The Toyota Venza is a great option for anyone looking for a used crossover, but not all models are the same. Here are the Toyota Venza model years to avoid.
Table of Contents
- What are the worst years for the Toyota Venza?
- Toyota Venza Overview
- What Toyota Venza Model Years Should I Avoid?
- Key Takeaways
What are the worst years for the Toyota Venza?
The worst model years for the Toyota Venza are 2009, 2011, and 2015. These models tend to have a myriad of issues, including steering and electrical issues, as well as interior component deterioration and problems with the drive train.
Through my many years in the industry, I’ve owned and test driven countless Toyotas, as well as many other vehicles of various makes and models. Though I’ve always found that Toyotas are some of the longest lasting and most reliable SUVs on the market, there are plenty of resources like KBB, consumer reports, and carcomplaints.com that collect data on which models have the most issues and which ones retain their value the best. With my own expertise and the hard data collected by these resources I’ve determined that these are by far the worst model years for the Toyota Venza
Toyota Venza Overview
The Toyota Venza is a mid-sized crossover SUV that is perfect for driving the kids to school or running your weekly errands. With two rows of seats and ample trunk space for hauling around just about anything you’d need to, the Toyota Venza is a great option for anyone in the market for a comfortable and reliable family car.
Originally released in 2009, the Toyota Venza was based on the Toyota Camry platform. Essentially, just a bigger and taller Camry meant to give families more space for storage and comfort, while still maintaining solid fuel economy and safety standards.
What Toyota Venza Model Years Should I Avoid?
Though the Toyota Venza is a great vehicle fit for any suburban family, there are some model years that have been known to have more issues than others. So what model years have the worst reputations and what problems can you expect if you do happen to get one?
2009 Toyota Venza
The Venza model that should be avoided at all costs is the 2009 model year. Though it is expected that the first year a vehicle is released would have the most problems, it is still surprising just how bad this vehicle was for many people.
According to Carcomplaints.com and KBB, this model hasn’t retained its value as well as all of the others and is most likely to fall victim to a number of issues, some of which may be incredibly costly to fix.
Lots Of Recalls
There were 8 recalls issued for the 2009 Venza which is alarming. Though all of the models I will be mentioning here were recalled at least once, the amount of recalls issued for this model is one of the big reasons that I consider the 2009 Venza to be the worst.
These recalls have to do with the airbags, seats, brake lights, and various other pieces of equipment, however, since many of recalls are shared with the other models I will go into more detail about some of these issues below.
The most common complaint about the 2009 Venza is that they often experience issues with the steering. Though many cars may experience steering issues as they age, the 2009 Venza began experiencing these issues almost immediately, with many complaints coming within the first year after being bought and with the odometer sitting at or below 60,000 miles.
The most common steering problems experienced with this model are the car wandering to one side when driving straight on the highway or hearing whining while making sharp turns.
Rattling in the steering wheel is also a very common problem that can be not only uncomfortable and dangerous but also very costly to fix with some repairs coming with a price tag of upwards of $2000.
Problems With The Interior
The 2009 Venza is also prone to a number of problems with the interior of the car. The most common issue reported was distortion and deterioration of the materials on the dashboard. This can easily make parts of the console unusable and cause the interior of the car to look older and uglier than it should.
Uncomfortable seating, faulty auxiliary ports, wiring issues in the heated seats, and sun visors that deteriorate and fall apart are some of the other most common issues experienced in the interior of the car.
Other Common Issues
There are also many other issues that tend to occur with the 2009 Venza. Engine knocking and excessive oil consumption are both problems that are commonly reported, as well as, exterior problems like paint chipping too easily and door strip seals falling off.
Some less common, but still noteworthy, issues that have been reported are problems with the transmission and drivetrain, in addition to, a myriad of electrical issues including problems with the alternator and brake lights.
2011 Toyota Venza
Though Toyota was able to turn things around with its 2010 model, the 2011 Venza did not keep up with the standard set by its predecessor. In fact, the 2011 Venza was so bad that there were 4 safety recalls issued for this model.
That being said, Toyota did offer to fix these issues for free meaning that many models were fixed and shouldn’t experience these problems anymore, however, it’s still important to note what you might be in for if you buy one.
Problems With The Airbags
The most recent and dangerous recall issued for the 2011 Venza has to do with its airbags. Basically, damaged and faulty wiring in the driver’s side door can cause the airbag sensor not to work.
This means that, in the event of a crash, the side and curtain airbags might not deploy. This is a huge problem because you are much more likely to get severely injured or killed if the airbags do not deploy properly in a collision.
Other Electrical Problems
Two other recalls had to do with different electrical issues affecting two different components of the vehicle. The more common issue had to do with the brake lights. Essentially, it’s quite common that the brake lights would become inoperable, meaning that the cars behind you would have no warning if you are slowing down.
The other recall had to do with the heated seats. Though it didn’t affect nearly as many cars as the others, some models had faulty wiring in the seats that could cause them to short and possibly burn the occupants.
Other Common Issues
Some of the other complaints received about the 2011 Venza are quite similar to the 2009 model. Distortion and deterioration of components in the interior are common excessive oil consumption was reported by some 2011 Venza owners as well.
Brake failures can also occur in the 2011 Venza and some models have weak drive shafts that are prone to breaking due to insufficient heat treatment.
Though not as common as many of the other problems I’ve listed, these still add to the list of extremely dangerous issues associated with this model year.
2015 Toyota Venza
The 2015 Toyota Venza was the last model year produced up until the recent reboot of the Venza in 2021. Though they had been making this car for 6 years at this point, Toyota was still unable to match the level of quality of this model year with that of some of the better model years like 2010 and 2014.
Problems With The Airbags
Just like the 2011 model the 2015 Venza also had airbag issues causing Toyota to issue a recall.
Again, just like the 2011 model, the 2015 Venza also had faulty wiring in the driver’s side door that could cause the airbags to malfunction and the sensor to not work. This means that those same side and curtain airbags might not deploy, increasing the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.
Many 2015 Venza owners also reported issues with the brakes, causing the brake pads and rotors to wear down much quicker than they should and sometimes resulting in the brakes completely failing to stop the vehicle.
The 2015 Venza is also known to experience some of the interior and comfort issues common in the 2009 and 2011 models.
Many complaints mention the seats and especially the headrest being incredibly uncomfortable and, in some cases, causing soreness and pain in taller drivers and passengers.
Some other electrical issues that can affect the interior of the 2015 Venza have to do with the radio, cd player, navigation system, and sunroof.
Many people reported that the radio and CD player navigation systems would turn off or otherwise malfunction in strange ways, causing annoyance and the inability to use the GPS system. The sunroof has also been reported to malfunction and explode randomly and frequently.
Although not as frequently reported as the others, other electrical issues including problems with HVAC systems have been reported. Clicking sounds coming from the roof of the vehicle as well as excessive noise coming from the side mirrors have also been reported, though again these issues are not very common.
- The 2009, 2011, and 2015 Toyota Venza model years should be avoided.
- All of these models experience excessive deformation and deterioration of interior components.
- All of these models were issued at least one safety recall.
- Electrical issues with the airbags, heated seats, and other interior components are also very common.
- Though these models have their issues other model years are much better.