Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 as a tow vehicle? - Toyota Sienna Forum -
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 as a tow vehicle?

I've been towing with my Gen 2 (2004) for several years now. As the Sienna gets older and my trips become a little more adventurous, I realize I'm eventually going to have to get a new tow vehicle. A minivan with 5000lb tow capacity would be ideal (Chevy Astro!), but that doesn't exist. A few SUVs and cross overs are close, but nothing matches the flexibility of a mini van short of a full size SUV (think Expedition EL/Suburban!) So, if I were to consider another Sienna, my questions would be...

1. Does the extra horse power of the Gen 3 at least pull with any more authority than the Gen 2? They're both rated for the same 3500lb capacity after all.
2. Is the hitch receiver height as least as high as the Gen 2?
3. Is the hitch receiver height any different between models, i.e. FWD vs. AWD or in the SE (sportier) trim?

I haven't seen much chatter on the web from people who tow with the 3rd Gen. I even posed these questions to a sales guy while checking out a Gen. 3. He laughed and said he'd never heard of such a thing. Seemed to be unaware there was even a tow package (I was not surprised by this!)

Anyways, just curious to see what you guys think.

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 08:49 PM
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Re: Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 as a tow vehicle?

There's not much difference between the gen 2 and gen 3 except for the larger engine with 50 more horsepower, an additional transmission gear and revised exterior panels/lights and interior trim. They both have the same wheelbase and length.

The same aftermarket hitches fit all trim levels of the gen 3 Sienna so the receiver height should be very similar. The only reason that the SE has slightly less ground clearance is because of its "boy racer" body panels. Some brands of aftermarket hitches ride slightly higher than others. The Curt hitch on my 2014 FWD Sienna Limited has never dragged on the pavement a single time. I think my drawbar has a 2 inch rise but don't remember for sure - it's whatever recommended.

The non-hybrid Toyota Highlander with the tow prep package is rated at towing 5,000 pounds. Verify that whatever you buy has the factory tow prep package since it is not practical to install it after the vehicle is assembled at the factory.

The factory installed hitch receiver and wiring harness seems rare on the gen 3 Sienna. There was a "stop sale" on it when I bought my Sienna in 2014 so I went aftermarket.

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