2008 Detroit Auto Show: Toyota Venza

  • Competes with: Ford Edge, Hyundai Santa Fe, Subaru Outback
  • Looks like: A Lexus RX SUV
  • Drivetrain: 2.7-liter four-cylinder or 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with six-speed automatic; front- or all-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2008

When we first heard about the Toyota Venza, we weren’t sure why Toyota needed a five-seat crossover based on the Toyota Camry. The popular Highlander was recently redesigned, it seats seven and it’s also based on the Camry. Now that the Venza is here and we have real specs on it, we’re even more unsure of its place in the market.

The Venza is almost exactly the same length as the Highlander, at 189 inches, and almost the exact same width. The Venza does come with an all-new four-cylinder engine in the base model, which the Highlander doesn’t, but we don’t have power numbers on it yet. The available V-6 is the same one that’s in the Highlander. The Venza will also come in both front- and all-wheel-drive models. The wheels you see pictured are the standard 20-inch variety for the V-6 model. Four-cylinder buyers won’t get shortchanged, though, as 19-inch wheels are standard on it.

Driving dynamics should be different from the Highlander, of course, as the Venza has a different suspension setup, a lowered height and those big wheels. The interior, too, is radically different — almost at a Lexus level when it comes to looks. That makes us wonder how much this will cost, and if that will bring in buyers. Take a look at the photos below and let us know what you think of this all-new Toyota.

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