Toyota's ceaseless model diversification

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Toyota's ceaseless model diversification

Post by Administrator on Thu 24 Jan 2008, 5:58 am

The juggernaut rolls on as the world's No 1 carmaker adds another rung to its US product portfolio





Toyota's ceaseless model diversification continued at the Detroit motor show, where it unveiled the Venza, ostensibly the car-making giant's answer to the likes of Nissan's Murano.

Billed as a "crossover sedan", you could think of Venza as a softer, more car-like proposition than the Kluger.

Designed and engineered in the US, the Venza seemingly borrows styling cues from the likes of the Mercedes R-Class, as well as the Murano and US-focused Ford Edge. Be that as it may, the end result is reasonably well resolved -- for a vehicle of its genre.

Based on the same platform as the US-spec Avalon, the five-seater wagon will be offered in front-drive and all-wheel-drive formats, and with the choice of a 200kW 3.5-litre V6 shared with the US market Highlander (our Kluger, more here) or an entry-level 2.7-litre four-pot.

Both engines are hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission with a sequential-shift mode, and Toyota is touting a towing capacity of 1590kg for the V6, which is lineball with that of the Nissan Murano.

Apart from having more power, the V6 model also gets dual exhausts and 20-inch wheels, while the 2.7-litre variant makes do with a single tailpipe and 19-inch rims.

Explaining the rationale behind the Venza, Toyota says: "The all-new Venza was developed as a vehicle that combines the styling, comfort and fun-to-drive performance elements of a five-passenger sedan with the surprising utility of an SUV."

The target market, according to Toyota, is "active boomers" and young couples with small families. Venza is a US-only proposition, and its attributes have been tailored accordingly for that market.

Toyota says it tried to steer clear of the "more traditional SUV styling themes" that tend to dominate the segment, which helps explain the low roofline, small glasshouse and fastback-ish treatment at the rear.

Despite these space-nabbing design elements, the Venza is claimed to offer ample room for all five passengers and abundant "SUV-like cargo space" behind the second row of seats.

The Venza also features a Toyota first -- namely, an 'Automatic High Beam' headlight system. In a nutshell, this system uses sensors to detect oncoming traffic and subsequently switches the headlights to low-beam.

When the Automatic High Beam sensors no longer detect oncoming traffic the system switches the headlights back to high-beam mode. Simple, yet handy.

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