What about storage? I’ll admit that Alan and I haul around a good bit of equipment on a road trip and this is one area where we could learn to improve. While the Venza does not offer as much storage space as the Forerunner, there’s still plenty of room, especially if Alan and I become experts at downsizing the amount of stuff that we bring on a trip. Of course, the back seats fold down, giving additional space just like in our SUV. And, I really liked the ease of loading my luggage into the rear cargo space. It was just the right height for a boomer with a back that goes out now and then.
That ease of use was extended to getting in and out of the Venza. I didn’t have to step up into the car, but I didn’t have to sink down into the seat either. The height of the seat was just right. It seems that Toyota engineers really did have boomers in mind when they designed the crossover vehicle.
Speaking of the interior, I appreciated the roomy back seat. This car could easily accommodate two boomer couples on a weekend road trip. And, the interior styling felt more like a luxury car than a downsized SUV. Appointments included leather seats, lots of cubbyholes for storage and a special slot for a cell phone.
The Entune Multi-Media System (free for the first three years) is one of the whiz-bang features of the Venza. Designed with boomer travelers in mind, the system connects with your cell phone for access to apps such as Bing, Open Table, even your favorite Pandora station. Want to check fuel prices, local weather or monitor traffic conditions? You can do that too. However, if you’re a boomer who wears reading glasses—like me—I recommend that you pull over before consulting the navigational map or fuel price advice. Better yet, bring along a travel companion and let them monitor the information.
The Toyota Venza is available as an all-wheel drive or 2-wheel drive vehicle. But, when it comes to mechanical details, you need to remember that I’m a travel princess. I rely on Alan for that type of analysis. Since he wasn’t with me, I’ll send you over to this U.S. News review and the 2013 Toyota Venza site.
When my Forerunner finally needs replacing, will I chose a Venza as my next ride? Unfortunately, I live on a Montana dirt road that requires the kind of heavy duty tires found on SUV’s. But, if I didn’t live out in the wild, a Toyota Venza would most definitely be in my boomer future.
Do you drive a Toyota Venza? Share your opinions and experiences about the driving the crossover vehicle in our comments section. I think the 2013 Toyota Venza is one good-looking, versatile car.
Disclosure: I was not paid by Toyota to write this article. Although Toyota U.S.A. provided my Venza travel experience, the opinons are all mine.
First two photos courtesy Toyota.