You can read the full preview of Toyota’s new Venza here, but in good conscious, I have to give you a head’s up.
Despite the Venza essentially being the spiritual successor to the 2001-2007 Toyota Highlander, (i.e. a Camry-based five-door crossover), in an effort to carve out some kind of room in the overcrowded CUV market, Toyota will spend a lot of time and money over the next year trying to convince you that its new crossover isn’t one.
Toyota likes to call it a “car plus.” Does the company really believe the public will not see the Venza for what it is?
If it quacks like a duck...
Of course, the Japanese automaker isn’t the first to try and convince new car buyers that a spade isn’t a shovel.
Audi likes to call its station wagons “Avants.” Suzuki and Dodge attempt to try and call their respective compact wagons, the SX4 and Caliber, "crossovers."
But BMW seems to be the most egregious abuser in warping automotive genre titles.
Like Audi, they think station wagon is a dirty word. Hence, they use the term “Touring.”
Then, about a decade ago, with the launch of the X5 (a 5 Series sedan-based crossover), BMW tagged it as a Sports Activity (not Utility!) Vehicle.
Whether or not any X5 owners ever bought into the Orwellian doublespeak, I have my doubts. Same as the X3 SAV, or the forthcoming X1 SAV that just debuted at last months' Paris auto show. Most owners, I would assume, would say they own a “BMW SUV.”
Now, we have the X6, right, recently entered in this year's COTY Prestige over $75k category. Arguably the best handling SUV this writer has ever driven, its a swoopy roofed, four-seat version of the X5 crossover that BMW likes to call a “Sports Activity Coupé.”
Let’s see: with four doors and a B-pillar, the X6 is about as much of a coupé as is Mercedes-Benz’s swoopy-roofed E class sedan CLS or VW’s CLS rip-off, the Passat CC.
And apparently, the naming insanity will continue.
Allegedly, BMW is planning on a tall sedan version of the X6 (very similar in nature to what Toyota is doing with the Venza) dubbed a "Progressive Activity Vehicle."
There’s still some hope. Last time I checked, BMW is still calling its 335i sedan, well, a sedan.
Do you buy into these name changes automakers like to foist on us?
Do you really call your Audi A4 station wagon an "Avant" to your friends?
How (with a straight face) will you explain you just bought a BMW Progessive Activity Vehicle to your water cooler office colleagues?