Fancy something bigger and more expensive than the Rav4 but can’t quite afford the full Lexus experience? Then the Toyota Venza XU80 is the delayed answer to your hopes and dreams.

Mostly because the Toyota Venza XU80 is not quite related to the first Venza, and it was launched some 3 years after the retirement of the original and they’ve got about as much in common as american beer has in common with alcohol. I mean they’re both Toyota but that’s about it. 


So what’s so radically different from the previous Venza?

This Venza is basically the North American version of the japanese Toyota Harrier, only that here it comes in the full course Meat Tornado trim. It comes only as an all-wheel drive hybrid and with an extensive options list. And it’s no longer built in Kentucky, now it’s being built in Japan alongside it’s sister Harrier or should I say mother because the Venza is a derivative of the Harrier.

It’s been downgraded a class, as it now slots in between the Rav4 and the Lexus NX with whom it shares it’s platform, whereas the Venza AV10 was built on the shared platform with the Highlander and the RX. But you won’t be crying out too loud because of the reduced dimensions and interior space, as it’s just a few inches smaller so it’s still quite big. But then again, a few inches can make the difference between victory and pulling up your pants and leaving in shame.


Toyota Venza XU80 front almostcarreviews

Toyota Venza XU80 Engines


2.5 A25A-FXS petrol hybrid of 220 horsepower combined – A new engine for new times, and this A25A engine really is a brand new engine and Toyota really played most if not all of it’s cards on this engine. In theory it should last up until 200,000 miles with no specific issues but you do have to note that this engine is packed with electronics and sensors and it’s really complex so expect that in the mid-long term for electronics to start failing. As for the engine itself, it’s a modified petrol engine to run on Atkinson cycle so it sacrifices power for fuel economy so keep it in mind that you won’t be smoking anybody at the lights in your Venza. As for the hybrid batteries, Toyota offers a 10 year warranty on them and you can refurbish them afterwards (just replace the battery cells, without actually buying a new battery) but any rate the oldest of Venzas will have their batteries out of warranty in 2030, long after civilisation will finally come to an end at the spaghetti hands of our Lord.


Toyota Venza XU80 side almostcarreviews

Toyota Venza XU80 Reliability Issues

  • The cargo space in the boot is more on the Lexus NX side of things and it’s not the most spacious car available on the market. But if you don’t need to haul around the Las Vegas Sphere, then you’re alright with a Venza.
  • And even if you wanted to haul around the Las Vegas Sphere, you couldn’t because it’s not a work horse and its not trail rated. It’s a fashion accesory on wheels, not a old school Toyota.
  • Not the best infotainment system around, not until the 2022 update. Until then you have to use an old Commodore 64 to navigate around.


Toyota Venza XU80 rear almostcarreviews

Toyota Venza XU80 Verdict

So if you want something more expensive than an Rav4 but you can’t quite afford the whole Lexus NX meal, then the Venza is the best choice. And given that it’s sensibly cheaper than the NX, I don’t really see why would you go for the Lexus, and neither did the market, as the Venza is a huge succes. And yes, it is worth the premium over the Rav4 as it doesn’t have the soundproofing and assembly issues, if you do care about these sort of things. Toyota Venza XU80 – the perfect recipe for today’s world. It’s compact, it’s all wheel drive, it’s a hybrid, it’s a Toyota, it’s reliable, it’s well finished. We probably shouldn’t be driving anything else.


Which engines I recommend? Well there’s only the 4 cylinder 2.5 litre hybrid available and Toyota North America was right to bring only this engine as it’s an adequate piece of kit and it gives it a reason to feel more upmarket than the Rav4.