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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We are planning to purchase 3 row vehicle (8 seats preferably). Looking into Highlander and Sienna among hybrid options. I checked out Highlander. 3rd row seat is not comfortable. I think, it is going to be a problem for long drives with 5+ passengers. It sits too close to floor. Adjusting middle and front seats doesn't help either.

That leaves us with Sienna. Any one in similar boat. Are we going to miss our on anything by going with Sienna instead of Highlander hybrid? We are also thinking about looking into v6 options like Telluride and Palisade. Minivan, we are going to check Sienna.

Did a test drive with Sienna Limited. Salesrep only let me drive on local streets. It did drive fine. He asked me to wait for few more weeks to place order. They asked for extra $1099 for protection package which includes tint.
 

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We chose a 21 Sienna over a 21 Highlander hybrid. I thought the cockpit of the Highlander was a little better - coming from a Subaru Outback I was more comfortable in the crossover/SUV. I believe the Highlander has a little more updated tech (better resolution on the surround view camera). I also appreciate that it is slightly higher off the ground because the Sienna is low. However, the 3rd row was practically unusable. The Sienna is far superior from the front doors back. If you have kids, the power sliding doors are a huge convenience. Ingress and egress in the Sienna in general is far superior in my experience. You just get a lot more usable space in the Sienna vs the Highlander, but the same/similar MPG. The Sienna is more practical as a family mover, in my opinion.

Telluride and Palisade are very nice vehicles. They have some great benefits - drive them and see if you like them. They also will not really compete with the usable space the Sienna offers. Check out the Kia Carnival as it seems to be a trendy choice in a minivan package.
 

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My wife and I were in the same boat. We originally wanted the highlander but after really comparing it with the Sienna, we opted for the Sienna. It was a better decision in our end as the Sienna provided all we needed and more. Both of us were very happy with our decision and there has been no regrets.
 

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We originally wanted the Highlander Hybrid but upon test driving a Sienna the dealer was kind enough to let me drive it home. My 2 kids (2 and 4) loved the sliding doors and so did we. The Sienna is probably a lot more space then we need with just 2 kids but who doesn't like having more space right?
 

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I have only looked at the Highlander at dealership, not driven it, or done anything with it.

Let me just add that for anyone with a serious need for 3rd row, people who are expected to seat in the 3rd row should be the ones making the call ;). I suspect seeing these two right next to one another will make it for a very quick decision.
 

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We originally wanted the Highlander Hybrid but upon test driving a Sienna the dealer was kind enough to let me drive it home. My 2 kids (2 and 4) loved the sliding doors and so did we. The Sienna is probably a lot more space then we need with just 2 kids but who doesn't like having more space right?
Hey, these old retirees with no kids enjoys the extra space. Kind of a nobrainer for us.
 

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The search process of us is a long story, but the conclusion is simple: if you have true demand for more than 5 ppl and wanna REAL third row which functional and kinda comfort, go with Sienna. ALL mid-size SUVs, include Atlas, cannot beat Sienna.
 

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I think the Highlander and Sienna are two different categories of vehicles. One is an SUV/Crossover, and the other is a Minivan. It all depends on what you want.

If you want looks, updated cockpit, dont use 3rd row, and limited trunk space is ok, then SUV/Crossovers like Highlander, Telluride and Palisade are really good options.

If you are not that into looks, but need a family mover, then minivans like Sienna, Odyssey, Pacifica, Carnival are your options.

Once you figure out which category fits your needs, then you can dive into further options. If your decision is a minivan, you cant go wrong with any option, but currently, I think Sienna and Carnival are really good. Carnival doesnt have an AWD option, just so you know.

All the best for you search!
 

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One more factor would be how often do you expect to sit in the parking lot waiting for kids? Sienna's super long slides make working or lounging in 2nd rows actually enjoyable experience! With Hybrid Mileage - RES - Ottomans - 1500W - , you can actually comfortably get the work done.
 

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The 2021 Sienna is one size larger than the Highlander: it has 7-8 seats vs. 5+2 seats and it's 204" long vs Highlander's 195". The only advantage the Highlander has, in my eyes, is the larger ground clearance, 8" vs. 6.5" (hope I remember the figures correctly).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and information. We do not need 5+ seating car for day to day with family of 4 (2 school going kids). We have a Honda Fit to drive around Town. When we have Parents and relatives visiting, we need a car to carry 6 people. Also we are looking for a bigger car for long drives during holidays. We are looking to buy bigger vehicle as a 2nd car. We need 2 cars when we start going for work again anyway.

I checked out Telluride. It has more space in 3rd row. Seat sits little higher and enough space to stretch the legs. Dealers are asking for MSRP and extra $1000 for some package. There is a wait list. It is not also Hybrid. It has combined MPG of 23. I wish Highlander hybrid comes with this much space in 3rd row.
 

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One more factor would be how often do you expect to sit in the parking lot waiting for kids? Sienna's super long slides make working or lounging in 2nd rows actually enjoyable experience! With Hybrid Mileage - RES - Ottomans - 1500W - , you can actually comfortably get the work done.
Very true. I probably ‘work’ out of my Sienna for about four to ten hours most weeks. Having the extra space is very nice. We have two highlanders as well. With our three kids we are always hauling them or their friends around. The extra space is nice. They well play with their Nintendo switch on the RES. It is a lot of fun! 🤗
 

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Was in the same boat and actually put down a deposit on a Highlander while waiting for the Sienna to show up.

A key difference is that the Highlander has Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 vs 2.0 in the Sienna. This video from Toyota explains the difference really well.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Was in the same boat and actually put down a deposit on a Highlander while waiting for the Sienna to show up.
Is cruise control auto speed adjustment based on the speed of vehicle ahead, not part of safety sense 2.0?
 

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Was in the same boat and actually put down a deposit on a Highlander while waiting for the Sienna to show up.

A key difference is that the Highlander has Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 vs 2.0 in the Sienna. This video from Toyota explains the difference really well.

It is definitely an improvement over 2.0.

I had seen this a while back. My biggest take away was that may be the included Yaw sensor would reduce or eliminate ping-pong while lane centering. The left turn and other features are helpful, but tech is growing so fast that any new features will be "Old" very soon, and in some cases are "Old" already compared to other more "Advanced" systems. In other words, this would not be my primary, or even secondary criteria. Inside space and long distance comfort was the reason I was looking for a Minivan. AWD + Hybrid Mileage made Sienna a no-brainer for me.


We have a Honda Fit to drive around Town. ...
I have nothing against Fit. However, if you do end up getting Sienna (vs other vehicles), I would bet a lot of money that it will become preferred choice for rear passengers, and also of the person who pays at the pump ;) (however, if you live in NYC or other densely populated area, my bet is off ;) )
 

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Is cruise control auto speed adjustment based on the speed of vehicle ahead, not part of safety sense 2.0?
It is indeed.

The left turn and other features are helpful, but tech is growing so fast that any new features will be "Old" very soon, and in some cases are "Old" already compared to other more "Advanced" systems.
Yup, another couple of years and your car will do everything to keep you and others safe. If you speed too much, or brake too hard, or tailgate, or change lanes erratically, you car can automatically issue you a digital ticket for reckless driving, bump up your insurance premium, and void your warranty. And if you do something spectacularly stupid, it will also automatically upload the video to YouTube :) ....
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I think the Highlander and Sienna are two different categories of vehicles. One is an SUV/Crossover, and the other is a Minivan. It all depends on what you want.

If you want looks, updated cockpit, dont use 3rd row, and limited trunk space is ok, then SUV/Crossovers like Highlander, Telluride and Palisade are really good options.

If you are not that into looks, but need a family mover, then minivans like Sienna, Odyssey, Pacifica, Carnival are your options.

Once you figure out which category fits your needs, then you can dive into further options. If your decision is a minivan, you cant go wrong with any option, but currently, I think Sienna and Carnival are really good. Carnival doesnt have an AWD option, just so you know.

All the best for you search!
If you need more SUV-like ground clearance, the Woodlands edition has a bit more than stock Sienna. Past that, there are 2” and 3” aftermarket kits from Journeys Offroad.

I suppose you would also need bigger wheels with the lift kit for true Highlander-like performance.
 
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