Turo Rental: 2022 Toyota Sienna Hybrid

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So, I have decided to get rental Sienna over the weekend to see whether we want to buy this car or not. I already ordered it, on the waiting list, and apparently, at best, it should be delivered next August. Oh well.
However, in the last month, Honda announced a new, much bigger Pilot, and Toyota just started to tease with photos of the Grand Highlander. So, the question became, should we go again with a minivan (I sold my 2015 Sienna Limited in May and got some really good cash for a car that needed suspension work and a liftgate).

So, I started to look at Turo to see if anyone is renting a Sienna in Colorado Springs. This weekend we were going to Denver for kids to see some Christmas lights shows, etc. so I was thinking good opportunity to get some mixed driving, see that mpg, rack up some miles and check comfort etc.
Found a 2022 Sienna XSE AWD with 23,270 miles on it. Inside still smells brand new (or it could be that softex on the seats), clean etc.

So, here are my impressions:

REALLY GOOD:
1. Mpg!!! There is no any way around this, but mpg in this car is amazing once you take into consideration the fact it is seven seater that weighs 4,700lbs. After almost 300 miles, I am averaging 32.5mpg. On the way to Denver, once I hit downtown, I got 36.7mpg, and I do not drop below 85mph on hwy. Though, I lose altitude in that direction. Once I got home last night, I was averaging 33.7mpg. This is definitely BIG, BIG deal IMO, for anyone who wants a family vehicle.

IMG_0996.jpg



2. I am going to mention this, although it is kind of given with minivan: SPACE!
It has ample space, as expected. Though, it looks like that trunk got a bit narrower than in the previous generation. But that is me eyeballing. One thing to notice is two "shocks" that pull the liftgate down or up. Previous Sienna had huge issues with the liftgate. It had only one shock and the motor would get damaged if it was pushed down with a hand. However, the hinges seem the same as before. And that is where I got damage when the liftgate, while opening, hit the bike rack that one of the kids pushed back. I managed to "fix" the issue for $300, meaning it would not leak water in, but it did not close properly, and it required new hinges and a liftgate ($3,400). So, not sure they did anything there, but there is some improvement.

Trunk.jpg


Second row space.jpg


HUGE improvement, in my opinion: spare tire! Previous AWD did not have spare. It was coming with RFT. The problem was a. in the West, you really do not want to be dependent on RFT, especially if you do long road trips as we do. b. Toyota put RFT on AWD but did not change anything on the suspension to limit NVH. So it was like four bricks on wheels. Now, they actually put spare and in a really convenient spot. Kudos to Toyota for this:

Sienna spare.jpg


Another "really good thing: suspension, particularly XSE. If this was another trim, I would give it "good," but in XSE, well, German technology comes to play :ROFLMAO: , Bilstein in particular. First, the new Sienna has an independent suspension in the back. Big, big deal as old one felt like my wife would say (she is from Chicago): like I am all over again riding in CTA. This is much more polished. I felt that the first time I tried the LE version. But XSE with Bilstein shocks keeps Sienna really pinned down. There are some testimonies that XSE with 20" wheels is really harsh. It could be, but this one had 18", and it is just right! A really good compromise between stiff suspension and comfort.

GOOD:

Ok, now JUST the good stuff. The front cabin is nice. Some issues, but nice.
First, there are 4 cup holders right there. The big deal with small kids on a road trip. Big compartment between the front seats that can fit even 13" laptop. Bunch of USB's, apple car play etc. Big improvement is that this time, they put buttons in nice order. In the old one, I never figured out where is what. All buttons were all over the place. But they are far away. I am 6.2, and I keep my seat back. Not a big deal, but I have to lean forward to increase temperature etc. I am missing an inch to reach buttons without leaning:
Far away buttons.jpg


The vehicle has all the safety gadgets. Unlike the old one, this one has a lane departure warning, and it is BIG thing considering there is absolutely no feedback from the steering. In previous Sienna, my kid would vomit, throw something etc. I would turn around, and well, it is Toyota; the car would lose direction fairly fast without me sensing on the steering wheel that it is doing so.

DOES NOT SMELL NICE, BUT IT DOES NOT STINK

This is the part where things are: well, whatever:
1. Power. Power is adequate. It is not an old V6, but it moves (though V6 was not some kind of performance engine). You kind of get over it when you look at mpg. It does struggle to keep 85-90mph on an incline which there are plenty of them here in CO.
2. It is not the quietest car on the road when it comes to wind noise, but whatever. Not a big deal.
3. No memory seats. For $47,000 it is a bit ridiculous, but whatever.
4. Lights are a big improvement over two candles I had in the previous Sienna. Those H11's were horrid. H9 that I modified helped, but nothing spectacular.
These are LED's, but they ain't HiD. They are not bright where they should be, but are bright on the left where other traffic is (one would expect on the right to see pedestrians). Improvement, but still mediocre.

BAD

OK, the bad part.
1. Drone! This is one of those things where Toyota simply does not care bcs. they will sell vehicles. All those things we hate about CVT are obvious here. When you need a bit of power, which is always here in CO when you climb, the noise, the droning of an engine! It is actually an achievement. It is kind of like someone said while they were developing a vehicle: Hey, it is not annoying enough; let's figure out if we can make it worse. You look at mpg and kind of get in a better mood, but I am skeptical would that work on I70 going uphill for so long at 9% incline? Take into consideration that, apparently, this is not as big an issue in Highlander with the same powertrain. Probably that is why HL in some versions is heavier than Siennaas it has more insulation.
2. Seats. OK, I was thinking should I put this in "bad" or "really bad." The seats are short. There is no way around that. I had a feeling I was hanging off the seats all the time. So I had to measure them. They are 18" long from back support to end. For comparison, our Tiguan has seats 19.5" long, and my BMW is 22" long without extension and 23.5" long with extension. Also, back support is 2" shorter than in Tiguan. It is astonishing that such a vehicle, designed for road trips etc. has such small seats. In my previous SIenna, seats were also short, but not like this. Improvement is that now the upper part of my back is supported. Previous SIenna did not support my upper part at all. If I leaned back to have a seat support the upper part of my back, I would be looking at the ceiling. Still, the seats are IMO, just awful.
Seats.jpg


4. Softex. The material on the seats is softex. Apparently super easy to clean. But other manufacturers have it, and actually, you do not sweat sitting in them.
5. Heating. I was hoping they improved the heating. The previous Sienna was so bad that I installed a block heater, although the car was garaged in an insulated garage. Still, it takes forever to get any heat out of the vents in the new ones too.
6. Shifter position. This is where it becomes obvious that the people who designed this vehicle are not driving enthusiasts. The shifter is far away and to reach it, one has to lean forward. Why is it important, at least to me? Well, I like to downshift. Although it is CVT, it does actually slows down vehicle going downhill. Considering how crappy the brake rotors are on Toyota, I like to use the engine as much as possible going downhill, especially here. But, it is really hard to reach it unless leaning forward.
Reaching toward shifter..jpg




THE REALLY, REALLY BAD.

OK, this is the part that made us decide to drop Sienna from consideration. This might not be an issue for some, actually, but for me, it is a dealbreaker:

1. Clearance. It is LOW! It is actually much lower than the previous one. I guess they lowered it for aerodynamic purposes. Not a problem on pavement, but we do a lot of outdoorsy stuff. In summer, we bike a lot and go to national parks. We had that issue with the previous SIenna when we could not access caves in Escalante, UT. But this is pushing it. Here is a comparison to my BMW:
Sienna BMW comparison.jpg


2. Mirrors:
OK, this is part that I cannot wrap my mind around. It is a BIG vehicle. It is a wide vehicle, but yet, you cannot fold mirrors by pressing a button. Seriously? $47k MSRP, and nope, it does not have a button that my 2011 Tiguan or BMW do.
So, I have three car garage, and I can only fit this long vehicle in 3rd stall, which has one car door. So, how does that looks?
This is the right side. You cannot see properly, but if I kept going, I would hit mirror:
Right side.jpg


This is the left side. Now, I could go more to the left and close mirror through the window. But then, I am too close to the wall and cannot get out.
Left side.jpg


There is no way I am getting out of the car, folding mirrors manually, just to park it. Old Limited had electronically folding mirrors, and the Limited and Platinum versions of this SIenna have too, but now, we are talking $52,000 before taxes.

3. Assembly quality. The gaps in the interior. This is bizarre, but the gaps are so large, and some parts do not fit properly. It looks like Hyundai from 1999. I know this is something people complain about regarding the new Tundra and Sequoia, so I guess it is an issue across the board in Toyota.

4. RCTA: Rear Collision Traffic Avoidance. OK, this is a bit ridiculous. If you put a bike rack on the hitch, the car will slam on the brakes. So, you must turn off RCTA. No problem, just ten clicks on the steering wheel to get into the right menu. However, once you start the vehicle again, RCTA recycles. Go again, ten clicks, and start again after turning off the vehicle. We plan 7,000 mile road trip next year with bikes in the back. I am not sure I would not eventually cut wires from those sensors. They could install push buttons below the steering wheel on the left side, but hey, why simple when you can do complicated?

So, we dropped Sienna from consideration. The issue with clearance and mirrors is the dealbreaker for us. Not sure about the power and that horrible noise. If clearance and mirrors were not such big issues, I would probably take it to Breckenridge to see how it does over mountain passes. I suspect it would be annoying to me, but who knows? I do hope Grand Highlander will have better seats, or they will address this RCTA issue (it is a very common complaint on forums).

If you are not bothered by the things I am, the mpg is a winner. It is easy to forget some stuff once you look at the mpg.
 
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From what I have read the Grand Highlander is a ways off. They will have the Lexus TX out first. Maybe fall of 23? Is the Pilot out already?

What happened to that steering wheel cover close to the instrument panel?
 

edyvw

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From what I have read the Grand Highlander is a ways off. They will have the Lexus TX out first. Maybe fall of 23? Is the Pilot out already?

What happened to that steering wheel cover close to the instrument panel?
GHL is going to be introduced at Chicago car show at the beginning of February.
Pilot is hitting dealerships on 12/12/22. It is substantially bigger than old one, and old one was substantially bigger than Highlander. So, Toyota has to push GHL out fast. They are losing customers to Palisade, Telluride, Atlas etc.
I don’t need this vehicle until maybe May-June. I have old Pilot I use when I need some space around here.

I didn’t even notice that until you said. I think that is how they coverd it instead of plastic.
 
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A few months ago I was watching a YouTube video where this guy takes a new Sienna offroad and up a serious hill. Surprisingly it did much better than anyone thought possible. My brother gets 40 mpg in his '21 LE FWD, msrp was around 36k. Same mileage as the '19 Corolla hatchback.
 

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A few months ago I was watching a YouTube video where this guy takes a new Sienna offroad and up a serious hill. Surprisingly it did much better than anyone thought possible. My brother gets 40 mpg in his '21 LE FWD, msrp was around 36k. Same mileage as the '19 Corolla hatchback.
I saw that video. AWD per se is not big issue. It will move vehicle up. But, look at ground clearance compared to my BMW! It is actually lower between wheels. And this is longer vehicle.
LENis bare bones. Cloth (hard to clean considering kids), manual lift gate etc.
 
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That mpg is great. I genuinely considered the sienna since it has enough seats for my family but it lacks in rear cargo room as the cargo room in a 2005 yukon xl spoils you and i need it all. The escalade esv has less rear cargo room than it, and the sienna has even less. If it was a foot and a half longer in wheelbase then it would be good enough.

But 95% of tahoe or expedition buyers would be perfectly fine with its seating and cargo capacity while getting almost twice the mpg. And the lack of folding mirrors even on expensive vehicles is absurd. My escalade is the middle trim premium luxury that starts at nearly 90k msrp yet still doesn't have them since you gotta spend even more while my cheap Mitsubishi has them. Ridiculous.
 
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I didn’t even notice that until you said. I think that is how they coverd it instead of plastic.


My Mazda has a plastic rubber like flap in that area. It’s not much. That looks like the sun caused it to deform.

The new Honda Pilots do look good.
 
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Yes, the LE's are pretty bare but at least they have alloy wheels and tinted back glass unlike some of the older ones that really stuck out as base models. I'd much prefer leather and power rear lift gate. The price does escalate quickly with added features. A comparable base Highlander LE FWD hybrid is I think 3k more.
 

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My Mazda has a plastic rubber like flap in that area. It’s not much. That looks like the sun caused it to deform.

The new Honda Pilots do look good.
I will check in the morning to see whether it is just some softex or it got messed up.
 

edyvw

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The (our) Odyssey won out because it has better seating and that sweet sweet V6.

And the Sienna looks stupid.
Lol.
I don’t think it looks stupid, but I can see being divisive.
But Honda doesn’t have AWD. That is biggest issue IMO with Honda. And it is low.
IMO, if they went Prime hybrid power train, this would be absolute best minivan. But, Toyota I think managed microchip shortage worse of all. They actually sold YTD less Siennas this year than last. If the had Prime hybrid or Hybrid max, wait would be 2yrs.
 

edyvw

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Yes, the LE's are pretty bare but at least they have alloy wheels and tinted back glass unlike some of the older ones that really stuck out as base models. I'd much prefer leather and power rear lift gate. The price does escalate quickly with added features. A comparable base Highlander LE FWD hybrid is I think 3k more.
I can see how he is getting 41mpg. I made sure I drive this like all my cars, like I stole it. Be less aggressive, and I can see 40mpg in it.
I forgot to mention, but that speedometer looks dumb. 160mph? My old Sienna had speedo at 110, but big numbers. This becomes bit tiring to look at those lines as you sit far away.
 
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Lol.
I don’t think it looks stupid, but I can see being divisive.
But Honda doesn’t have AWD. That is biggest issue IMO with Honda. And it is low.
IMO, if they went Prime hybrid power train, this would be absolute best minivan. But, Toyota I think managed microchip shortage worse of all. They actually sold YTD less Siennas this year than last. If the had Prime hybrid or Hybrid max, wait would be 2yrs.
I wasnt concerned with AWD, but it is low.

I have considered putting it on air because it would look better lower but it'd be easier to drive higher.
 

edyvw

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That mpg is great. I genuinely considered the sienna since it has enough seats for my family but it lacks in rear cargo room as the cargo room in a 2005 yukon xl spoils you and i need it all. The escalade esv has less rear cargo room than it, and the sienna has even less. If it was a foot and a half longer in wheelbase then it would be good enough.

But 95% of tahoe or expedition buyers would be perfectly fine with its seating and cargo capacity while getting almost twice the mpg. And the lack of folding mirrors even on expensive vehicles is absurd. My escalade is the middle trim premium luxury that starts at nearly 90k msrp yet still doesn't have them since you gotta spend even more while my cheap Mitsubishi has them. Ridiculous.
That is absolutely ridiculous about Escalade. I don’t understand why this electronic folding mirrors are such and issue among Asian and American vehicles. My Skoda Octavia tdi in Europe had electronically folding mirrors.
 
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Another huge downside to this generation Sienna are the "non removable" second row seats. Yes, I know you can remove them with some work. But I can't tell you how many times my family has pulled the 2nd row seats out of the Sienna to haul stuff. It removes so much utility.
 

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Another huge downside to this generation Sienna are the "non removable" second row seats. Yes, I know you can remove them with some work. But I can't tell you how many times my family has pulled the 2nd row seats out of the Sienna to haul stuff. It removes so much utility.
I never needed to remove second row, but I see an issue.
I think argument by Toyota is bogus. They claim it is an airbag issue. That is valid, but then how others manage to do it? As far as I know in Odyssey seats can be removed.
 
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My 2016 Tiguan for $34k didn't have power folding mirrors either.... It frankly doesn't bother me that I don't have power folding mirrors.

The low ground clearance comes in handy when it comes to loading things into the car...since you don't have to lift things up that high to do so. Yes, it's a tradeoff. But the Wilderness edition is supposed to have a slight increase in ground clearance, taking it to 6.9", which is the same as your Tiguan. But the tiguan's ground clearance is limited by the engine position in the body... go take a tape measure to the plastic engine cover... that's where you get the minimum ground clearance.

Then again, I've taken my old lowered Passat wagon off-roading on some Boy Scout access trails to get to some mountain biking trails, without crunching anything underneath.

Downshifting on the hybrid e-CVT is pretty pointless. the ECU will know that you're going downhill and will drive the engine to the appropriate speed to engine brake to assist with regenerative braking, it does it better than you think you can do it yourself.
 
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I never needed to remove second row, but I see an issue.
I think argument by Toyota is bogus. They claim it is an airbag issue. That is valid, but then how others manage to do it? As far as I know in Odyssey seats can be removed.
Odyssey 2nd row doesn't have side thorax airbags mounted in the seats, as well as the rest of the minivan competition.

Side curtain airbags that drop from the ceiling only covers so much

You see the "bogus argument" at around 3:00 in the video below
 

edyvw

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Odyssey 2nd row doesn't have side thorax airbags mounted in the seats, as well as the rest of the minivan competition.

Side curtain airbags that drop from the ceiling only covers so much

You see the "bogus argument" at around 3:00 in the video below

Old Sienna had airbags in the doors, as does Odyssey. I think they went different route which saved money. That is why I said it is bogus argument. There were ways to do it. Personally, I couldn’t care less about that. But it could be done differently.
 
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Old Sienna had airbags in the doors, as does Odyssey. I think they went different route which saved money. That is why I said it is bogus argument. There were ways to do it. Personally, I couldn’t care less about that. But it could be done differently.
The doors itself doesn’t have airbags. You are getting confused with the side curtain airbags that drop from the ceiling

Putting in side thorax airbags in the 2nd row seats to compliment the curtain air bags costs more money



 
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