, no less than 53,950 copies of the RAV4 have been sold in Europe (source: Car Sales Base), only ten thousand less than in the same period during the previous year. Without this little mishap called Covid-19, Toyota's compact SUV would have had every chance to cross the threshold of one hundred thousand copies in 2020. This would have allowed it to return to its level of distribution of 2008 and to make up for some of the damage caused to it by the extreme popularity of the Peugeot 3008 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. This rise in the rankings would incidentally offer the RAV4 the opportunity to beat down the cackles of its detractors, who blame it for its ungrateful physique.

The Toyota RAV4 takes the opposite of Raymond Loewy's adage that ugliness sells poorly

Ah! The tastes and the colors … After such a beautiful demonstration, who would still like to risk prejudge consumer choices ? Beauty not only remains a highly subjective notion, but in the order of the motivations for buying a car, body style comes after purchase price, economy of use and ease of resale.

If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon it would - If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon, it would be called Venza - ReutersSo what do responsible parents want these days if not a hybrid SUV? The Diesel MPV is now considered outdated, while hybridization is less scary when it is signed by global specialist in the genre, Toyota.

If Europeans appreciate the RAV4, it is less for its looks than for its Toyota hybrid powertrain

As remarkable as it is, the commercial success of the RAV4 would only be greater if its tormented plastic lost its stiffness to approach the canons of beauty. From a strictly technical point of view, the metamorphosis is possible: it's called Toyota Venza in the United States, aka Toyota Harrier in Japan.

1603441053 58 If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon it would - If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon, it would be called Venza - ReutersWe'll let everyone be the judge, but it seems to us that the Toyota Venza pictured above is more pleasing to the eye than its cousin, who critics say sports a face that only a mother could love. Pure wickedness or an expression of rejection of origami style abuse ?

Defenders of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid will retort that its qualities lie elsewhere. Unfortunately for him, his cousin Venza advances more or less the same arguments (sobriety, flexibility, discretion, reliability), since it is based on the same mechanical TNGA platform and it benefits from the same 2.5-liter petrol engine associated with three electric machines powered by a 0.9 kWh battery.

Toyota RAV4 and Toyota Venza, two bodies for a single hybrid vehicle

In the United States, the customer has the choice between the Toyota RAV4 and the Toyota Venza. Unfortunately for us, the latter is not imported into Europe. To our readers who would be tempted to cry scandal and denounce this inequality of treatment, we would point out that the Toyota Venza costs significantly more than the RAV4: between 3,000 and 6,000 dollars more, depending on the version. It's expensive to pay when you think about the small compromises that a sleeker body makes. Although it is a little longer, the Toyota Venza is less roomy due to its more elusive stern. And despite its more slender silhouette, it consumes a little more super per hundred kilometers.

1603441053 99 If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon it would - If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon, it would be called Venza - ReutersThe American trade press also criticizes the Toyota Venza for being incompatible with any form of coupling, while the RAV4 hybrid can tow up to 1,600 kilograms (braked trailer), while the Prius is limited to 725 kg. Question of dimensioning of the mechanical cooling system and the braking system (assisted by energy recovery).

In the USA, the Toyota Venza charges dearly for its dress distinct from that of its cousin RAV4

Despite these differences, Toyota shows itself uncomfortable selling his Venza in the USA. His attempt to position him halfway between the Highlander, the big brother of the RAV4 and the latter seems doomed to failure, due to the compactness of its measurements and the modesty of its performance. Toyota would be better inspired to try to present the very elegant Venza as the 4-door coupe version of the RAV4, in the manner of what BMW does with its X4 and X3.

1603441054 306 If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon it would - If the Toyota RAV4 were a beauty cannon, it would be called Venza - ReutersThis scenario gains in credibility when we consider that the plug-in version of the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid appears in France at a price that varies between 52,850 euros and 61,500 euros. This brings it to the borders of the territory of the BMW X3 plug-in hybrid xDrive30e which gives it a much more polished finish (two cars that will soon be the subject of a comparative test in the pages of Challenges.fr). However, nothing prevents imagining seeing the mechanics of the RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid arriving one day under the becoming body of the Toyota Venza.