The Toyota Venza seems to get lost in the shuffle. It’s a five-seat hybrid, like the RAV4, but it’s a bit more stylish, like a Lexus. The Venza packs in a lot of value and luxury, including standard all-wheel drive, for $33,240. But when it comes to actually buying one, it’s out-sold by many of its small SUV rivals from Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai. Maybe the Venza deserves a second look?
The Venza is a RAV4 in a fancy suit
2022 Toyota Venza | Bing Guan, Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Venza is built on the RAV4 Hybrid’s platform. That means it gets all-wheel drive standard and all of the safety features of the RAV4. But, where the RAV4 is purposeful, the Venza brings Hugo Boss style, including two-tone leather, a larger screen, and much more for just a few thousand dollars more. The Venza starts at $33,240. The RAV4 is the best-selling small SUV today according to Business Insider, but the Venza doesn’t yet have the same following.
The 2022 Nissan Murano is shockingly similar
2023 Nissan Murano | Nissan Motor Corporation
The Murano is a stylish, highway-biased, five-seat SUV, with a strong V6. In fact, its price is just $420 less than the Venza’s for that a very similar capability. But, for that extra $420 the Venza packs in a nifty Hybrid powertrain with all-wheel drive, newer styling and a super-cool electrochromatic panoramic sunroof.
The Murano is slated for an update soon, and if it gets Nissan’s popular Australian E-Power hybrid engine, it could soon become a more competitive rival to the Venza. The Murano starts at $33,660.
Chevy’s Blazer is stylish, but also not a hybrid
2023 Chevrolet Blazer RS | Creative Commons
Chevy’s Blazer cuts a stylish streak, too, with modern two-tone paint that lowers it visually and modern tech after its 2023 facelift. It comes in several trims from the basic LT to the luxurious Premier. Blazers can be ordered with hands-free liftgate, a 10-inch screen, adaptive cruise control, leather and more. The base LT version comes with a 228-horesepower turbocharged four-cylinder, however the street-focused RS and other versions can get the 3.6-liter 308-horsepower V6 that makes this SUV considerably quicker than the Venza.
The Blazer is about the same price, starting at $33,400. All-wheel drive, which is standard on the Venza, is a $2,700 option on the Blaze, however there’s no hybrid option. The Blazer is about the same size, but holds slightly less in the back. Venza holds 69.8 cubic feet of cargo space, while the Blazer holds a maximum of 64.2 cubic feet of luggage.
Honda CR-V got a big update for 2023
Honda redesigned the CR-V completely for 2023 and it likely had the regular RAV4, not the Venza, in its sights. The new design updated the aging CR-V quite a bit and added a fresh dose of styling to the segment. As such, the CR-V starts at $31,110 and that price reflects it lack of luxury, like the two-tone leather that’s available in the Venza.
This five-seat SUV can be ordered as a hybrid, though the all-wheel drive version starts at $34,000 in Sport trim. The CR-V’s hybrid gets rated at 43 mpg in the city, while the Venza is rated at 40 mpg in the city.
Hyundai Tucson competes with a plug-in hybrid version
Shimmering Silver 2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai
For about the same price as a Venza, the Hyundai Tucson Plug-in Hybrid provides a lot of the utility and style of the Venza, but with plug-in tech. With the Tucson PHEV, you get all-wheel drive standard, up to 35 mpg combined, and the ability to travel up to 33 miles on all-electric power. The Venza, though, does have an EV option that allows you to travel up tofive miles in all EV power.
Like the Venza, the Tucson PHEV also offers a large screen, and several driver’s aids. However, to get the nicer leather and trims that rival the Venza’s higher trims, you will need to step up to the Limited trim, which with options can cost $45,000.