Toyota Venza vs. Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - October 22, 2020

The Toyota Venza returns in a compact body with an efficient hybrid powertrain. It slots in between the compact Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and the midsize Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

The Highlander Hybrid is the largest hybrid offering in Toyota’s lineup, while the Venza is the most luxurious. If you’re in the market for a hybrid crossover, which option should you choose? That’s what we’ll explore in this comparison.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Toyota Venza & Toyota Highlander Hybrid »

What the Venza Gets Right

For shoppers on a budget, the Toyota Venza is the obvious choice. Pricing starts at $33,645 including destination, while the Highlander Hybrid starts at $39,585. The $5,940 difference will go a long way in fuel, or it can be used to upgrade to the midrange Venza XLE and still save $2,410 over the base Highlander Hybrid.

In addition to saving you money in the initial purchase, the Venza will also save you money at the gas pump. The Venza is rated by the EPA to get up to 39 miles per gallon combined, while the larger Highlander Hybrid has a 36 mpg combined rating. If you do a lot of driving in the city, you’ll see a large difference, as the Venza has a 40 mpg city rating with the Highlander Hybrid carrying a 36 mpg city rating.

While the Highlander Hybrid comes with front-wheel drive as standard, the Venza gets all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive on the Highlander Hybrid costs an additional $1,600.

What the Highlander Hybrid Gets Right

As the larger crossover, the midsize Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers seating for up to eight people, while the Venza can only carry five. If you’re in need of a three-row vehicle with a hybrid powertrain, the Highlander Hybrid is the only option of the two that will fit the bill.

In addition to offering a third row, the Highlander Hybrid also offers more interior space. You’ll also find more overall cargo space in the Highlander Hybrid. It can hold 84.3 cubic feet, which is 29.2 more than the Venza.

The Highlander Hybrid has a more powerful hybrid powertrain than the Venza. The Highlander Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a combined output of 243 horsepower. The Venza comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and three electric motors for a total of 219 hp.

The extra power gives the Highlander Hybrid a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Toyota doesn’t provide a towing capacity figure for the Venza.

Need Room for 8 Passengers?

The major difference between the Toyota Venza and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the number of available seats. The Venza only has five, while the Highlander Hybrid offers up to eight. For large families, the Highlander Hybrid is the only option of the two that can seat the entire family. If you’re fine with just five seats, the more affordable Venza is the better option.

Our Verdict: Toyota Venza

Not everybody needs a three-row midsize crossover. For the majority of consumers, the compact Toyota Venza that’s rated at up to 39 mpg combined is the better option. It’s more affordable and efficient, while coming with all-wheel drive and a similar list of standard features as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Venza »

Take a closer look at the Toyota Highlander Hybrid »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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