Whatever happened to the station wagon in the car world?  I mean, you have SUV’s and crossovers, and a few other designations nobody understands, but what happened to the venerable station wagon we all grew up with?

Well, the Toyota Venza is as close to a station wagon as you could hope for, although it is not tagged as such.  What it is is a family-friendly vehicle that delivers with dependability and multi-use functions, and it may be the best family-friendly vehicle on the road today. Chief competition comes from the Honda Crosstour, Nissan Murano, and Subaru Outback, although in fairness all three of those are crossovers.  The Venza is definitely not a crossover, although we would be hard-pressed to say what exactly it is.

We can tell you that the Venza comes in three trims, the LE, XLE, and Limited.  We can tell you that it is powered by four and six-cylinder engines, that it comes in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and that they all have as standard a six-speed automatic transmission.  The 2.7-liter four-cylinder has 182 horsepower to the engine and can go from 0-60 in 9.3 seconds, an average time.  It gets 21/27 mpg.  The 3.5-liter V6 engine gets 268 horsepower and can go from 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, which is quick, and the EPA rating is 19/26.

Safety features include the standard antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and a full-compliment of airbags.

Standard features include 19-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, cruise control, six speaker stereo system, and dual-zone automatic climate control.  Options are many including keyless entry, sunroof, JBL audio system, and navigation system.

The Venza has not changed much from last year, so the 2012 Venza is basically the 2011 Venza.  Having said that, they are what they are, which is very family-friendly, which great room for kids and storage, and a comfortable ride that will deliver in any weather.  Safety for the kids, comfort for mom and dad….basically everything you want in a station wagon without calling it a station wagon.

The Toyota Venza has been around a few years now, so we are seeing more and more of them at loal salvage yards, and you would be well-advised to stop and pick up some recycled parts if you see a Venza available at the junkyard.  Toyota makes cars to last, so anything you pick up at a salvage yard will carry the same guarantee of craftsmanship that goes with any Toyota product.