Toyota Venza Weird Enough to Sell?

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
toyota venza weird enough to sell

Toyota has launched a site to preview their new Venza crossover wagonish type vehicle thingy. The site tells you everything you need to know about the Venza (auto-dimming mirror with built-in compass) except what you need to know (the mpg). Meanwhile, the Venza's front grill looks like a mutated Mach 3 razor, but aside from that Dali-esque design, it's a fairly upscale-looking product. ToMoCo's Ford Edge competitor comes with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine as standard, with an optional 3.5-liter V6. Within, the Venza's gear lever sits in the middle of the dashboard's center stack. (French car much?) Taken as a whole, the Venza's so strange that it's almost… interesting. Marketing-wise, it's meant to fit between the RAV4 and Highlander– in a market space formerly occupied by the old Highlander before its "grew up" (and out). Toyota's looking to sell 75k of these… things per year, as it continues its race to become GM.

Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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  • Tonycd Tonycd on Jun 06, 2008

    Ehpolitical, I disagree with your thought that "Toyota, Honda and Nissan are all overlooking the market for wagon variants of their bread and butter sedans." In the flesh, this clearly is a Camry wagon. I think they've gauged the American consumer's mind (such as it is) with their usual thoroughness, and realized they simply wouldn't be smart to call it that. As for me, the whole "crossover" thing is so clearly a codpiece over the eminently practical but un-phallic station wagon category that it's getting quite embarrassing to watch.

  • Therightstuff Therightstuff on Jun 06, 2008

    "Just another Murano - except 6 years later?" "If this thing doesn’t split the difference between the RAV4 and the Highlander - oooo boy?" ...I guess you guys sat in a different vehicle than I did at the auto show! It was IMMEDIATELY apparent to me after hanging aroun din it for a few minutes that: 1. This is a completely different breed of vehicle than the Highlander. It's lower to the ground, much sleeker, much more urbane, much less soccer mom, bigger chrome wheels, meaner stance. It has a completely different feel - and I think will draw a different customer. Younger, more city/urban/wealthy suburb maybe, or hip couples perhaps. It fits that wealthy/stylish demographic I feel people kind of imagine themselves as - without costing $50K. I am not explaining it well, but you can't SLOT this very different combination of features crossover in between RAV4 and Highlander...It's just NOT an SUV! 2. Comparing it to the Murano is a JOKE. It's FAR bigger or less cramped on the inside. It's FAR more luxurious on the inside. It's got angles - not a rounded 90's style. (Have you ever noticed that Nissan's styling is cool for....oh...about 6 months and then they look really dated? This vehicle won't. Actually - I can't think of a Toyota that does. That's a Nissan problem if you ask me. And I LIKE the grille others seem to be so shocked by. Yes it's modern. Yes it's new. It's some new fantastic plated finish too - not chrome, like a slightly fogged mirror sort of appearance - but really sharp and high end looking to me. Toyota should do some high-end Mercedes-like rocker moldings in that finish too. There were cool gizmos too like interior door handles in the far back that you pull and the seats auto-fold flat up in front of you. I'm telling you - this car will be HOT and will last and is NOT a damned clunky Ford Edge or a stale Nissan Murano or a problem for Toyota just because it can't be slotted neatly between RAV4 and Highlander. I've heard it might cost $25K. It definitely feels like $35K or more when you are sitting in it.

  • Big_gms Big_gms on Jun 06, 2008

    As strange looking as it is, I actually sort of like it. Sort of. It's certainly better looking than the Murano. But where's the Toyota quality everyone talks about? I looked carefully at the interior photos and I can see a number of what appear to be ill-fitting pieces. The trim pieces that surround the steering wheel buttons look hastily installed and there's a panel on the underside of the dash on the driver's side that doesn't seem to fit well. There seem to be some exterior bits that don't fit very well either. Okay, I know photos can sometimes be deceiving and that the photos are probably of a pre-production model, but still...

  • Therightstuff Therightstuff on Jun 07, 2008

    Yeah - I know what you mean....the car did seem unfinished athte auto show I was at. For instance, I don't think the dash pieces and door pieces were grained yet. They were smooth - almost shiny. the Toyota rep at the auto show said the vehicle was a first-off hand made prototype with not fully off-tool parts. then I saw some GM's that were current production models that had worse fitment of parts! It's Toyota. People don't worry about their appearance quality. It's simply the best for an affordable car. They'll get it all tuned up for whenever it launches.