An old nameplate could be revived.
There's no question the crossover market is extremely hot right now. Automakers are anxious to cash in and one smart way of doing so is to offer something for everyone. More specifically, sizing. For example, Honda just revived the Passport nameplate as a smaller, though still a midsize alternative to the Pilot. Both ride on the same platform, but the Passport is a five-seater whereas the Pilot can accommodate up to eight passengers thanks to a third row. For its part, Chevrolet just brought back the Blazer. Toyota? There's the RAV4 and Highlander, but nothing in between. Perhaps not for much longer.
Motor Illustrated is claiming a French Canadian publication has been informed Toyota is planning to revive the Venza and it could arrive as soon as 2021. We also reached out to Toyota seeking comment but a spokesperson refused to do so at this time.
The Venza, a midsize five-passenger crossover with station wagon-ish styling, launched back in 2008 and was discontinued in 2017, lasting only one generation. Though updated throughout its life cycle and earning high praise for its overall build quality, the US-built Venza never really caught on. In many ways, it served as the successor to the discontinued Camry wagon. The Venza was also built on the same platform underpinning both the then-current Camry sedan and Highlander.
If this rumor proves accurate, we expect the reborn Venza to feature more SUV-like styling this time around. All-wheel drive would also surely be an option. This same report also claims Toyota will launch a plug-in RAV4 hybrid in the near future as well. Ford is currently prepping an Escape PHEV and Mitsubishi already sells the Outlander PHEV, and Toyota, it would seem, does not want to miss out on this expanding powertrain option.
It would seem, at least first, that Toyota's crossover lineup could become crowded if both these rumors are true but, as we noted above, automakers want to cover all of their bases. Those seeking a specific crossover size and/or powertrain may or may not be brand loyal. Although Toyota customers are some of the most loyal bunch out there, they may be willing to shop elsewhere for their next crossover if the competition has something Toyota doesn't. It's a risk Toyota might not want to take.