This week we’re looking at the 2010 Toyota Venza AWD SUV. If you ever questioned the popularity of the SUV consider that nearly half of Toyota’s lineup are SUV’s. MSRP for RAV4 ($22,000), FJ Cruiser ($24,000), Highlander ($26,000), 4Runner ($27,000), Venza ($30,000), Sequoia ($39,000) and Land Cruiser ($66,000), or 7 out of 16 .
The why is pretty simple – they are the most profitable models for all car makers. Venza is just the latest addition to the SUV offerings from Toyota which began with the 2009 model year. To me Venza is a middle of the road model and although the Sequoia and land cruiser are bigger and bulkier I prefer smaller and Venza is just right for me where son Mike with 4 kids Land Cruiser is more to his need. So he bought a Lincoln Navigator and a GMC Yukon Denali. Both are AWD and that is a problem since fuel economy is a contradiction in terms. He also has learned the GMC tends to have transmission and differential problems as they age. The Lincoln is older but no noticeable problems after 130,000 miles. The key is taking care of either or any car. Changing the transmission fluid and engine oil is critical for longevity.
I’ve owned a few Toyota’s because I was in the auto repair business for many years and I was too busy working on other people’s car choices that I didn’t have time to work on my own car. Toyota solved that problem.
The popularity of Japanese cars stems from the basic work ethic of the Japanese. Consumers have found the result to be a quality car that is pitted against competition burdened with a work force controlled by strong arm Union organizers.
America invented the automobile industry and Henry Ford perfected the process but the Japanese have avoided Unions who have pushed wage packages of US automakers to more than double that of the Japanese and Korean companies.
Those who read my column know I have complained about this for years but the mainstream media won’t attack powerful Union thugs.
A Wall Street Journal article states that on average, GM pays $81.18 an hour in wages and benefits including pension and retiree medical costs.But Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson manages to ignore the huge labor cost advantage enjoyed by non-union Toyota.
How much of an advantage? According to that same article, Harbour Consulting President Ron Harbour estimates Toyota’s total hourly U.S. labor costs, with benefits, at about $35 an hour.
The problem with this huge gap is that quality is cut to make up for the difference of labor costs. Friend and automotive designer Merkel complains that components are engineered precisely so that an acceptable failure rate is conditioned on cost. Naturally, I don’t expect a car to last 100 years when we toss them in the junk pile after 10. But foreign non-union manufacturers are able to make a car last longer. And that folks is a big thanks to the UAW who have bullied management (with Golden Parachutes) to cave in to Union demands.
The final bottom line is that consumers naturally gravitate to foreign car makers because they instinctively know that this is TRUE.
Handling & Performance:
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride around New England – Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. I like the size, comfort and road-ability. 268 horsepower is just perfect for a balance of enough performance and fairly good fuel economy.
Well, they surely give you lots of price ranges but with the exception of the FJ Cruiser (that I love the look of) the rest are simply too much the same and I could flip a coin and be just as happy with one as another.
Fit and Finish:
Chose one that fits your budget and you’ll be happy.
Conveniences and comfort:
Toyota offers eight option packages: Security, Convenience, and Lighting. Leather, Comfort, Tow and for combined packages, Premium #1 and Premium #2.
Toyota Venza $26-30,000, Acura RDX $33-38,000, Audi A4 Avant $35,350, BMW 3-Series Sport $36-38,000 Chevrolet Equinox $23-30,000,Dodge Journey $21-30,000, Ford Edge $27-38,000, Honda CR-V $22-30,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $22-30,000, Infiniti EX $34-37,000, Mazda CX-7 $22-33,000, Mercury Mariner $24-27,000, Nissan Murano $28-39,000, Pontiac Torrent $25-31,000, Saab 9-3 $30-37,000, Saturn Vue $23-31,000, Subaru Outback $23-31,000.
Comfortable, fair fuel economy, nice styling and Toyota time proven quality.
3.5 liter 268 horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed auto trans, 20” alloy wheels, power steering, 4-wheel ABS power disc brakes with electronic brake distribution, stability control, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH child system, tire pressure monitor, rear intermittent wiper, climate control, audio with CD integrated SAT & USB port, hands free pone & music streaming via Bluetooth, MP3 player, 60/40 fold flat rear seat, tilt & telescopic steering wheel with controls, power windows & locks, remote keyless entry.
$2.95/ Gal avg. September 5, 2010
for more information.
18 City and 25 Highway MPG
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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