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Anyone else pass on all hybrid Sienna lineup?

5187 Views 76 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  Dimitrij
Not being produced with a conventionally powered (only) options removed the new Sienna from our list. Just wondering if anyone else did the same.

No sour grapes, Toyota can do whatever it wants. As can I.
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As Prii have aged to a point of getting drivability issues I would guess one coming from that camp would be hesitant regarding a Toyota hybrid powertrain.

Has anyone complained about the power? Seems on the low side.
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Ill have to admit - i was one of the hybrid skeptics for the past 2 decades. In fact, i thought all hybrids were the same design (Honda and Toyota). Back in 2010 i opted for a Mercedes diesel to save gas. CVT was the other solution - but i knew from back then that a steel belt (cvt) wouldnt be as reliable than a manual or regular auto. Toyota should not have marketed the hybrid as having a CVT - they should have called it something else because of the negative stigma of the CVT. Fast forward 2021 - the sienna was introduced. Rented one from Enterprise - loved it ! Did some research - and found that video above in 2021. Lo and behold - CvT is not the same as ECVT ! So simple and elegant. I placed an order sept 2021 and took delivery 2 mos later.
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6. Instant acceleration (no lag).

7. Concience-free idleing (sitting) - even with A/C running.

8. I can move the car in/out of the garage without starting the ICE (except in cold winters).

9. No starter and alternator. No power steering pump, fluid.
Where is the savings?
1) 4/5k premium for hybrid from traditional van
2) battery deteriorating over time
3) battery cost after 7/10 years @5k
4) total cost at end will be 10k more vs savings of 12k
Sienna does not have a non-ICE version so the closest to your description of "traditional" is the Honda Odyssey. Last year in Ohio - i did a price comparison between the Ody and the Sienna. From a price perspective - the XLE Sienna is the same price as a EX-L Odyssey (both no markups in Ohio - around $41-42k in early 2022). In California - its a different story because shortages and markups skew this figure in favor of the Honda.

IF there were no chip shortages - the only factor/s at play here are 1) battery replacement cost vs Fuel savings. Based web prices - the current price of a new HV battery is less than $4,000. Plus labor.

HV Battery warranty is up to 10 yrs or 150,000 miles. So IF we assume all the 40 battery modules need to be replaced by the end of 10 yrs or 150,000 miles - then yes - you can take out the $4,000+labor from whatever savings you gained from 2021 til 2031 and beyond (assuming gas price remains stable and battery replacement price stays constant til 203X).

Here are some factors you need to ask yourself. 1) Will there be cheaper/better batteries to replace the current Sienna battery ? Most likely yes (in fact - there are already companies switching the Prius NiMH to Lithium-Ion 2) Are you stuck with Toyota OEM battery parts for the life of the vehicle - No way ! Just count the Hybrid shops in town catering to fixing Prius HV batteries. 3) Do you need to replace all 40 at the same time ? Nope. I personally havent seen the process of replacing Sienna batteries but Prius batteries can be repaired in less than half a day. The big difference is that the Sienna HV battery is located underneath the driver seat so it will need a full service lift. 4) How long does a "standard" Honda ICE engine need to be replaced ? 5) The value of these used Siennas will be about 1/3 or 1/4 of a brand new one in 10 years. A good number of people here will trade in these Siennas for a better model anyway.

Lastly - the Sienna battery is less than 2kWh (1.9 kWh to be precise). The RAV4 prime is about 9x-10x bigger in capacity (18.1 kWh). So it really should not cost much in the future when battery production ramps up and technology for batteries become more and more affordable.
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Agree with OP. I'm not replacing my people pusher every 5 years because the huge multi thousand dollar battery went out. I'll restore and drive a classic before that'll happen. My money works hard for me and if I give you some of it for transportation I expect it to last 15-20 years.
5 years ? Where is that data coming from ? I can't speak for newer Hybrids that use Lithium-Ion but the older Priuses mentioned in this article use Ni-MH like the Sienna.


For those like the OP not yet convinced - my advice is "dont buy into all this hype". With the chip shortage and everything - my dealer in Ohio says its at least 1 year on the waiting list. Leave the inventory for the rest of us who need it the most and dont need convincing.
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This is something that could easily give someone pause, especially if they aren't inclined to change it themselves. I could see many shops refusing to do that job simply because they have no experience with it, and then you're on to the stealership as your only option. The cost of replacing the battery eats hard into the gas savings if you keep it that long, on top of how there is always a premium for buying a hybrid over its gas-only equivalent. Monetarily, it ends up being a wash, and then it comes down to who do you want to pay - the oil companies or the mechanic? The mechanic would seem the much better choice, except then your vehicle is down for two weeks (one because they have no available appointments until a week and a half from today, and another day or two as they do the job) and it could be one of those "it's never the same after it's fixed" things.

This is part of why I think twice about a used Prius v, or maybe a regular Prius. I wouldn't want it to brick itself because the battery took a dump.
I too had the same hesitation for the last 10 yrs. I was always a proponent of saving fuel. 10-15 yrs ago - to save gas it was either CVT, direct-injection, diesel or hybrid. I did not choose hybrid because i also thought it would need special skills, tools, training - something that was not readily available in Ohio. Also, at that time - my hobby was RC helicopters and was just switching to Lithium-Ion electric heli's. I was amazed how much power these small batteries had. Over the years i sold all my nitro helis and never looked back. Also, my brother in california bought a used Prius 2007 prius in 2010. Some modules died in 2019 and had it replaced for less than $50 per module. One year later - he did it on his own in his own garage. I watched him do it and was amazed how easy it was. It was just an oversized RC car (in my mind). You can even use a RC charger to charge each module.

I have swapped several WRX/STi engines in the last 15 years. The work involved in fixing hybrid batteries is 10x easier. I would rather deal with a dead HV battery than a subaru engine swap. It takes the same amount of time to replace a dead Prius battery module than a set of subaru spark plugs or timing belt swap.
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……o. I don't see that many people driving around with plug in hybrids.
That might be why GM killed the Volt (once voted car of the year). Its just too expensive to make.
From a manufacturing perspective - BEV should be the simplest to make. Followed by HEV. Hardest to make is PHEV because the battery is about 10x the size of a typical HEV. Hybrids are hard to make because it has all the components of a ICE plus BEV combined. The biggest challenge is making enough batteries to make PHEV and HEV. It might take a decade for battery mfg to make enough batteries to create healthy competition - similar to ICE mfg today.
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Also please note that "CVT" is not "Constantly velocity transmissions", it is "Continuously Variable Transmission.

And, as jseyfert3 says, that is NOT what the Toyota transmission is..
Toyota Marketing really screwed up here. They should have not used the term CVT anywhere near their Hybrid vehicles. I personally stayed clear of any Toyota hybrid product for 2 decades because i also thought hybrids used belt-CVTs.
They did.. they called it Hybrid Synergy Drive and power-split device and other things... the lazy magazine writers use the CVT term.
toyota.com. Not magazines
See what I mean by Toyota Marketing ?
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