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2022 Toyota Venza Limited Vs. RAV4

By GARY S. VASILASH – Transportation Editor, Gardner Business Media

In 1989 Toyota launched Lexus, originally in the U.S. only. The objective was to have a luxury marque added to the company’s portfolio. For example, for those for whom a fully loaded Camry wasn’t as featured as they’d prefer, there was the ES 250. This is not to say that the ES 250 was simply a Camry with more stuff, but that the platforms were shared and they were both sedans. The ES 250 was measurably and stylistically a different vehicle.

Which got me to thinking about the Toyota Venza.

The small crossover is built on the Toyota TNGA-K platform.

It is a hybrid—and only a hybrid—that produces a system horsepower of 219.

It has a 105.9-inch wheelbase; it is 186.6 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 65.9 inches high. It has a passenger volume of 98.3 cubic feet and cargo behind the second row of 28.8 cubic feet.

Not the RAV4

Now there is something that is similar in a Toyota showroom, the RAV4. And while the RAV4 is available with an ICE, there is also a hybrid (and a plug-in hybrid).

The RAV4 is based on the Toyota TNGA-K platform, too.

Its hybrid system produces a system horsepower of 219.

The wheelbase and width are the same as the Venza. It is shorter (180.9 inches) and a bit higher (67 inches).

It has a bit more in the way of passenger volume (0.6 cubic feet more) and quite a bit in cargo volume (37.5 cubic feet).

The thing is this:

The Venza, in exterior and interior styling and execution, is significantly different than the RAV4, and were the badges to be removed from the Venza I would think that I was in a. . .Lexus.

Very Nicely Executed

Yes, there is the Lexus NX, which is also TNGA-K. But we’re talking about someone going into a Toyota store.

Checking the price list, the RAV4 Hybrid Limited AWD, the top-of-the-line trim, has an MSRP of $38,075.

The Venza Limited AWD: $40,730.

So a difference of $2,655.

That’s not nothing, but the Venza “feels” far more upscale.

Clearly, given the cargo advantage that the RAV4 Hybrid has makes it more of a “utility” vehicle than the Venza. And the RAV4 styling—inside and out—are more about a truck-like vibe.

The problem that the Venza has—and I’d argue a problem not at all of its own making (and speaking of making, it is built in Toyota City)—is that it is comparatively invisible compared with the RAV4.

Through the third quarter of 2022 there were 124,153 RAV4 Hybrids sold in the U.S. and just 23,131 Venzas.

Some may vaguely recall that from MY 2009 to 2015 there was a vehicle that can be described as something that resembled a station wagon mashed up with a Ford Edge, the Toyota Venza. It was dropped because of apparent disinterest among those in the market.

However, were those in the market today to be more aware of the current generation Venza, I submit that it would be far more popular than it is.

The Toyota design and engineering teams have done their jobs. Now it is up to Toyota Marketing.