Originally Posted by mmarshall
I don't know what kind of wheels/tires they use on the Canadian versions, but one thing, IMO, that is impacting on U.S. Venza sales are the standard 19" and 20" wheels on the 4 and V6 versions. They are simply too large, too expensive to replace, too rough-riding, and too lacking in impact/pothole protection for widespread daily-driver use in a moderately-priced vehicle. Wide, low-profile tires like those can also also be somewhat deficient in winter traction, though, of course, the Venza's optional AWD helps with that.
Same sizes in Canada vs USA.
I suppose they could have put in a smaller wheel option for those who like their cars with small wheels with massive sidewalls.... er... yeah... I suppose they may exist.
It's ironic though. Toyota has often been picked on (car enthusiasts mostly) for being overly conservative with wheel sizes. The one time they get aggressive with their standard wheel sizes they get crap for it. Many of its competitors have as aggressive or more aggressive wheels and tires as part of extra options, which means you have to pay extra for it. Conversely, if you want a car with all the bells an whistles you're stuck with the big wheels anyway. And I don't see many owners with standard 20"s asking to downgrade the size. Most of them in fact like the fact the big wheels tell the world they got the "loaded" model. My sister (no enthusiast by any means) has a Volvo XC60 R-design and she loves the look of the 20"s which you can only get in the R-design.
The fact you see many Ford Edge's with tiny 18"s with balloon tires, is it because they want the thick sidewall or is it just they didn't pony up for the option package with 20"s? If the dealer offered no charge 20" how many more would you see? Quite a few more I would say.
Yes they're more expensive to replace but so are all the "nice" things on a car. "I dont' want HID's because if something goes wrong it's expensive to fix!!"
---said no-one ever. I don't think the small difference in ride quality would often deter someone from getting the loaded model with upsized rims if they like the look. As far as winter traction, if you live in a place with any significant snowfall then you should be running winter tires anyway, preferably on their own wheels. My sister has a set of 18" winters since she lives where there's LOTS of snow in winter.
Long story short, I don't think the wheels are the main reason for the Venza's lower sales in the US.
Here's a quick chart of the optional wheel sizes of some cars in this segment (all except the Venza are not standalone options but included as part of an option package) along with sidewall height comparison.