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For those of us in snowy areas, there are now 2 AWD minivans to choose from. Looking for meaningful insight on how to distinguish between them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell from reading reviews, the Sienna might have inferior AWD, inferior visibility, and inferior braking? But it might also have better reliability (and certainly better gas mileage). Any major distinguishing factors that would push you one way or the other?
 

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I live in DC area.. we have had 2-3 inches of snow on the ground in last 2-3 weeks. Our Sienna went thru it like hot a knife thru butter. I am not a car guy, and I have never drove a Pacific, so my opinion may not matter much. However, in the little experience I have driving in snow so far, I feel like I am not missing anything, yet.

AWD was on my Must-Have list too due to amount of money we were going to sink in it. I was thinking about at least looking at Pacific due to dramatic price difference between them (10K+ in many instances.) However, Sienna has AWD+Hybrid. I figured in the life of it, I might recover some of the 10K+ difference in gas savings, and possibly less maintenance.
 

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If you've never checked out TFL (the fast lane car) on YouTube they do a ton of tests. With visibility, yea, you can't see very well out the back window, and almost not at all if you have the rear entertainment system open, but on limited and platinum trims, there is a digital rear view camera that's awesome and platinum trims have the birds eye camera.

For awd, check out the Pacifica AWD slip test
and then Highlander hybrid slip test
. Highlander and sienna hybrid share the same eAWD system so should be similar.

Lastly, braking is more dependent on tires then anything.
 

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For those of us in snowy areas, there is now 2 AWD minivans to choose from. Looking for meaningful insight on how to distinguish between them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell from reading reviews, the Sienna might have inferior AWD, inferior visibility, and inferior braking? But it might also have better reliability (and certainly better gas mileage). Any major distinguishing factors that would push you one way or the other?
I live in Canada and my region gets a good deal of snow. Both my current vehicles (prior to Sienna order) have AWD.

I did consider the Pacifica, but opted for a Sienna for the following reasons (many are subjective):

  • Hybrid system - great fuel economy and better for the environment
  • big fan of XSE style and design
  • driver seat feels more like a SUV (actual gear shifter, placement of controls, like the bridge)
  • Pacifica stow-and-go seats at first sounded like a good feature for me, but after thinking about it, I prefer the super slide seats (I also don’t plan to remove my 2nd row seats anyways)
  • had concerns on Chrysler reliability
  • didn’t like the Chrysler pricing model (inflated MSRP and immediately discounted 20% making it sound like a great deal when in fact that’s the actual price.)
  • concerned with Chrysler re-sale
  • Sienna entertainment system viewable from all seats as it’s mounted on top
  • like the fact Sienna newly redesigned for 2021

A quick list of some of my reasoning.
Keep in mind I don’t have my Sienna yet - had to factory order as I was looking for something very specific and inventory is very limited (almost non existent) in my area.

I don’t like the Sienna XSE AWD wheels, and would have preferred some tech changes (Blu-ray in RES, wireless Apple CarPlay) but overall these were not deal-breakers for me.
 

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I live in Canada and my region gets a good deal of snow. Both my current vehicles (prior to Sienna order) have AWD.

I did consider the Pacifica, but opted for a Sienna for the following reasons (many are subjective):

  • Hybrid system - great fuel economy and better for the environment
  • big fan of XSE style and design
  • driver seat feels more like a SUV (actual gear shifter, placement of controls, like the bridge)
  • Pacifica stow-and-go seats at first sounded like a good feature for me, but after thinking about it, I prefer the super slide seats (I also don’t plan to remove my 2nd row seats anyways)
  • had concerns on Chrysler reliability
  • didn’t like the Chrysler pricing model (inflated MSRP and immediately discounted 20% making it sound like a great deal when in fact that’s the actual price.)
  • concerned with Chrysler re-sale
  • Sienna entertainment system viewable from all seats as it’s mounted on top
  • like the fact Sienna newly redesigned for 2021

A quick list of some of my reasoning.
Keep in mind I don’t have my Sienna yet - had to factory order as I was looking for something very specific and inventory is very limited (almost non existent) in my area.

I don’t like the Sienna XSE AWD wheels, and would have preferred some tech changes (Blu-ray in RES, wireless Apple CarPlay) but overall these were not deal-breakers for me.

for the most part, my reasoning for the XSE AWD is almost identical. Pacifica has some degree of hype, and the price is better, but resale value for toyota hybrid AWD will be better and the chrysler reliability is questionable. You get what you pay for in this case as well.
 

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for the most part, my reasoning for the XSE AWD is almost identical. Pacifica has some degree of hype, and the price is better, but resale value for toyota hybrid AWD will be better and the chrysler reliability is questionable. You get what you pay for in this case as well.
I was actually surprised only a handful of manufactures make minivans (first time minivan buyer, but my parents had them in the late-80s to mid-90s)

I looked into the Odyssey as well, but the lack of AWD and hybrid was the deal-breaker for me. I also didn’t like the front dash, including button system to change gears. Outside of this, Odyssey could be a possible alternative

I know Kia is doing a redesign as well, but didn’t explore this option.

I will likely have to wait 2-4 months to get the Sienna, which worked fine for me. If someone needs something now, Sienna inventory is limited in certain trims, so other products might be the right choice.
 

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I was actually surprised only a handful of manufactures make minivans (first time minivan buyer, but my parents had them in the late-80s to mid-90s)
There's a long list of dead minivans - Ford Aerostar, Windstar/Freestar, Chevy Astro/GMC Safari, GM dustbuster minivans - Lumina APV, Pontiac Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and their successors including the Saturn Relay, Mazda MPV, Mazda5, Nissan Quest, Mercury Villager, to name a few. They've been run off the road by 3-row crossovers, smaller but more fashionable.

Car & Driver: Tested: Five 1992 4WD Minivans vs. Alaska's Dalton Highway
 

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I live in Canada and my region gets a good deal of snow. Both my current vehicles (prior to Sienna order) have AWD.

I did consider the Pacifica, but opted for a Sienna for the following reasons (many are subjective):

  • Hybrid system - great fuel economy and better for the environment
  • big fan of XSE style and design
  • driver seat feels more like a SUV (actual gear shifter, placement of controls, like the bridge)
  • Pacifica stow-and-go seats at first sounded like a good feature for me, but after thinking about it, I prefer the super slide seats (I also don’t plan to remove my 2nd row seats anyways)
  • had concerns on Chrysler reliability
  • didn’t like the Chrysler pricing model (inflated MSRP and immediately discounted 20% making it sound like a great deal when in fact that’s the actual price.)
  • concerned with Chrysler re-sale
  • Sienna entertainment system viewable from all seats as it’s mounted on top
  • like the fact Sienna newly redesigned for 2021

A quick list of some of my reasoning.
Keep in mind I don’t have my Sienna yet - had to factory order as I was looking for something very specific and inventory is very limited (almost non existent) in my area.

I don’t like the Sienna XSE AWD wheels, and would have preferred some tech changes (Blu-ray in RES, wireless Apple CarPlay) but overall these were not deal-breakers for me.
Same reason for me. I decided on the XSE AWD but haven't order one yet since I don't need one right away. I may wait and a bit and hopefully Toyota will fix some of the issues with the new model. Don't like the XSE AWD wheels but I know I can change it to 20" if I want to. Kia really want the van to look like a SUV and it maybe more reliable now but the brand name not really help with its re-sale value.
 

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Same reason for me. I decided on the XSE AWD but haven't order one yet since I don't need one right away. I may wait and a bit and hopefully Toyota will fix some of the issues with the new model. Don't like the XSE AWD wheels but I know I can change it to 20" if I want to. Kia really want the van to look like a SUV and it maybe more reliable now but the brand name not really help with its re-sale value.
The Kia Carnival might be a good alternative, but I didn't trust the brand (subjective choice.). Carnival virtual introduction is today for anyone that is interested.

AWD Sienna's are very hard to find in Canada, even more so on the XSE trim level. Also if you are looking for a specific colour, it's next to impossible right now. I needed the van by late June/early July, so placed an order last month with the expectation it will take 2-4 months to land in Canada given the very limited supply.
 

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There's a long list of dead minivans - Ford Aerostar, Windstar/Freestar, Chevy Astro/GMC Safari, GM dustbuster minivans - Lumina APV, Pontiac Trans Sport, Oldsmobile Silhouette and their successors including the Saturn Relay, Mazda MPV, Mazda5, Nissan Quest, Mercury Villager, to name a few. They've been run off the road by 3-row crossovers, smaller but more fashionable.

Car & Driver: Tested: Five 1992 4WD Minivans vs. Alaska's Dalton Highway
Blast from the past! I still remember my family's Astro (double door rear hatch) and the many family road trips we took. A walk down memory lane.
 

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I wish the full sized vans would come back, with better powertrains, maybe even hybrid. Most comfortable van I've been in was a van conversion Dodge. Sofa futon in the back that folded into a bed, cloth seats.
For these vans I'm in it for the most space while still retain the dimensions for me to park in a normal lot. Camper vans are just too much.
 

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I wish the full sized vans would come back, with better powertrains, maybe even hybrid. Most comfortable van I've been in was a van conversion Dodge. Sofa futon in the back that folded into a bed, cloth seats.
They're still around, heck the Chevy Express has been around in its current generation since 1996. Ford's Transit offers a turbo V6 and an EV variant is coming soon, Ram has the FWD Promaster which was originally a Fiat, and Mercedes offers the turbodiesel Sprinter and the smaller Metris.
 

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They're still around, heck the Chevy Express has been around in its current generation since 1996. Ford's Transit offers a turbo V6 and an EV variant is coming soon, Ram has the FWD Promaster which was originally a Fiat, and Mercedes offers the turbodiesel Sprinter and the smaller Metris.
Totally unlike what I was thinking but yeah I guess they go through a conversion to get to what I was describing.
 

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For those of us in snowy areas, there are now 2 AWD minivans to choose from. Looking for meaningful insight on how to distinguish between them. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell from reading reviews, the Sienna might have inferior AWD, inferior visibility, and inferior braking? But it might also have better reliability (and certainly better gas mileage). Any major distinguishing factors that would push you one way or the other?
For the last 15 years we have driven from Cape Cod to Utah every winter. 2500 miles each way. A 2005 and 2015 AWD Sienna. Once in Utah we drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon, approximately 5 days a week. --- 4500ft altitude change.
Always with snow tires. Have seen as many as 60 or more cars and trucks off the road at one time. Have seen I80 Wyoming closed for several days. Now I am very uncertain if the new hybrid will do the job. In my subjective opinion it is simply ugly - front and rear. The massive front grille - non functional - will be a huge snow and bug collector. Right now we have the left 2nd row seat removed. Super handy for gear storage. Bad design to not have removable seats.
Wondering how much power the 2021 will have crossing the Rockies?. Have been up to over 14000ft on Mt Evans.
Lots to consider before moving on to the hybrid. Best of luck to all. Need to know more about the AWD Pacifica. It is subjective, but to me it looks so much smoother !
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