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I really like the sound of 30+MPG on the new hybrid sienna, but this is a deal breaker for me. My '08 sienna still has a few more years left in it, and I hope they fix this in the next couple of years. Otherwise, if I can't occasionally stretch to carry more cargo, I'd go for an alternative vehicle w/ good safety, either a Rav4/highlander or perhaps a model Y
 

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On the day I got my 2001 Odyssey the 3rd row bench was removed and has been in the basement ever since. 99% of the time the two second row seats are in the garage or basement. I'm hoping I will be able to remove the Sienna second row seats. I don't care how much of a PITA it is. My concern is unplugging the airbags. Will the van's computers think something is wrong? If so can I fix it with a resister to fool the computer into thinking the airbag is attached.
Right before the 2021 was announced I was getting ready to talk to a mod place in CA that coverts gas cars to electric. I was going to ask if they could add an electric motor for the rear wheels in a new Odyssey and have it sync properly. Would void new car warranty and probably cost a fortune. But I liked the idea of not having a driveshaft to the rear wheels. And then the 2021 announcement is made and I'm thrilled. But the seats? I'm in snow country and haul skis and bikes (summer time) inside. Also hauled 4'x8' wonder board for flooring project. It's just asinine that they would not make removable seats.
 

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If they're like some other cars, if you remove the seats and unplug the airbag harness, it may throw a code that would then need to be cleared. It likely shouldn't interfere with the front airbag operations, etc. You may just have an airbag warning on your dash all the time. That's just a guess with current information.
 

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in a bmw, if the airbag light is on- all other airbags are disabled so I am pretty sure Toyota is the same. Ask me how I know
 

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If the seats are removed, where are the passengers going to sit? 80% of its users will never think about removing the seats anyway.
Also for the 1st time Sienna will be build and sold through official channels in China where nobody uses a minivan like a pickup truck.
So it makes sense.
 

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On the day I got my 2001 Odyssey the 3rd row bench was removed and has been in the basement ever since. 99% of the time the two second row seats are in the garage or basement. I'm hoping I will be able to remove the Sienna second row seats. I don't care how much of a PITA it is. My concern is unplugging the airbags. Will the van's computers think something is wrong? If so can I fix it with a resister to fool the computer into thinking the airbag is attached.
Right before the 2021 was announced I was getting ready to talk to a mod place in CA that coverts gas cars to electric. I was going to ask if they could add an electric motor for the rear wheels in a new Odyssey and have it sync properly. Would void new car warranty and probably cost a fortune. But I liked the idea of not having a driveshaft to the rear wheels. And then the 2021 announcement is made and I'm thrilled. But the seats? I'm in snow country and haul skis and bikes (summer time) inside. Also hauled 4'x8' wonder board for flooring project. It's just asinine that they would not make removable seats.
I totally agree. I have a 2003 SUV and the first thing that came out were the 3rd row seats. Over 300K miles later it has been great for flexibility. We now have large dogs and older parents so getting in and out of Sienna would be much easier. We waited for the hybrid version with the upgraded driver safety enhancements. We never dreamed they would make the middle seats non-removable! I want it to replace my SUV so I can haul what I need yet have the middle seat option for parents and long trips. Back in May I sent an email to Toyota asking that they make an option to allow for removable seats. Their response is they did not know what the final options would be until it went into production. If they see people not buying because of this drawback, they will adjust to compete with Chrysler and Honda.
 

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Then it's not "User removable". Just like new laptop have non-removable batteries. Sure you can take apart the laptop and remove the battery. But that is the nature of "non removable".

A minivan without removable 2nd row seats would be a no-sale for me. Just like a minivan without fold flat 3rd row would be a no-sale as well.
 

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No-sale here too! I was looking forward to the vehicle release, but I won't buy one without removable 2nd row seats. Time to research Odyssey and Pacifica now
 

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Waited a long time and was really looking forward to buying the 2021 Sienna. What a disappointment. Count me among those who will not be buying a minivan with non-removable 2nd row seats. I need to haul things, not just people. Everyone I know with a minivan does too. Did Toyota do any market research before making this colossal mistake?
 

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Waited a long time and was really looking forward to buying the 2021 Sienna. What a disappointment. Count me among those who will not be buying a minivan with non-removable 2nd-row seats. I need to haul things, not just people. Everyone I know with a minivan does too. Did Toyota do any market research before making this colossal mistake?
I believe this has been stated in this thread before is because the seats will have airbags. That being said, it is likely they added this in order to pass future side-impact testing that is going to get more stringent. IIHS announced back in November it was going to change it's testing and scoring methods. Minivans among other vehicles that currently score Good may be taken off the Top Pick/Pick+ list once the new testing goes into effect.
IIHS prepares to launch new, more challenging side crash test

Pushing the second-row seat against the first row will probably still be around that of a 6-foot bed truck, granted you won't be able to fit 8-foot sheet goods in the 2021 Sienna anymore nor be able to extend them past the rear hatch like you can in a pickup. I think Toyota is trying to future proof its safety and be proactive as they would likely sell fewer Minivans with a poor safety rating than those that must have the second row removable.
 

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Admirable that Toyota is improving safety and is innovating. Just seems that their brilliant engineers and designers could figure a way to place the thoracic airbags in the door and positioned to be effective - or allow for an easy, fool-proof disconnect of the electrical hookup to the airbag between the chassis and seat.
 

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Not sure where the butt hurt is coming from about the 2nd row seats. If you need to haul something longer than 6ft, put it on the roof. Too heavy? Invest in a utility trailer. You obviously need it if you're regularly hauling stuff that large. It will tow 3,500 lbs.

Personally, I'd rather have the side airbags that will protect my family better in a side impact collision.
 

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This is an interesting read and have some new info regarding hauling 4x8 sheets: 2021 Toyota Sienna walkaround: 10 must-know minivan facts - Roadshow
However, all that origami is still not quite enough to allow the Sienna to transport 4-by-8 sheets of plywood or drywall flat on the floor, though it can fit them. They have to be slid in at an angle and slot between the second-row chairs, which is a bit more difficult.
I would say this is good enough for me as a weekend woodworker for occasional usage. And I'm sure ppl will figure out how to remove the 2nd row unofficially.
 

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Basically, this is saying that you would have to turn the 4x8 sheets of plywood on their side, slotting them at an angle so they miss the large center console, with the front ends up against the driver or passenger seat, and the back ends up against the left or right side of the rear cabin.

I'm curious if the reviewer actually tried this, or if he/she is surmising this from their review of the interior space of the van. One thing for sure, that camera based rear view mirror world sure come in handy if this is how you were to carry plywood in this vehicle, since loading plywood like this would block out almost all of your rear view.
 

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The 4 X 8 plywood narrative, to me, is Toyota trying to do damage control knowing the outrage this is causing already even before the car is launched. Yes, you can, with some effort and skill, put the plywood at an angle but this leaves no room for anything else, as the plywood takes up all the cargo space (compared to if it is laying flat ) so the van is useless for carrying any other cargo. Too bad there is not a damn thing they can do about it, until at least a mid-life cycle refresh which is 3-4 years down the road. Too bad also Toyota did not learn from Honda's mistake in the redesign of 2018 Honda Odyssey, same issue with the second row seats unable to fold flat, had to the pushed at an angle to rest against the front passenger/driver's backrests, thus greatly cutting cargo space and flexibility. Honda took to heart the feedback they got from customers about this (together with the ACC cutting off prematurely below a certain speed), and have now rectified this in the 2021 refresh, this is important update enough that it is mentioned in their press release as a selling point.
 

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My guess would be it is more likely the person that wrote the above linked article seeing this thread and incorporating the question posed into their article. I doubt Toyota is that concerned over a few lost sales in a dying segment for those that need to occasionally transport sheets of plywood. I am still surprised they chose to even refresh the Sienna.

 

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...I would say this is good enough for me as a weekend woodworker for occasional usage. And I'm sure ppl will figure out how to remove the 2nd row unofficially.
Someone who works for Toyota posted in another group that the 2nd row seats can be removed by unscrewing a few bolts and disconnecting a wire harness. So, it will be possible and hopefully simple.
 

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Someone who works for Toyota posted in another group that the 2nd row seats can be removed by unscrewing a few bolts and disconnecting a wire harness. So, it will be possible and hopefully simple.
And have the airbag light on? Or you will also need to install a dummy airbag module to that harness.

I very highly doubt Toyota will have the van programmed to know the seat has been removed and then not show the airbag light.

-Mike

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