The Toyota Venza is back after a short break, and it comes with some striking styling ripped from the Japanese domestic market’s Toyota Harrier crossover.
Hey, it’s something.
I didn’t mind the first Venza, which I always agreed with for being one of the more aggressively wagon-shaped crossovers, though some believe that led to its demise. Toyota canned it for a few years after the first generation went out of production in 2015.
But it’s back to try to fill a mid-sized gap in Toyota’s crossover lineup again, but this time it’s an imported version of the Toyota Harrier, however the Venza will only be sold in the U.S. with the Harrier’s available hybrid powertrain.
Here’s what the Harrier looks like:
I swear it’s different.
That’s a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with three electric motors for a total claimed 219 horsepower. The electric motors at the wheels allow for improved all-wheel drive efficiency, sending up to 80 percent of the vehicle’s torque to the rear wheels in wet conditions.
The lineup will include an LE on 18-inch wheels, or the XLE and Limited on 19-inchers. But it’s the base LE trim that Toyota claims should achieve their own estimated 40 combined MPG, though we’ll wait to see what the EPA thinks.
Toyota has yet to report EV-only range figures and, while it’s likely not a huge number, the Venza will be capable of driving short distances on EV power alone. The automaker also didn’t release a torque figure yet, but there is a “Sport” mode that’s supposed to sharpen throttle response alongside “Normal” and “Eco,” so that’s nice.
If at this point you’re wondering, “what the hell is he talking about, this is clearly a Lexus,” well friend, we can both be right. Not only does this vehicle share many components with the Lexus RX because they share a platform, but when the JDM Harrier was introduced, it was a clear effort to appropriate some of the luxurious Lexus image onto Toyota’s cars. That’s now come full circle with a Venza that looks like a Lexus.