Hybrids & Electrics

The 2021 Toyota Venza Is Basically a Smaller But More Expensive RAV4 Hybrid

Toyota often dominates with top contenders in each vehicle class. The midsize SUV segment is certainly no exception. Competing with the likes of the Honda Passport, the Chevy Blazer, and the Ford Edge, the RAV4 Hybrid is already a popular choice among consumers. But for 2021, Toyota is also offering the hybrid-only Venza, yet another midsize SUV. In a way, it’s competing with itself. So what makes the Toyota Venza stand apart from the RAV4 Hybrid? Not much is different at all. Some critics say the Venza is a smaller and more expensive version of its RAV4 cousin.

They hybrid-only 2021 Toyota Venza is quite the looker

Most reviews will suggest that the 2021 Venza is Toyota’s attempt at creating a viable luxury contender in the space. And for the most part, the engineers get it right. The Venza looks upscale and classier than others in its class. It has a simple exterior design with clean lines and a refined appearance. The trim levels allow buyers to scale up even more, with interior touchpoints and amenities. You can choose between three Venza trims including the LE, XLE, and Limited.

An apples-to-apples look at the Toyota Venza and RAV4 Hybrid

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When lining up the specs on both the Toyota Venza and the RAV4 Hybrid, one thing is clear. The similarities far outweigh the differences, according to Car and Driver. For starters, most of the powertrain is the same, and both SUVs are built on the same platform. The dimensions vary slightly, but the wheelbase for both is the same. The Venza is technically more prominent but offers less usable space inside, according to some reviews.

Both Toyota crossovers have the all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain that uses two motor generators with the 2.5-liter inline-four. They both are capable of 219 hp. In most ways, the hybrid-only Venza and the RAV4 Hybrid are the same vehicle.

The 2021 Toyota Venza’s advantages

There are a few distinguishing factors that help separate the Toyota Venza from its RAV4 relative. The panoramic sunroof is electrochromic, for example, bringing some magnificent views and tech for an extra $1,400. Touching a button can change the glass from clear for nighttime passenger stargazing. And it can switch back to a translucent texture for the scorching summer sun on long drives.

Many of the critics do admit that overall, the 2021 Toyota Venza is a stylish gem, and Toyota has designed a fine luxury crossover.

Which SUV offers the better value?

When it comes time to making your personal decision and buying your next midsize SUV, it may boil down to value. The 2021 Toyota Venza, with its luxurious take on the RAV4, comes with an equally upscale price tag. Pricing is expected to start at $32,000 and climb substantially based on the various trim levels, upwards of $43,000.

Considering you can get much of the same vehicle, including safety equipment, hybrid variations, and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 for less with the RAV4 Hybrid, it may be clear which is the better buy. They 2021 RAV4 price range begins at $28,350 for the base model and up to $36,880 for the Limited trim.

Toyota consistently does well when introducing new vehicles and refreshing generational designs. However, some critics are wondering why the automaker didn’t instead launch a luxury crossover in the large SUV class. Introducing a second option within the same midsize segment means Toyota is essentially competing with itself.

But the 2021 Venza does have its own style and feels more upscale. In the end, it’s hard to say if one vehicle is actually better than the other. The SUVs may be similar, but personal preferences will help you decide which Toyota you like best.