2023 Toyota Venza vs. Rav4: Which One’s Best for Me?
Depending on what you want most in a vehicle determines which of these two Toyota SUVs is the best fit. If your primary driving is in the city and you’re looking to save the most money on fuel, then the Venza is a clear choice. It’s also pretty torquey with its internal combustion engine combined with the electric motor. However, if you’re looking for cheaper upfront costs on a tried-and-true SUV, the Rav4 starts at over $6,000 cheaper. Overall, it offers reliable power and good fuel economy.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for yet, keep reading. We will go through some of the major differences in each model. This will give you the information you need to decide between the two SUVs.
At a Glance
Let’s look at how these two SUVs stack up to each other.
Overview of the Toyota Venza:
At first glance, it’s possible to mistake the Venza for a Lexus due to its high-end options. With nice curves and a slick design, this SUV is a beauty. This is a significant upgrade from the first-generation Venza, which wasn’t much to behold. When Toyota re-released the Venza in 2021, they did so as a hybrid-only in North America. Because the release of this model is so recent, there are no significant changes for 2023.
Overall, the Venza offers an excellent mix of power and fuel economy on this hybrid. On the inside, it’s a typical two-row, five-seater. It has a reasonable amount of space for passengers, but its cargo capacity is nothing to write home about.
There is only one engine option for the Venza: the 2.5-liter hybrid engine. However, AWD is standard on all Venza trim levels. Between the internal combustion engine and the electrical motor, this SUV pushes out a respectable 219 horsepower. It has good power, but it also boasts a tremendous 40 mpg in city driving.
With a 36-month / 36,000-mile limited warranty and a 60-month / 60,000-mile powertrain warranty, Toyota measures up to the industry average. Plus, you can purchase a 120-month / 125,000-mile extended warranty if you’d feel better with a little extra. In addition to these warranty coverages, the hybrid components on the Venza have additional coverage. There is an eight-year / 100,000-mile warranty for most hybrid parts, except the battery, which has a 120-month / 150,000-mile coverage.
One thing that Toyota is known for is its commitment to safety. The Venza is no departure from that commitment. Standard features include the automated braking system, adaptive cruise control, and the lane-departure warning. There are also additional features that can be added to any trim level if you’d like.
- NHTSA overall safety rating: 5/5
Overview of the Rav4:
The Rav4 has been around for many years. This year, there are no significant changes. That may come across as a lack of innovation, but that might change if you think about it from a tried-and-true perspective. Toyota used the same engine as last year because it’s still a great engine. It has good power and decent fuel economy. All of this positions the Rav4 as an affordable and reliable SUV. Year after year, its great sales numbers prove that it’s still as popular as ever.
203 horsepower is nothing to shake a stick at. But if you’re looking for a vehicle that doesn’t act like there’s a hole in the fuel tank and gives you the power you need to pass on the highway, then the Rav4 is a solid contender. No, it doesn’t have a fancy turbocharged engine like many other SUVs on the market, but it’s doing just fine the way it is.
The Rav4 shares the same 36-month, 60-month, or 120-month extended warranty that the Venza has. That’s one big positive about Toyota’s warranty—they don’t offer preferential treatment regarding warranty just because a person buys a more or less expensive model or trim level.
Safety ratings have always been super important to Toyota. The Rav4 features many standard safety systems like lane-departure warnings, an automated braking system, and adaptive cruise control. Even in the base model, there are safety options you can add, like the rear cross-traffic alert or blind-spot monitoring system.
- NHTSA overall safety rating: 5/5
How Do These SUVs Stack Up?
When comparing two SUVs from the same brand, you might expect them to be so similar it’s hard to make a choice. But with these two, you won’t have that struggle because each has its obvious strengths that will cater to different people.
The Venza has more horsepower than the Rav4, and they have similar engines. But with the Venza, a significant portion of that power comes from the electric motor, which is not always active—it’s more for the fuel-economy aspect. In that way, the Rav4 is the clear winner with a reliable 203 horsepower all the time.
Due to its hybrid engine, the Venza blows the Rav4 out of the water by 13 mpg in the city. This is a massive difference in fuel economy ratings. Even with highway fuel mileage, the Venza is superior, albeit not by as much.
Even with the limited trim level and AWD, the Rav4 is the less expensive option between the two. The price difference narrows if you calculate the lifetime savings on fuel into the bargain, but this doesn’t change the fact that the Venza comes with a premium price tag.
Both SUVs share Toyota’s commitment to putting safety first. They both have many standard safety features, with even more options that any trim level can be equipped with from factory.
While both SUVs share a two-row, five-seat capacity, the Rav4 has a slight edge with a more spacious interior. The general interior is bigger, and it also has a larger storage area. This increase in size can be a big plus, especially for a growing family with kids or pets.
The old Venza wouldn’t have competed in any style competition. But when Toyota went back to the drawing board for this second-generation model, they succeeded in creating something beautiful. As we mentioned before, at a glance, this could easily be mistaken for Toyota’s premium brand: Lexus.
What the Users Say
Don’t take our word for it, though. We’ve researched what consumers are saying about these two SUVs. Check out a few of the common praises and complaints we’ve found.
- According to many different reviews, drivers trust the reliability of the Rav4.
- A common complaint of the Rav4 is its noisy engine, especially while passing on the highway.
- While no one is arguing the comfort of the Rav4, its overall lack of space compared to similar models is disappointing to some.
- According to Edmunds, one of the biggest pros drivers are giving the Venza is its incredible fuel economy.
- Many consumers are also praising the luxury-level quality of the Venza’s interior.
- While people may love to quality and design of the interior, a common complaint is how small the Venza is compared to just about every other comparable SUV on the market.
Related Read: Jeep vs. Toyota: Comparing Quality, Style, and Sales
When given a choice between the Venza or a Rav4, you won’t have a difficult choice as long as you know what you want. If price isn’t an issue and you’re not concerned about size, the Venza will give you a luxurious option with incredible fuel economy. However, if you want to save a significant amount of money upfront and stick with a more tried-and-true vehicle, the Rav4 is a better choice.
Both SUVs have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are also both produced by Toyota, a brand well known for delivering a quality automobile. So, either one is a great choice if it meets your particular needs.
Featured Image Credit: Toyota