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I have never owned AWD anything in my life - is it worth it?
I understand AWD customers give up some options - i.e. foot rest in the second row and freezer- is this worth letting go of ?
Family of 4, 2 kids, one day trips couple of times a year
Live in NJ/NY area

Thank you !!
 

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Toyota Sienna 2021 AWD Platinum
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Disclosure : I am an owner of an AWD Platinum, and thus a biased opinion ;).

If I were to be living NJ/NY area, and knowing amount of snow you get, I would personally insist on AWD. At the same time, millions of cars in your area FWD and they are doing just great. So it is a personal choice. However, if the choice is between "AWD Minus 20Inch Wheels Minus Ottoman Seat" vs. "FWD Plus Nice 20inch(still plastic clad) wheels + Ottoman" I would go with AWD (Actually I did ;) ). Vacuums and Freezer were removed from all Siennas due to supply issues. With AWD, you won't have to pause or think twice to ever leave your home to get a coffee or skip classes for kids during snow. Most FWDs are very smart with traction control and other features, but at the end of the day, AWD is AWD. I just drove our AWD in couple of inches of snow and for me, it was a business as usual. AWD underpinnings kept the car steady on turns and as if there was no snow on the ground. (I know false sense of security is not good, but as long as you're aware of it ;) ) If you have kids learning to drive soon, or spouse who avoids driving in snow, they may be very comfortable in AWD too.
 

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Also note that awd that toyota has is eAWD. The back engine runs independently when some criteria is met. There are some videos where toyota rav4 didn't do a good job of activating it in conditions that is consistent when awd should activate (like stuck wheels etc), while honda pilot did well. It is however definitely better than regular fwd when dealing with challenging road conditions (that's true because even if it triggers half the times it should, that's still better than not triggering).
 

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Consumer Reports did not evaluate the reliability of the AWD as well when I bought mine (used) in 2013. The FWD was very high on their list. That was years ago though.

Based on their ratings, I decided on a (FWD) 04 Sienna XLE in 2013 with 52K miles. Currently have 299k miles on it.
I am very happy with the reliability.

Decided on Michelin Defender tires. They seem to do really well in Ohio slush, ice, snow, freezing rain, etc.
 

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I’m looking at the 2021 because of the hybrid and advanced safety features. We have a 2011 Limited now with AWD and ottoman seats- my wife needs the leg rest because of knee problem. So I would like to have both AWD and the ottomans. Also would like to remove one second row seat for traveling. The non-removable seats and the lack of AWD/ottoman make it a difficult decision. I love the way the AWD drives.


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Living in NY/NJ I'd opt for the AWD personally. I have the AWD Limited, and I'm in Minnesota. It's been phenomenal. I worked in Atlantic City for a few years and experienced some snow/ice events that would be no problem at all for this AWD Sienna. Most of the time I know you don't NEED it, but for $500 it's sure nice to have when you DO need it.
 

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The likely reason ottoman didn't make it to AWD is weight. You can get after market ottoman and just use them in your car. Not as amazing as the oem ones, but definitely doable. You can also find luck with the service department to install it for you if you want.
 

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I am in sunny Southern California and I got AWD. Its the difference form being stuck somewhere or getting home.

Try to get to snow as much as we can. It ends up being 2-3x a year and I'll do dispersed camping with the van.

I don't want to limit where our adventure van can take us especially for the small additional cost, and minimal mpg hit. You can easily add an ottoman made for a living room for long drives and a dometic fridge/freezer from 18L to 95L that you can run off a PLB40 battery so its running when the car is off.
 

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FWIW, base price difference between Platinum AWD and FWD is $560 ($49900 vs. $50460).

For the Limited, the difference is more pronounced. FWD $46,700 vs. AWD $48,500. That's $1800.

However, due to supply shortages, it doesn't always translate to $560 for Platinums. Platinums are hard to find, and AWDs are even harder. Your OTD between AWD and FWD will definately be more than $560, but still worth it if you ask me.

Btw, if you need something quick, and you're in NJ, you might want to drive down here. Koons Toyota in VA or Annapolois, MD has gigantic stock of Siennas in all verities, over 200 of them.
 

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The likely reason ottoman didn't make it to AWD is weight. You can get after market ottoman and just use them in your car. Not as amazing as the oem ones, but definitely doable. You can also find luck with the service department to install it for you if you want.
The ottomans are listed at $375 each in Toyota Parts List. It looks like a complete assembly.
 

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‘21 Plat AWD owner - so my review is biased. AWD is also useful in rainy situations as well. But we wanted heated middle row seats and heated steering wheel, and (I think) that’s only available with Platinum.
Be aware that a spare tire is an option that has to come from factory. The interior cabin mounting area is built differently, you can’t just add a spare tire. I had a salesman check the current production queue and found the van we wanted. We did wait 4 weeks.
 

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This may be an unpopular opinion but I have to summarize that the AWD has more power and what really helps (torque) than the FWD. The eAWD is decoupled from the front engine/motors. It is independently controlled by computer when to start. Toyota product brief shows the split in power that in the eAWD, the rear motor itself has additional power.
Given that the front engine/motor provides the same power in all vans, when the rear motor kicks in, it has to be an addition. It may even be modulated on the eAWD to keep torque even, but non-the-less, the eAWD has more power.
Prior to production, an internal letter mentioned the van to have near 300hp but has been reduced to say 243-245 “net” power.
Another item is 4 wheel traction control. I’ve only tested AWD trims. While driving them I took a hard turn and felt the wheel vibrate with beeps showing traction control. Does the FWD do this? I don’t know how effective it is with just brakes.
 

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This may be an unpopular opinion but I have to summarize that the AWD has more power and what really helps (torque) than the FWD. The eAWD is decoupled from the front engine/motors. It is independently controlled by computer when to start. Toyota product brief shows the split in power that in the eAWD, the rear motor itself has additional power.
Given that the front engine/motor provides the same power in all vans, when the rear motor kicks in, it has to be an addition. It may even be modulated on the eAWD to keep torque even, but non-the-less, the eAWD has more power.
Prior to production, an internal letter mentioned the van to have near 300hp but has been reduced to say 243-245 “net” power.
This is accurate, but there are videos of it not triggering in situations it should trigger.


See this (note: my previous comment said rav4. I was wrong it was highlander hybrid awd vs pilot).

Companies always like to brag if they can really brag. If they stopped using 300hp there is likely a good reason why.
 

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This may be an unpopular opinion but I have to summarize that the AWD has more power and what really helps (torque) than the FWD. The eAWD is decoupled from the front engine/motors. It is independently controlled by computer when to start. Toyota product brief shows the split in power that in the eAWD, the rear motor itself has additional power.
Given that the front engine/motor provides the same power in all vans, when the rear motor kicks in, it has to be an addition. It may even be modulated on the eAWD to keep torque even, but non-the-less, the eAWD has more power.
Prior to production, an internal letter mentioned the van to have near 300hp but has been reduced to say 243-245 “net” power.
Another item is 4 wheel traction control. I’ve only tested AWD trims. While driving them I took a hard turn and felt the wheel vibrate with beeps showing traction control. Does the FWD do this? I don’t know how effective it is with just brakes.

Interesting. Seems logical. I wonder why it is officially not in the count than?

Anyways, looks like the thread starter went AWOL, but rest of us are having fun with it ;)
 

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Prior to production, an internal letter mentioned the van to have near 300hp but has been reduced to say 243-245 “net” power.
Interesting... I read/heard that the rear motor is 40kW which equals about 54hp. So... Toyota’s rating of 245hp + rear motor 54hp = 299hp or very “near 300hp”.

-Mike
 

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Interesting. Seems logical. I wonder why it is officially not in the count than?

Anyways, looks like the thread starter went AWOL, but rest of us are having fun with it ;)
They controlled it to make it fair for the FWD model who's output is 243hp - my guess.
Yeah I'm sorry about taking this thread but I thought its interesting to note it since the OP did ask about differences between AWD and FWD.
 

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This is accurate, but there are videos of it not triggering in situations it should trigger.


See this (note: my previous comment said rav4. I was wrong it was highlander hybrid awd vs pilot).

Companies always like to brag if they can really brag. If they stopped using 300hp there is likely a good reason why.
Yes, one of the downsides of the eAWD is that in some situations it didn't trigger.
However since this is all computer controlled, it can be adjusted. I'm not holding out for that, knowing how much it took Toyota to bring Carplay update into 2018 models.
 

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They controlled it to make it fair for the FWD model who's output is 243hp - my guess.
Yeah I'm sorry about taking this thread but I thought its interesting to note it since the OP did ask about differences between AWD and FWD.
Can you explain what you mean by controlled it?
 
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