Why Is the Toyota Venza the Perfect Lexus NX Alternative?

We get it, the Lexus badge will impress the neighbors. But, for the rest of us, a Toyota badge is just fine, especially if we can be coddled in the same heated seats and get the same safety features as a Lexus. The 2022 Toyota Venza fits that bill, as it’s a Toyota RAV4 in a Vera Wang dress. The Venza stacks up well against the similar Lexus NX 350h AWD, for almost $10,000 less, and maybe it should be on your list.

They’re both hybrids, and use the same platform

2022 Toyota Venza in red
2022 Toyota Venza | Toyota

The 2022 Toyota Venza comes only as an all-wheel drive hybrid SUV. After an absence of several years, the name returned with the new Venza for the 2021 model year. The second generation of the NX came out for 2022 with updated styling. The NX crossover SUV comes in several trim levels, and in this case, we’re looking at the comparable NX 350h AWD, which has a similar power output from its hybrid engine as the Venza. Of course, you can order a front-wheel-drive NX 250 and a much more powerful NX 450h, and F Sport handling packages, too.

The RAV4 platform seems to be useful for Toyota because it uses it on the Venza, the RAV4 and the Lexus NX.

The Venza has (slightly) more interior room

2022 Venza with rear seats folded
Toyota Venza cargo area | Toyota

Both of these SUVs seat five comfortably and coddle occupants in leather. However, the Venza is bigger on the outside, and that space equates to 55.1 cubic feet of luggage when the seats are folded. The NX, however, which is only three inches shorter, can only hold just 46.9 cubic feet. You can blame the Lexus’s rakish, sporty, styling for the deficit. All of the other interior dimensions, like hip room or leg room, are within an inch or so of each other.

The NX 350h has more power than the Venza, but not by much

The Lexus has a similar motor and hybrid system; both use a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor in the back to give them all-wheel drive. In the NX 350h’s case, you get 240 total horsepower, while the Venza makes just 219.

Though the Lexus may be a bit quicker, it still manages to an EPA fuel economy rating of 39 mpg in town, or 41 on the highway. The Venza gets 39 mpg in town and 40 on the highway. One thing that helps both of these SUVs achieve such high fuel economy numbers is their stepless, or CVT, transmissions.

The Venza interior comes close to Lexus spec

A 2022 Lexus NX luxury compact SUV model parked outside a luxury home with a wooden garage
2022 Lexus NX 350 | Lexus

The Venza has a more purposeful interior than the sporty feeling NX’s. The Venza’s dual-cockpit dash gives away its Japanese origins with a setup that is designed to be made in either right-hand or left-hand drive versions. It has a pair of grab handles in the center, and nice soft-touch materials on the dash, doors, and console. You also get several cool options like an 8.0-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, and leather trim standard. If you step up to the XLE or Limited versions you can get navigation-based cruise control, a heads-up display and more.

With the NX’s interior Lexus took a few more chances than Toyota. It has a large touchscreen panel that is aimed at the driver, a large push-button start, and very cool contrasting color leather. Everything is aimed at driver comfort, while the passenger is greeted by a nice, but plain, glovebox.

A fully-optioned Venza costs less than a base NX 350h

2022 Venza Limited interior
Toyota Venza Limited interior | Toyota

The NX comes in six flavors, from the NX 250 to the hot NX 450h+ F Sport Handing AWD version. The base 450h starts at $42,700, but, if you want some luxury options, prepare to pay. The $3,050 Premium Package adds heated and ventilated seats, a moon roof, a hands-free tailgate and more. The Luxury Package at $6,150 adds rain-sensing wipers, larger wheels, a heads up display and more.

The Venza, however, with many similar options, could be a winner for many buyers because it starts at just $33,240. It comes in three trim levels and the XLE version starts at $36,775. The top-of-the-line Limited version is the one that most will compare to the NX. The Limited includes several options that the Lexus doesn’t even offer, including a bird’s-eye-view camera. It comes with heated, ventilated power seats, a heated steering wheel, and nearly every surface is trimmed in leather or SofTex.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why the Toyota Venza Is the Perfect RAV4 Hybrid Alternative