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Toyota Venza and A-BAT

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2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
By Mark Wheeler
Automotive giant claims to have created a new sector in the marketplace with the launch of its Venza crossover sedan.
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2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
Click image to enlarge
2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
Click image to enlarge
2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
2009 Toyota Venza Photo: Sean Frego
Click image to enlarge
Toyota A-BAT Concept Photo: Sean Frego
Toyota A-BAT Concept Photo: Sean Frego
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Toyota A-BAT Concept Photo: Sean Frego
Toyota A-BAT Concept Photo: Sean Frego

Toyota claimed it has created something “completely different” when it launched its new Venza to a packed hall in Detroit’s Cobo center.

 

Described as a crossover sedan, Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager Bob Carter said it is “most definitely a car” as opposed to an SUV.

 

“Our hope is that it will launch a new segment, not just join one. It is aimed at active baby boomers and young families who are looking to move up from a midsize sedan or down from a large SUV.”

 

The Venza originally began as the FT-SX concept unveiled three years ago in Detroit and was developed in North America exclusively for the North American market. But Carter said the car was developed when “we saw buyers sitting on the fence when it came to choosing between an SUV and a sedan.”

 

“On first look, it may seem that these two groups are from opposite ends of the spectrum. But they actually have a lot in common in their desire for a vehicle that will accommodate their families, their active lifestyles and their everyday errands.”

 

Design and Powertrain

Toyota designers have avoided the rugged edges and angles most commonly found in SUVs in favor of a sporty, low-profile, silhouette with plenty of room and flexibility inside.

 

When it goes on sale later this year, the five-passenger Venza will be offered with a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 generating 246-lb ft of torque and a 3,500-lb towing capacity—more than three times the towing power of the average sedan.

 

A more fuel-efficient option will also be offered in the shape of 2.7-liter four-cylinder powertrain. Both engines will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift.

 

The interior is spacious and airy but offers the driver and front passenger a slightly higher and more commanding view of the road than they would get in the average sedan, yet have easier access than offered by SUVs.

 

The rear has a lower cargo floor and optional power rear door for easy access and loading. The split rear seats fold flat to create a substantial and flexible load area.

 

Venza is the first car in the lineup to feature Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes stability control found in all the brand’s SUVs and the Tundra pickup truck. The crossover sedan also has active head rests and seven airbags. Options include a panoramic roof with separate glass panels for both rows of passengers.

 

A-BAT Concept

Also making its debut in Detroit was the A-BAT concept, a vehicle which signals a return to Toyota’s compact pickup roots. The A-BAT concept uses a four-cylinder, gas-hybrid powertrain for low emissions while providing modern versatility, roominess and style.

 

The vehicle is designed for a buyer group whose unique combination of lifestyle activities and vehicle needs requires a compact pickup offering good fuel economy, advanced functionality, maneuverability and unique styling in a durable package suitable for an active lifestyle.

 

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