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Hello All,

We have a 2016 Sienna XLE for our young family of 5 that has been a fantastic road tripper getting about four to six 26+ hour round trips per year. We are considering newer Sienna (or possibly very large SUV).

For our three very young kids, our 2016 cannot be beat really and there is no reason to move on. The issue is more that I find the front seats on the 2016 Sienna to be pretty uncomfortable and the road noise is very loud compared to our other vehicles. Hence, being the primary driver on a lot of these trips, well....

We've considered the new Sequoia or another very large SUV, solely to improve front seat comfort, but realize this will be at the expense of practicality and cargo room that a minivan offers. Also, I really value reliability, and am hesitant to trust a Suburban, Expedition, Escalade, etc. on these road trips year after year.

Anyone with experience that believes the newest generation Sienna is significantly better in terms of ride quality, comfort, noise, etc. for front passengers?

Thanks!
 

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I recently changed to an '18 XLE which would be rather similar to your '16. I came from an '05 Sienna. The seating is a a bit different, but I have adapted and found it far from "uncomfortable". I use it for commuting every day, along with a few multi-thousand mile trips tossed in, for a total of about 30,000 miles over the last year and a half.

I don't have any personal experience with any of your mentioned alternatives, but I do know people that have (had) them and can pretty much guarantee that your fuel bill is going to take a SERIOUS hit with any of them.

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I recently changed to an '18 XLE which would be rather similar to your '16. I came from an '05 Sienna. The seating is a a bit different, but I have adapted and found it far from "uncomfortable". I use it for commuting every day, along with a few multi-thousand mile trips tossed in, for a total of about 30,000 miles over the last year and a half.

I don't have any personal experience with any of your mentioned alternatives, but I do know people that have (had) them and can pretty much guarantee that your fuel bill is going to take a SERIOUS hit with any of them.

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Thanks for reply! I'm 6'5", my primary vehicle and our "middle" vehicle both have thigh extenders or overall longer/deeper seats. That and the noise is my primary concern.

Agree that going to mega SUV territory really eats into gas mileage. We put about 25k on Sienna every year so nothing to sniff at and it definitely gets used. But it's been 100% maintenance free other than oil changes and that has also been pretty great and why I'm extremely cautious to jump to different brand.
 

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Hello All,

We have a 2016 Sienna XLE for our young family of 5 that has been a fantastic road tripper getting about four to six 26+ hour round trips per year. We are considering newer Sienna (or possibly very large SUV).

For our three very young kids, our 2016 cannot be beat really and there is no reason to move on. The issue is more that I find the front seats on the 2016 Sienna to be pretty uncomfortable and the road noise is very loud compared to our other vehicles. Hence, being the primary driver on a lot of these trips, well....

We've considered the new Sequoia or another very large SUV, solely to improve front seat comfort, but realize this will be at the expense of practicality and cargo room that a minivan offers. Also, I really value reliability, and am hesitant to trust a Suburban, Expedition, Escalade, etc. on these road trips year after year.

Anyone with experience that believes the newest generation Sienna is significantly better in terms of ride quality, comfort, noise, etc. for front passengers?

Thanks!
IMO the Gen 4 Sienna has a very nice ride, a comfortable and quiet cabin, reasonably good ergonomics, and a very efficient powertrain that is adequate for the task.

I do not find the overall quality in line with Toyota's reputation, sadly. So far (52K miles and 16.5 months), praise the Lord, I haven't had "a very bad day at the roadside", but I have experienced many little annoying quality problems.

Cannot compare to the full-size SUVs because the last time I drove one would have been 12 years ago :)

It cutie be easier and cheaper to replace the culprit seat. Ink sure there will be aftermarket companies who can do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
IMO the Gen 4 Sienna has a very nice ride, a comfortable and quiet cabin, reasonably good ergonomics, and a very efficient powertrain that is adequate for the task.

I do not find the overall quality in line with Toyota's reputation, sadly. So far (52K miles and 16.5 months), praise the Lord, I haven't had "a very bad day at the roadside", but I have experienced many little annoying quality problems.

Cannot compare to the full-size SUVs because the last time I drove one would have been 12 years ago :)
Appreciate this insight. The bells/whistles on newer cars are appealing. But if your experience is not an anomaly, then hard to argue for trading up for a largely similar vehicle. (in doing my research the front seats are essentially identical)

Thanks again for this great information!
 

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Have you considered finding a local upholstery shop and seeing if they can modify the seat to make it more comfortable? I’m not sure companies will want the liability of doing this on seats with side air bags, but if your complaint is mainly the length of the seat and not back support, that portion of the seat doesn’t have airbags so should be easy enough to find someone to modify that portion of the seat.

I’m also 6’5” and my main complaint is the backrest. It’s shaped for a shorter person and curves my back into a shape that becomes uncomfortable within an hour or so. I think I’ll try to find a company willing to modify that for me so it fits my tall back better. My alternative plan is to cut some foam with a carving knife to “fill in” the curve of the seat back and just make it more or less straight. Essentially, a make a custom cushion to modify the seat more appropriately fit me.
 

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I wouldn't recommend switching unless you're looking for specifically better MPG in gen 4. The gen 3 has largest cargo space 150 cu ft (to 1st row) vs 101 cu ft for gen 4. What does mean? Reduced comfort space and, in case of an accident, crumple zone for your passengers. As for noise, if you find that annoying, you can spend time adding noise dampener underneath the carpets as a few on the forum did. Regarding uncomfortable seats, especially driver's, I'm 50+ years old and don't find it uncomfortable since I drove about 1200 miles from Seattle to Huntington beach in about 18 hours, stopping for gas and bio only. We ate and drink on the road. Did drive back for another 1200 miles in the similar manner.

[edit] PS. I'm looking into getting a Toyota SUV 4WD primarily for snow and maybe off-road. The Sequoia is the largest Toyota has to offer and still pales in comparison for the cargo space at 121 cu ft for 2008 model.
 

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I wouldn't recommend switching unless you're looking for specifically better MPG in gen 4. The gen 3 has largest cargo space 150 cu ft (to 1st row) vs 101 cu ft for gen 4. What does mean? Reduced comfort space and, in case of an accident, crumple zone for your passengers.
I believe the space is because the 3rd gen is rated with the middle row seats removed, while the 4th gen middle row seats cannot be removed, so that's not available for cargo. I doubt the interior dimensions are significantly smaller, if at all.

Safety wise, the 4th gen is undeniably safer than a 3rd gen. IIHS rates the 2016-2020 Sienna as "Marginal" for small overlap front passenger side, and "Acceptable" for small overlap front driver side. The 2021 Sienna was rated "Good" for both of these tests, and maintained the "Good" rating that the 3rd gen had for moderate overlap front, side crash, roof strength, and heat restraints and seats. Overall, in my research, the 3rd gen Sienna had some of, if not the worst crash ratings of available minivans at the time. Mostly this seemed to be related to it's poor partial overlap front crash ratings.

Middle row seats aren't officially crash test rated in the US yet, though one could presume the addition of side seat airbags in the 4th gen Sienna will make those seats safer in certain crashes.

3rd gen Sienna IIHS crash test rating for a 2016 Sienna:
Rectangle Font Parallel Screenshot Number


Some more detailed crash test ratings applying to 2011-2020 models.
Font Rectangle Screenshot Parallel Number


4th gen Sienna IIHS crash test ratings:
Rectangle Font Parallel Screenshot Number


There's more detailed breakdowns of driver vs passenger on the later model Sienna than they had on the 3rd gen, but all ratings for driver and (front) passenger were "Good".
 

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I believe the space is because the 3rd gen is rated with the middle row seats removed, while the 4th gen middle row seats cannot be removed, so that's not available for cargo. I doubt the interior dimensions are significantly smaller, if at all.
Even if you consider the non removable 2nd row, the cargo space up to 2nd row for gen 3 is 87.1 cu ft vs gen 4's 75.2 cu ft. Gen 3's cargo to 3rd row is 39.1 vs gen 4's 33.5. As for improved crash test results, I think they may improved sides, especially the beam between front doors and sliding doors. (I've tested driving at very slow speed with one of the sliding door opened. The frame didn't seem very rigid.) Thanks for sharing the crash test results, BTW.
 

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Even if you consider the non removable 2nd row, the cargo space up to 2nd row for gen 3 is 87.1 cu ft vs gen 4's 75.2 cu ft. Gen 3's cargo to 3rd row is 39.1 vs gen 4's 33.5. As for improved crash test results, I think they may improved sides, especially the beam between front doors and sliding doors. (I've tested driving at very slow speed with one of the sliding door opened. The frame didn't seem very rigid.) Thanks for sharing the crash test results, BTW.
Hmm. The question is how are they calculating the volume to seat 2? Like where are those seats when they measure? Passenger volume is listed as 164.4 cubic feet for gen 3, and 159.7 cubic feet for gen 4. That's a difference of just under 5 cubic feet smaller, or less than 3% difference. I can't see them adding tens of cubic feet to the driver/passenger area, so that implies that the seats of the 4th gen either don't sit as far forward in their frontmost locked seating position as they can with the 3rd gen, or they were simply in a different location when the volume was calculated. Same for the 3rd row seats. Likely just moved them a bit back for extra legroom? In either case, it's not really fair to say there's significantly less cargo space on the 4th gen over the 3rd gen, just that it's allocated differently.

If you need to move both people and cargo at the same time, then yes the cargo space behind seats becomes important. Of course, in that case so does passenger comfort, which is negatively proportional to cargo space.
 

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I was considering a big SUV for my next vehicle. I just need something bigger than my current Forester. Out of ignorance I never even considered the minivan segment, just not something that would cross my mind.

Long story short, I simply couldn’t justify the ridiculous prices the Sequoias/Expeditions/Tahoes demand with subpar mpg and probably equal storage capacity compared to the Sienna. Therefore, the ride quality/discomfort and cabin noise would have to be brutal to justify it over the price and mpg you’ll get from the big SUVs at the moment.
 

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Hmm. The question is how are they calculating the volume to seat 2? Like where are those seats when they measure? Passenger volume is listed as 164.4 cubic feet for gen 3, and 159.7 cubic feet for gen 4. That's a difference of just under 5 cubic feet smaller, or less than 3% difference. I can't see them adding tens of cubic feet to the driver/passenger area, so that implies that the seats of the 4th gen either don't sit as far forward in their frontmost locked seating position as they can with the 3rd gen, or they were simply in a different location when the volume was calculated. Same for the 3rd row seats. Likely just moved them a bit back for extra legroom? In either case, it's not really fair to say there's significantly less cargo space on the 4th gen over the 3rd gen, just that it's allocated differently.

If you need to move both people and cargo at the same time, then yes the cargo space behind seats becomes important. Of course, in that case so does passenger comfort, which is negatively proportional to cargo space.
Without having a side by side comparison to tell for sure, I'd think the space is taken away by EV motor(s) and battery for the EV motor since the overall dimensions (including ground clearance) didn't change much.
 

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I was considering a big SUV for my next vehicle. I just need something bigger than my current Forester. Out of ignorance I never even considered the minivan segment, just not something that would cross my mind.

Long story short, I simply couldn’t justify the ridiculous prices the Sequoias/Expeditions/Tahoes demand with subpar mpg and probably equal storage capacity compared to the Sienna. Therefore, the ride quality/discomfort and cabin noise would have to be brutal to justify it over the price and mpg you’ll get from the big SUVs at the moment.
You can't compare Subaru to any of the SUVs mentioned: size (wind resistance which greatly affect MPG), towing capacity, interior comfort space, etc... Then there's reliability... I haven't got a chance to confirm the reliability of that video but with Toyota I don't doubt much.
 

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Without having a side by side comparison to tell for sure, I'd think the space is taken away by EV motor(s) and battery for the EV motor since the overall dimensions (including ground clearance) didn't change much.
Honestly, I don't think - and I might be wrong of course - that in the Gen 4 Sienna the EV motors or the traction battery encroach on the passenger/cargo space. In the FWD version, there are no traction motors outside of the engine compartment. In the AWD version, the rear axle motor is kind of nested among the suspension components and doesn't protrude into the cabin. The only EV component that is inside the cabin is the traction battery, but it's neatly tucked under the 1st row.

I was considering a big SUV for my next vehicle. I just need something bigger than my current Forester. Out of ignorance I never even considered the minivan segment, just not something that would cross my mind.

Long story short, I simply couldn’t justify the ridiculous prices the Sequoias/Expeditions/Tahoes demand with subpar mpg and probably equal storage capacity compared to the Sienna. Therefore, the ride quality/discomfort and cabin noise would have to be brutal to justify it over the price and mpg you’ll get from the big SUVs at the moment.
I had been ignoring the minivan segment because it didn't have any AWD hybrids until the Gen 4 Sienna. Despite the fact that there are few things on the Sienna that I hate, it's still the most versatile, practical, and convenient vehicle - all things considered - that I have ever owned.

The big SUV's do have a couple of advantages, namely a larger ground clearance and longer nose. I cannot tell you why so many drivers like long noses, but they do.
 

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I recently changed to an '18 XLE which would be rather similar to your '16. I came from an '05 Sienna. The seating is a a bit different, but I have adapted and found it far from "uncomfortable". I use it for commuting every day, along with a few multi-thousand mile trips tossed in, for a total of about 30,000 miles over the last year and a half.

I don't have any personal experience with any of your mentioned alternatives, but I do know people that have (had) them and can pretty much guarantee that your fuel bill is going to take a SERIOUS hit with any of them.

.
Hello All,

We have a 2016 Sienna XLE for our young family of 5 that has been a fantastic road tripper getting about four to six 26+ hour round trips per year. We are considering newer Sienna (or possibly very large SUV).

For our three very young kids, our 2016 cannot be beat really and there is no reason to move on. The issue is more that I find the front seats on the 2016 Sienna to be pretty uncomfortable and the road noise is very loud compared to our other vehicles. Hence, being the primary driver on a lot of these trips, well....

We've considered the new Sequoia or another very large SUV, solely to improve front seat comfort, but realize this will be at the expense of practicality and cargo room that a minivan offers. Also, I really value reliability, and am hesitant to trust a Suburban, Expedition, Escalade, etc. on these road trips year after year.

Anyone with experience that believes the newest generation Sienna is significantly better in terms of ride quality, comfort, noise, etc. for front passengers?

Thanks!
I have a 2002 Sienna that has 235K miles and still runs very well. I use a chair gel cushion from Walmart for about $10 and that makes the sear comfortable on long trips. On trips I get 25 MPG and usually the road noise is not that bad but you may want to look at the rubber seals around the door and windows.
I am older and have shrunk some but I was 6'4" and have had this Sienna for 18 years.
 

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Honestly, I don't think - and I might be wrong of course - that in the Gen 4 Sienna the EV motors or the traction battery encroach on the passenger/cargo space. In the FWD version, there are no traction motors outside of the engine compartment. In the AWD version, the rear axle motor is kind of nested among the suspension components and doesn't protrude into the cabin. The only EV component that is inside the cabin is the traction battery, but it's neatly tucked under the 1st row.



I had been ignoring the minivan segment because it didn't have any AWD hybrids until the Gen 4 Sienna. Despite the fact that there are few things on the Sienna that I hate, it's still the most versatile, practical, and convenient vehicle - all things considered - that I have ever owned.

The big SUV's do have a couple of advantages, namely a larger ground clearance and longer nose. I cannot tell you why so many drivers like long noses, but they do.
The front seats are definitely higher because of the battery. The drivers seat (in the XLE) can be lowered but the passenger seat could not. My wife really wanted a hybrid vehicle and we gave a lot of thought to the '22 Sienna, but she is blind, and she couldn't sit in the pass seat without bumping her head. With the gen 3, she could get in without having to climb up, or fall down into the vehicle--perfect.

Also, under acceleration the 4cyl engine was a bit too raucous for me.

Finally, with the second row seating situation, it was difficult to fit both our tandem bike and passengers in the gen 4.
 

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Hello All,

We have a 2016 Sienna XLE for our young family of 5 that has been a fantastic road tripper getting about four to six 26+ hour round trips per year. We are considering newer Sienna (or possibly very large SUV).

For our three very young kids, our 2016 cannot be beat really and there is no reason to move on. The issue is more that I find the front seats on the 2016 Sienna to be pretty uncomfortable and the road noise is very loud compared to our other vehicles. Hence, being the primary driver on a lot of these trips, well....

We've considered the new Sequoia or another very large SUV, solely to improve front seat comfort, but realize this will be at the expense of practicality and cargo room that a minivan offers. Also, I really value reliability, and am hesitant to trust a Suburban, Expedition, Escalade, etc. on these road trips year after year.

Anyone with experience that believes the newest generation Sienna is significantly better in terms of ride quality, comfort, noise, etc. for front passengers?

Thanks!
The stock seat is uncomfortable, especially for tall drivers as it sits too high. I'm 6'4" tall and replaced my seat with aftermarket. I did a lot of seat research and comparisons and the Recaro Topline XL has the longest backrest height and an extendable base. The mod isn't cheap as I also had to have an aftermarket seat bracket made for the van but it was one of the best mods I've done yet to my 2013. I previously did the seat extender and hated it, it actually raised the seat height. DM me if you would like more details on the mod.

Recaro Topline XL Seat Install | Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
 

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Honestly, I don't think - and I might be wrong of course - that in the Gen 4 Sienna the EV motors or the traction battery encroach on the passenger/cargo space. In the FWD version, there are no traction motors outside of the engine compartment. In the AWD version, the rear axle motor is kind of nested among the suspension components and doesn't protrude into the cabin. The only EV component that is inside the cabin is the traction battery, but it's neatly tucked under the 1st row.
This good video shows what's underneath the 2022 Sienna. I'm pretty sure Toyota had to reduce interior height space to accommodate the changes underneath.
 
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