Anyone waiting to see if the 2024 Toyota Venza would spring a surprise to justify pulling the trigger on a purchase can keep waiting. The only changes to the luxurious take on a RAV4 are Integrated Streaming, which provides native connection between the infotainment system and the Apple Music and Amazon Music apps, and a $300 price bump across the board. Here are the MSRPs after the $1,395 destination fee:
Every Venza hides a hybrid, all-wheel-drive powertrain. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder gets help from three electric motors, good for combined output of 219 horsepower. The spec doesn’t do much for performance, but does pay dividends with fuel economy, the EPA rating the Venza at 40 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg on the highway and 39 mpg combined, pretty nifty for a midsize five-seater crossover.
It’s not clear those figures are doing much to sway buyers, though. Dealers sold 61,988 units in the U.S. in 2021, the Venza’s first full year on sale after its 2020 return. In 2022, admittedly a difficult year for the Japanese automaker thanks to parts shortages, dealers sold just 33,683 units. As of the end of Q3 this year, the Venza’s moved 22,087 units, down 4.5% compared to the first three quarters of last year’s depressed sales. The first-gen Venza sold 29,991 units in the U.S. in its last full year of production, 21,351 units for its last model year that entailed only six months of production.
It’s possible Toyota’s still juggling parts and diverting everything to the mechanically identical RAV4. Nevertheless, placed against the competition, the Venza’s being narrowly outsold by the nine-year-old Nissan Murano, clearly outpaced by the Honda Passport, trounced by the Chevrolet Blazer and left for dead by the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, none of which can touch the Venza’s fuel economy. It’s possible the Venza could rally if Toyota decided to bring over the plug-in hybrid powertrain fitted to its Japanese version, the Harrier. The PHEV makes a combined output of 302 horsepower. Or, the Venza might just be too modest, too mellow and a little too pricey to stand out among a lineup of 25 hybrids, PHEVs and EVs across the Toyota and Lexus brands.