Between 2008 and 2015, GM’s long-time rival, Toyota Motor Corporation, marketed a vehicle called the Toyota Venza. Though production of the midsize crossover didn’t last very long, the Venza – along with the Nissan Murano – helped to create the modern midsize crossover segment. And now, rumors are swirling that the Venza is slated to make a return. And when it does, it will slot in as a direct rival to GM’s new Chevrolet Blazer.
In the U.S., the Toyota Venza was discontinued after the 2015 model year following lackluster sales throughout the model’s lifecycle. The Venza enjoyed tepid demand due to various factors, including the fact that the vehicle was mostly available in high-spec, relatively pricey trims, while being smaller than the much more popular Highlander.
In addition, the Venza had a wagon body style that didn’t really line up with U.S. customer preferences at the time. To that point, the Toyota Venza didn’t have a the rugged, off-roader attitude needed to pique the interest of buyers on these shores. In many ways, the Venza was essentially ahead of its time in many ways, bowing out of the segment it helped create much earlier than it should have.
|Chevrolet||Trax / Trailblazer||Equinox||Blazer|
|Nissan||Juke / Kicks||Rogue Sport / Rogue||Murano||Pathfinder|
|Volkswagen||-||Tiguan||Atlas Cross Sport||Atlas|
Nevertheless, the rumored return of the Toyota Venza nameplate isn’t terribly surprising, especially when considering the gaping hole in Toyota’s current crossover lineup: Toyota doesn’t have anything between the compact RAV4 (that competes with the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain) and the large Toyota Highlander (which competes with the Chevrolet Traverse). Hence, a future Toyota Venza would slot between the RAV4 and Highlander as a direct rival to current Chevrolet Blazer.
This is a big deal for General Motors, as it would add yet another entry to the ever-growing midsize crossover segment – and from an extremely competent rival with significant cachet among many consumers, at that.
In fact, Toyota has shown impressive strength for several years running in its sales numbers, selling sedans like the Corolla and Camry in very high volumes but in shrinking segments, something that GM has been unable to do for a while. In fact, the Japanese automaker continues to see consistent sales volumes of those two models. Meanwhile, GM discontinued the Chevrolet Cruze (its direct Corolla rival) while the Chevrolet Malibu (GM’s direct Camry rival) flounders in no-man’s land from a sales standpoint. As such, a properly executed, next-gen Toyota Venza could deliver quite a gut punch to Chevrolet Blazer sales, which have been on the rise ever since the crossover’s launch in 2019.