Toyota RAV4 VS Hyundai Venue
- Good safety gear
- Solid and dependable
- Roomy interior
- Poor media system
- Noisy diesel
- RAV4s are not cheap
- Ride and handling is lovely
- Big touchscreen in cheapest models
- Looks and drives better than the Accent
- Engine works hard on hills
- So does the automatic gearbox
- Steel wheels are nobody's friend
You can't stand still, even if you're often number one on a car buyer's list and your name is Toyota. Reputation is hard-won and easily lost, and the Japanese company hasn't dropped the ball on that score. Toyota's huge and often top-selling range of SUVs has cemented it's place in the Australian motoring landscape.
The evergreen RAV4 recently enjoyed an upgrade to its specification for the MY18 version. The vast bulk of the MY18 upgrade is to do with the inclusion of a comprehensive list of safety gear to keep it in the ring with the all-conquering CX-5. It hardly needed it - the RAV consistently outsells younger, cheaper rivals with the exception of the Mazda.
With prices up on most models and down on a couple, it's time for a thorough review of the RAV4 range.
Read More: Toyota RAV4 Reviews
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Hyundai’s Venue is a step up from the Accent. And we mean that both figuratively and literally - not only is the brand's newest SUV a taller vehicle than the entry-level hatchback it's essentially replacing, it is also a better vehicle in almost every way.
It's not all good news, though. With the Accent not long for this world, the Venue will form the new entry point to the Hyundai family. And with a starting price of $20k for this smallest of small SUVs, it's an entry point that is around $5k higher than it has been for years.
Which leaves us with one big question for this small SUV, then; is it worth it?
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
The RAV4 remains a dependable medium SUV with a spacious interior, excellent build quality and a good range of features and options. It's also an expensive option when compared like-for-like against its main rivals from Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai and even Volkswagen. None of them have the pedigree or reputation of the Toyota and that's clearly worth money. But some of them will throw in floor mats.
The best of the RAV4s has to be GXL 2.5 petrol AWD. It tows the most, has the best specification level and is the most competitively-priced.
The RAV4 is almost the default choice in the medium SUV market. Where does it come on your list?
With small SUVs still selling like high-riding hot cakes, there’s no doubt the Venue is the right car at the right time for Hyundai. It won't make up for all the sales lost by the Accent's demise, but those who do buy one will end up with a much better car for their money.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.
The segment in which the RAV4 plays is filled with stylish cars, so Toyota has brought a more interesting styling language for its mid-sizer's exterior design. While not aggressive-looking and there's nothing in the way of a body kit or sport edition, each model has a tiny rear spoiler. Racy it isn't, but there's a clear theme emerging on Toyota SUVs from the C-HR to the Kluger.
The different models are distinguished by wheel designs and a bit more chrome and metallic finishes on the exterior.
The RAV4 is a five-door SUV hardtop (no soft top - sorry folks), with a good wide rear tailgate for access to the cargo area.
You can add a bit of ruggedness with a roof rack or side steps from the dealer accessory list. Extras like a bull bar or nudge bar will require you to look further afield, the same for a snorkel, different rims, wheel arch extensions and more comprehensive tool kit.
Where is the Toyota RAV4 built? Our supply comes from Japan.
Let's start with the obvious; the Venue looks better and more modern than the Accent it essentially replaces, both inside and out.
How much better depends on how much you spend, of course (the steel wheels on the Go grate like a dentist drill in 2019) but it is a sharp-looking SUV no matter what you spend.
More a hatch on stilts than a genuine SUV, Hyundai has done well to hide its light-car credentials behind a wide, strong grille, lightly bulging wheel arches and standard roof rails, even on cheapest Go model. It gives the front-wheel-drive only Venue a kin of ready-for-anything look, even if that anything is unlikely to include anything more challenging than the ramp at your local shopping centre.
Inside, though, does hint more strongly at its position at the beginning of the Hyundai range, with cloth seats and manual air-conditioning (in all but the most expensive model), as well as a key you have to insert and turn to start the engine (remember that?).
As you expect at this price point, there is no shortage of hard plastics, but the design is clean and simple, and the huge touchscreen dials up the wow factor somewhat, as does the moulded dash element that doubles as a kind-of grab handle.
The RAV's interior dimensions are nothing to sneeze at. While size isn't everything in this segment, it certainly helps. Our interior photos illustrate a roomy cabin with good storage space for passengers and luggage capacity, with particularly good rear legroom.
The question of how many seats is easily answered - the RAV4 is a five-seater, there is no third row seat option. Passengers are well-looked after with places to put their things, with four cup holders, bottle holders in each door and on the GXL and Cruiser a decent sized front centre console. The glovebox easily swallows the owners manual.
The boot size is 550 litres. Dropping the seats obviously brings an increase in boot space dimensions and an increase in volume to 1760L. It's a big space once you remove the standard retractable cargo cover. If you trawl through the accessories list you can also add a rubber boot liner and cargo barrier and the roof is ripe for bike racks with roof rails on the GXL and Cruiser. You can have the dealer fit roof rails to the entry-level GX for a price.
It’s worth remembering that, while the Venue feels more substantial than the Accent it replaces, it is actually slightly shorter, and rides on a smaller wheelbase. So, it’s no behemoth. In fact, at 4040mm in length, 1170 in width and 1592mm in height, it is just 20mm longer than a Mazda2.
Inside, though, you’ll find the space on offer surprisingly generous. Front-seat riders can travel with no awkward shoulder rubbing, while in the back, there’s definitely room for two adults (well, as long as they’re my 175cm, that is), with enough clear air between your knees and the seat in front, and your head and the roof lining, to ensure you don’t feel overly claustrophobic.
That said, there aren’t much in the way of niceties for backseat riders to enjoy. The touchpoint are all trimmed in hard plastics, and there’s nary an air vent, charging point or cupholder to be found, even in the top-spec Elite model.
Price and features
There are three trim levels in the RAV4 range - GX, GXL and Cruiser - to which you can then choose fuel type, engine size and number of driven wheels.
How much is a Toyota RAV4? How big is the range? Does Toyota offer drive away pricing? Read on for the answers to these questions, with a price list, specification guide and model comparison from the bottom to the top of the range.
Common to all RAV4s is the 6.1-inch touchscreen which powers the multimedia and sound system, which includes DAB radio, CD player (but no CD changer or DVD player), six speakers (but no subwoofer) and basic smartphone integration via USB or Bluetooth, both iPhone and Android. It works, but the interface is very basic and only baby's fingers can accurately hit the tiny targets.
The media systems still doesn't feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but the GPS navigation system slightly cushions the blow of the sub-par infotainment.
The GX opens the range and is available with all three engines. Standard features include 17-inch steel wheels, automatic LED headlights (no HID, projector or xenons here), fog lamps, auto wipers, Bluetooth, remote central locking, reverse camera, front and rear parking sensors, active cruise control, push button start and daytime running lights.
There are five GXs: the 2.0 manual FWD at $29,450 (up $900) and the GX auto FWD at $31,490 (up $900), which is actually a CVT. Stepping up to the 2.5 auto will cost $34,490 (up $840) and is a proper auto. Another step is the 2.2-litre diesel, starting at $39,060 for the manual and finally the GX auto sells for $41,100 (both up a hefty $2350). More than $41,000 for a car with steel wheels strikes me as a little stiff.
The GXL picks up 18-inch alloy wheels (16 and 17 inch alloys wheels are not available), dual zone climate control (as opposed to the standard ac), smart key with keyless entry and start and privacy glass (a darker window tint on the rear windows).
You have a choice of three GXLs, all automatic - the 2.0 FWD CVT for $35,490 (up a modest $100), the 2.5 AWD is $38,490 (up an even more modest $40) and the 2.2 diesel AWD is $41,100 (again, a whopping $2350 increase).
The premium interior pack is available on the 2.0 GXL FWD and adds heated and power adjustable leather seats with two memory positions while maintaining all the good stuff from the rest of the range, including sat nav.
Step up to the Cruiser and you get what is effectively a GXL with the premium package on any of the available engine options plus different wheels, power tailgate and an 11-speaker JBL-branded stereo with MP3 compatibility. Available in just 2.5 petrol automatic for $44,490 (down $910) and 2.2 diesel for $50,500, the Cruiser escapes the MY18 diesel model price rises.
Toyota's website offers drive away pricing, but you'd be mad not to negotiate on those prices.
Not available are a panoramic sunroof, homelink, seat belt extender, heated steering wheel, or tonneau cover.
Across the range, you can choose from eight colours - Glacier White, Liquid Bronze, Hazel, Silver Sky, Graphite (a charcoal grey), Ink (very dark blue), Blue Gem and Atomic Rush (red).
If you pick the GXL or Cruiser, you have two more to choose from: Crystal Pearl (fancy white) and Peacock Black. Sadly, green is off the menu.
As there is a space-saver spare, Toyota does not supply a tyre repair kit. A steel full-size spare is available for $300, but won't match your alloy wheels if you have them.
The Venue might well start at a touch under twenty grand, but it still represents a sizeable step up from the cheapest Accent, which, as it enters its final months on sale, you can still pick up for around $15 grand.
Happily for Hyundai, the Venue is also a literal step up from the Accent, and so places the brand's newest and smallest SUV into one of Australia’s fastest-growing new vehicle segments. And while that won't make up for the Accent’s soon-to-be-missing sales volume entirely, it will go some way to filling the void.
The Venue arrives in three trim levels; the entry-grade Go, the mid-spec Active and the top-spec Elite.
By Hyundai’s own admission, not many people will land on the Go ($19,990 manual, $21,990 automatic), which does arrives with niceties like an 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto equipped, automatic headlights and cruise control, but also makes do with 15-inch steel wheels.
The step to the Active ($21,990 manual, $23,490 auto) is $1500, and it’s one Hyundai thinks most people will happily make. Doing so will earn you 15-inch alloys, LED DRLs, nicer leather interior treatments and a better six-speaker stereo.
Finally, the top-spec Elite ($25,490 auto only) adds navigation and digital radio, single-zone climate control and 17-inch alloy wheels, plus a more funky look courtesy of its contrasting two-tone roof.
Engine & trans
The range has three engine options and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains along with three gearbox types. Absent from the range are full EV, plug-in hybrid or LPG versions. Not all engines are available in all specification grades.
The two petrols are both four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engines and available with front wheel drive or AWD. There aren't that many turbo petrol options in this segment, so it's no surprise there isn't one in Toyota's line-up.
The 2.0-litre engine is available in manual or CVT and delivers 107kW and 187Nm. Its towing capacity is listed at 800kg for a braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.
If you want a bit more horsepower or just like a bigger engine size, the 2.5-litre engine is available only in AWD with the six-speed auto. The specifications sheet says it produces 132kW and 233Nm. The 2.5-litre's towing load capacity jumps by quite a lot, with a trailer ratings of 1500kg braked and unbraked at 750kg.
Finally, the 2.2-litre diesel knocks out 110kW and 340Nm. The diesel models are all-wheel drive only but are available in manual if you like a clutch, or a six-speed automatic for those lazy left-leggers out there.
The turbo-diesel, curiously, has less towing capability than the 2.5 petrol, with a 1200kg braked and 750kg unbraked rating. Usually the diesel vs petrol argument is settled on what you can drop on the tow bar, but not here.
Timing belt or chain? The diesel and petrol engines all have timing chains. Each RAV4's battery can be found under the bonnet but is easily accessible. Oil types differ by model, each with varying capacity.
It's a pretty straightforward engine line-up on offer in the Venue. And that’s mostly because there’s exactly one engine to choose from, no matter what you spend - a 1.6-litre petrol unit good for 90kW and 151Nm.
The Venue also gets a tricky traction system that, using throttle mapping and ESC settings, can be configures for mud, sand or snow. A true off-roader this front-wheel-drive SUV ain’t, but some light stuff should be possible.
As there are so many drivetrains from which to choose, fuel consumption is a big question.
Claimed fuel economy on the 2.0-litre petrol is rated at 7.7L/100km on the combined cycle, 8.5L/100km for the 2.5 and the diesel is good for 6.7L/100km. If you want to flip that around, you'll get about 13km/L for the 2.0, 11.76km/L for the 2.5 and just under 15km/L on the diesel.
The fuel tank capacity is 60 litres in all variants.
In our testing, the eco mode doesn't do a great deal for the mileage.
Happily, the Venue accepts cheaper 91RON fuel, and should sip around 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, regardless of transmission.
Emissions are pegged at 160g/km with the manual, and 165g/km with the automatic.
The Venue’s fuel tank will hold 45 litres.
The RAV4 is a classic Toyota - well-built, solidly engineered but not particularly exciting to drive. Let's get the complaints out of the way first, because there aren't many.
Road noise is a little higher than on most of the competition, the former owner of the noise crown being the old Mazda CX-5. While it isn't hugely noisy, it isn't as quiet as most of its competitors. The diesel is a bit clattery around town and when you accelerate for, say, an overtake, it really lets you know what kind of fuel it is drinking.
It also took me a while to find a driving position I liked and the electric power steering is a bit inconsistent and hard to read. Lastly, it's not a lightweight, either, with kerb weights between 1465kg and 1635kg and gross vehicle weight between 2000kg (GX manual) 2280kg (Cruiser diesel auto).
There, that's the worst of it out of the way. In every other way, the RAV4 is an agreeable machine. While not fitted with off road tyres, its off road capabiliity is better than most of its rivals. Part of that is down to the centre diff lock (activated with a button) and a fairly traditional sort of all-wheel drive system.
Toyota does not quote a wading depth so proceed with care should attempt a water crossing.
The suspension can handle a fair bit of punishment and puts the car high in the air, with a ground clearance figure of 197mm. Front suspension is McPherson struts and the rear trailing arm double wishbones with coil springs, which is fairly advanced but mighty good for on-road manners and ride quality. Live rear axle fans will have to look at the Fortuner.
The turning radius is reasonably tight, resulting in a turning circle of 10.6m
None of the models are known for its 0 100 acceleration or top speed performance, but obviously it's not that kind of car. The 2.0-litre in either manual, CVT (FWD) or auto (AWD) form is never going to set the world alight and if you want to tow even a modest load, it's not for you.
Stepping up to the 2.5 petrol fixes the towing issue and, bizarrely, tows the most of any of them. It's a refined, unstressed unit and when matched with the unfussy six-speed automatic, is probably the most relaxed - if not cheapest to run - of the RAVs.
The turbo-diesel is punchy and economical but, ultimately, it would probably come down to range requirements - you won't have to fill up as often in the diesel but it is also the most accomplished on the highway. As mentioned, it's a little noisy and its figures aren't earth-shattering when viewed in comparison with Hyundai, Mazda and Volkswagen.
What you make of the Venue largely depends on your, erm, venue. And yes, that is the kind of terrible pun that makes a dad joke seem like champagne comedy, but stick with me for a moment.
The Venue, you’d have to think, will be driven almost exclusively in Australia’s urban centres, and it’s here that it seriously shines. The engine is smooth and unobtrusive as you climb to city speeds, and the six-speed automatic shuffles through its gears with minimal fuss, too.
More good stuff? It’s quiet in the cabin, and the centre screen is not only big, clear and easy to use, but also makes the Venue a nicer, more modern-feeling place to spend time than the more basic-feeling Accent.
Some of the shine does start to wear off away from town, though, where the 1.6-litre engine’s 91kW need to be strong-armed into action, with flat-footed acceleration adding an unwelcome harshness to the drive experience.
Steep hills are a natural enemy of cars like these, too, and so expect the usually sorted automatic gearbox to jump from third gear to fourth, then back to third, as it tries to squeeze every last ounce of power from the engine. These are mere foibles, though, and in town you won’t even notice them.
The ride is sublime, even over sudden rough spots or mid-corner bumps. In fact, the steering and handling setup is so surprising that you will genuinely find yourself grinning on a twisting road, and longing for more power from that engine.
Short answer? The Venue is a step up from the Accent in more than just its ride height.
The recent MY18 update brought with it a stack of safety features in additional to the seven airbags, ABS, stability control (VSC), traction control and brake assist.
All RAVs now come with Toyota Safety Sense which includes a basic lane assist technology in the form of lane departure warning. Safety Sense also adds auto high beam, forward collision warning and auto emergency braking (AEB).
The RAV4 GXL and Cruiser variants pick up a blind spot monitor system.
As far as park assist technology goes, you have reverse cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors depending on the model.
Your baby car seat can be fitted using the three top-tether anchor points or two ISOFIX points.
The RAV carries a five star ANCAP safety rating, the highest available.
Stepping up to the Active, however, adds rear parking sensors, while shelling out for the Elite buys you blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The Venue is yet to be officially crash tested, but Hyundai says it expects a four-star result, owing to the lack of radar-based safety systems.
Toyota offers a standard three year/100,000km warranty, which will give you peace of mind should any problems or issues arise. Toyotas enjoy high reliability ratings and the RAV4 is no different, but should any defects or problems arise, the dealer network is extensive. An extended warranty is also available from dealers.
As for servicing, service cost is dependent on the model and capped price servicing is available, including labour, oil, fluids and some parts. Service intervals come in at six months or 10,000km. Servicing for the petrol-engined cars is capped at $180 per service and for the diesel at $240 per service.
Toyota offers a service called Express Maintenance at some dealers, which puts your car at the front of the queue to get it done while you wait.
Resale value is strong, with few common faults reported in the usual places. Occasional transmission issues or automatic transmission problems have been reported, but generally in older models before 2010. The same goes for power steering issues, but again, these appear on earlier versions of the car. A second hand RAV4 is rarely a bad buy when properly looked after and serviced.
It's the full five-year, unlimited-kilometre Hyundai treatment here, with service intervals pegged at 12 months or 15,000 kilometres.
Hyundai’s capped-price servicing program prices the first five services at $259, $259, $339, $459 and $259, for a total $1575 over the warranty period.