Released at a time when crossovers were just coming into popularity, the Venza was marketed as a new type of car. The design was not meant to compete with the already popular RAV4, but to cultivate its own place in the market. The performance of the Venza was panned by critics, and the car was also knocked for its styling. The initial sales of the Venza were poor and the car never seemed to catch on with consumers (via Auto Evolution).
Ironically enough, this incarnation of the Venza was discontinued, but Toyota has since reintroduced the model. Time will tell if the Venza will ever catch on with Toyota buyers. The styling of the original model and the features were just too bland to ever make the car a serious enough contender.