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Am I the only one that thinks this is ridiculous? This would kill an entire market segment. People WANT to camp in their vans, and they also want to carry cargo. They announced a stellar tow rating for the hybrid, which is great. But how could they be so short sighted by not allowing the middle row to be removed?

One of the amazing things about the Prius hybrid was the ability to sleep in the cabin with climate control. (#hotelprius) Seems like Toyota didn't pay attention to this.

Goodbye dog owners, car campers, or anyone who wants to carry anything in their van.

???!!!
Toyota dropped the ball and then crushed the ball. What were they thinking. No prime, no solar roof panels... can live with. But none removable seats. Do they even know the purpose of a minvan?
Van Defined.."a medium-sized motor vehicle with a boxy shape and high roof, used for transporting goods or passengers." They are friggin morons. People like to use it to move big stuff, sleep it. I sometimes leave my 2017 sienna seats in the garage for long periods of time. It's less often I carry more than 5 people than I carry something big. It's a deal killer for a lot more than 5 percent. Honda is laughing.
 

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Let's face it. Minivan sales have been tanking for a number of years now. Sales in the segment were down 15% in 2019 and 21% for Q1 2020. Many manufacturers have dropped out of the segment altogether. The best selling minivan is the Dodge Caravan, which ended production last week. Dodge Caravan sales were primarily to rental companies, which are all challenged these days (Hertz just filed for bankruptcy protection). My point is that Toyota does not have that much incentive to attempt to capture a very small (those wanting removable seats) market share of a decreasing market.

Most people gave the Gen 3 a hard time due to the lagging safety scores, airbags in the seats should fix that (you can't please everyone all the time).

The other key aspect is that a part of the 2021 redesign was the Uber/Toyota self driving partnership. As a self-driving Uber, the new Sienna seems well positioned (lots of passenger room plus room for luggage).

I have removed all seats a few times in my past 20 years of owning Siennas. But the total count is probably less than 15. If I had to in the future, it is cheap enough to rent a small U-Haul van for local transport or trailer for longer distances.
 

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I feel like this must be an oversight. No way Toyota is going to ostracize people like that.


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Unfortunately they did it before, when they introduced the non removable second row seat trolleys.
I have a 2018 XLE and I removed my trolleys, but it was a lot of work. I wish Toyota would introduce a cargo minivan.
 

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Let's face it. Minivan sales have been tanking for a number of years now. Sales in the segment were down 15% in 2019 and 21% for Q1 2020. Many manufacturers have dropped out of the segment altogether. The best selling minivan is the Dodge Caravan, which ended production last week. Dodge Caravan sales were primarily to rental companies, which are all challenged these days (Hertz just filed for bankruptcy protection). My point is that Toyota does not have that much incentive to attempt to capture a very small (those wanting removable seats) market share of a decreasing market.

Most people gave the Gen 3 a hard time due to the lagging safety scores, airbags in the seats should fix that (you can't please everyone all the time).

The other key aspect is that a part of the 2021 redesign was the Uber/Toyota self driving partnership. As a self-driving Uber, the new Sienna seems well positioned (lots of passenger room plus room for luggage).

I have removed all seats a few times in my past 20 years of owning Siennas. But the total count is probably less than 15. If I had to in the future, it is cheap enough to rent a small U-Haul van for local transport or trailer for longer distances.
Just don't buy a Platinum or Limited model as a factory hitch isn't available. Whether or not you can add an after market hitch, I don't know.
 

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Speaking of folding vs. non-folding second row seats, Toyota manages to make each generation of Sienna have a worse design. I have a 2010 AWD Limited with low miles and will keep it as long as it keeps running. One reason: the second row captain's chairs tip and fold forward with minimum impact on space, and the lower cushion under-seat bottom folds forward and serves as a rugged buffer against items in the cargo area. The current generation does not fold and then tip up, but rather clam shells, leaving the easily damamged upholstered second row seat back to serve as the cargo buffer. The latest design (2021) is ridiculous. I could live with non-removable, but if they are also not foldable, I wouldn't buy one.
 

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Am I the only one that thinks this is ridiculous? This would kill an entire market segment. People WANT to camp in their vans, and they also want to carry cargo. They announced a stellar tow rating for the hybrid, which is great. But how could they be so short sighted by not allowing the middle row to be removed?

One of the amazing things about the Prius hybrid was the ability to sleep in the cabin with climate control. (#hotelprius) Seems like Toyota didn't pay attention to this.

Goodbye dog owners, car campers, or anyone who wants to carry anything in their van.

???!!!
I AGREE 100%. Having a minivan without removable middle row is a deal breaker. Come on Toyota, fix this!
 

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Yes, I believe that at least 5% of minivan market segment likes to remove the middle row seats for dogs, car-camping, cargo hauling, napping on road trips, etc. Considering how much of a response this post received, I think that you are wrong. And given how popular #hotelprius is, I also think that a large percentage of hybrid-buyers wish to utilize the on/off climate control for car-camping. Just check out the priusdwellers subreddit if you disagree.
You are so right. When we go on longer trips with the Prius V and the dog it is so nice being able to leave the climate control on for the dog when we stop to eat. Van camping is such a hot thing now and the Sienna Hybrid would be wonderful without the second row seats. There are even companies building specific kits for the Sienna to retrofit it as a camper.
 

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I agree, why not at least make it fold all the way forward? And disappointed that the third row mechanicals hasn't changed to cleaner looking ones, like the other minivans.
 

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So disappointed about non-removable seats! This is a huge deal breaker for me. I hope they make it an option to forgo the side airbags seats and order the van with plain removable seats. I have a feeling that a Pacifica will be in my future. a Shame Toyota messed this up so badly.
 

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Maybe IIHS and/or NHTSA are increasing their standards in the future and Toyota is just getting ahead of it. In 2019 the Honda Odyssey and Pacifica were rated IIHS Top Picks. For 2020 according to IIHS "No minivans or pickups qualify for either award so far this year. That could change if automakers make midyear production changes and nominate the vehicle for testing." Although I think that is due to the headlights requirements and the low scores from all minivans. If side impact ratings get tougher, then other manufacturers will have to implement something as well if it lowers side crash scores without them. I doubt it will be an option to omit the airbag seats, since its a safety item. I'm guessing they couldn't put them in the doors since if they went off it may affect opening the sliding door.
 

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The Sienna had issues in 2018 with the small overlap tests done by IIHS. All vans were good in side crashes.

I would also be surprised with the previous cost cutting moves by Toyota ( absence of lighted lock switches on the previous Gen RAV4 Limited) and with previous non-availability of side curtain airbags on the Canadian Toyata Matrix (eventhough it was offered on it's twin the Pontiac Vibe), that Toyota would be jumping on additional costly safety items and without a good reason.

I wonder (speculation alert) whether some designer who never owned a minivan, thought that minivans should be "cool" and pitched to Toyota that "their minivan should have lounging middle seats with ottomans and thorax airbags to make you feel really safe and comfortable. It will be so cool to do that and we will be the only van that has it."

One of the key advantages of the minivan is the ability to handle so many different functions that simply can not be done with an SUV. Removable or stowable middle seats are a big part of that functionality.

Everything about the 2021 Sienna sounded great and I was ready to buy one, till I heard about the middle seats.

Sigh.
 

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So the 2nd row can't be removed on ANY trim level? Or just the Limited and Platinum with the ottoman style seats?
To my understanding the second row seats cannot be removed on any trim level due to the new thorax air bags built into the seats on all trim levels. Toyota doesn't want people removing seats with airbags is my guess.

Alex on Autos (one of best car reviewers in my opinion) discusses it toward the end of this video:
 
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