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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening, everyone. My wife and I have a 2017 Sienna Limited FWD that we've really enjoyed and we're considering whether to upgrade to a Gen 4 Platinum. I was wondering if anyone else here with a late Gen 3 has made the jump yet.

Obviously the fuel mileage is a massive upgrade, but what about the comfort? Is it roomier? Quieter? My only real major complaints with our '17 have been the lackluster navigation, and the poor sound quality from the speakerphone (when my wife calls me from the van it always sounds like she's in a wind tunnel). Admittedly they're not terrible faults, but that navigation system in particular is very irksome for such an expensive vehicle.
 

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In terms of things you have listed out, it is definitely an upgrade for sure. The main thing you will lose out on is the feel and power of a V6. Tech and other such will definitely be a huge difference in usability, and the new system lets you use Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
 

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Good evening, everyone. My wife and I have a 2017 Sienna Limited FWD that we've really enjoyed and we're considering whether to upgrade to a Gen 4 Platinum. I was wondering if anyone else here with a late Gen 3 has made the jump yet.

Obviously the fuel mileage is a massive upgrade, but what about the comfort? Is it roomier? Quieter? My only real major complaints with our '17 have been the lackluster navigation, and the poor sound quality from the speakerphone (when my wife calls me from the van it always sounds like she's in a wind tunnel). Admittedly they're not terrible faults, but that navigation system in particular is very irksome for such an expensive vehicle.
If your 17 has toyota safety sense, auto braking, adaptive cruise etc I would wait to upgrade, give toyota time to get the bugs out and maybe come out with phev and safety 2.5.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If your 17 has toyota safety sense, auto braking, adaptive cruise etc I would wait to upgrade, give toyota time to get the bugs out and maybe come out with phev and safety 2.5.
Our '17 does not have any Safety Sense features. I believe that '18 was the first year for that. I think that it would be nice to have, but how 'buggy' are we talking about the current iteration being?

For my own vehicle, I recently moved from a '19 Honda Accord to a '20 Honda Passport, both of which feature the "Honda Sensing" safety suite. Although I much prefer the Passport on nearly every front, the implementation of the safety tech on the Accord was leaps and bounds better than that of the Passport, despite the Accord being a year older. I had assumed that this kind of tech would get year-by-year updates across the the entire manufacturer's lineup, but I know now that it doesn't work like that. The Sensing suite on the Passport is so poor that I wish it could either be updated or removed entirely.

I'd love to hear a comparison between Honda Sensing and the Toyota Safety Sense in the new Sienna.
 

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The safety suite in the new sienna is just fine. The biggest complaint is that the highway lane tracing assist lane centering and steering assist features (features active with the dynamic radar cruise, but can be deactivated) sometimes send the van into an steering overcorrection loop that feels unnerving. But this is easily remedied by, you know, driving the car. Don't expect it to be a tesla autopilot and you'll be fine.

Personally I have not experienced that at all and love all the features of safety sense.
 

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There are times that I am amused by such questions. I tend to change vehicles VERY infrequently, usually because they wear out or something breaks that would be impractical to repair. I also tend to 'customize' my vehicles to my preferences, a process that might take a year or three. That really makes it impractical to 'upgrade' every three or four years.

I just upgraded from an '05 Sienna LE AWD to an '18 XLE AWD. Major upgrades on all accounts. Nav system? Yes, it has it, but I don't use it. I have found that you have to be stopped to do ANYTHING with it, which makes it hard to find a gas station while traveling unless you stop on the side of the freeway. I have had the Apple Car Play upgrade, making it possible to use Waze on the screen. But I don't use Waze for navigation, either, it is more of a 'situational awareness' thing with its hazard alerts. For navigation, I actually use a standalone Garmin GPS that sits on the dash. It is there for more than one reason, though. If I am planning a multi-day trip to visit specific places, I have not seen a single nav unit in a car that will let me pre-plan the route at home, on my computer, then load it into the car's nav unit. You HAVE to use a GPS for that.

Safety ratings? I don't know how my van rates, and quite frankly, I don't care. Is it worth 'upgrading' your van because the new one is safer? How much of an upgrade in ratings is worth the extra cost of the new van?

Fuel mileage increase? Again, how much fuel will you be saving? In this case (Sienna), it's considerable, but let's do a little math. 15,000 miles (yearly average) at 24 mpg will use 625 gallons of gas. Gas is about $2.75 around here, so that will cost you about $1718. The same 15,000 miles at 36 mpg will use 416 gallons, at a cost of $1145. You will save about $572 per year on gas. What is the cost difference between the two vans? How long will it take to make up that difference?

Some people do insist on having the latest of everything, I am happy to keep the familiar stuff that I have.

.
 

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There are times that I am amused by such questions. I tend to change vehicles VERY infrequently, usually because they wear out or something breaks that would be impractical to repair. I also tend to 'customize' my vehicles to my preferences, a process that might take a year or three. That really makes it impractical to 'upgrade' every three or four years.

I just upgraded from an '05 Sienna LE AWD to an '18 XLE AWD. Major upgrades on all accounts. Nav system? Yes, it has it, but I don't use it. I have found that you have to be stopped to do ANYTHING with it, which makes it hard to find a gas station while traveling unless you stop on the side of the freeway. I have had the Apple Car Play upgrade, making it possible to use Waze on the screen. But I don't use Waze for navigation, either, it is more of a 'situational awareness' thing with its hazard alerts. For navigation, I actually use a standalone Garmin GPS that sits on the dash. It is there for more than one reason, though. If I am planning a multi-day trip to visit specific places, I have not seen a single nav unit in a car that will let me pre-plan the route at home, on my computer, then load it into the car's nav unit. You HAVE to use a GPS for that.

Safety ratings? I don't know how my van rates, and quite frankly, I don't care. Is it worth 'upgrading' your van because the new one is safer? How much of an upgrade in ratings is worth the extra cost of the new van?

Fuel mileage increase? Again, how much fuel will you be saving? In this case (Sienna), it's considerable, but let's do a little math. 15,000 miles (yearly average) at 24 mpg will use 625 gallons of gas. Gas is about $2.75 around here, so that will cost you about $1718. The same 15,000 miles at 36 mpg will use 416 gallons, at a cost of $1145. You will save about $572 per year on gas. What is the cost difference between the two vans? How long will it take to make up that difference?

Some people do insist on having the latest of everything, I am happy to keep the familiar stuff that I have.

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That is a great and logical post. Many people don't come close to 15,000 miles a year.

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Gas mileage is great. When you drive 500 miles a year though like my wife it's kinda negligible!

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That is a great and logical post. Many people don't come close to 15,000 miles a year.

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Yeah, I do about 5000 miles per year with my 2004 Sienna so fuel mileage savings will not be a factor at all (maybe a savings of $200 per year), will take me about 10 years to break even..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
There are times that I am amused by such questions. I tend to change vehicles VERY infrequently, usually because they wear out or something breaks that would be impractical to repair. I also tend to 'customize' my vehicles to my preferences, a process that might take a year or three. That really makes it impractical to 'upgrade' every three or four years.
[...]
Some people do insist on having the latest of everything, I am happy to keep the familiar stuff that I have.
Perhaps you didn't mean for your response to sound so condescending, but boy did that ever sound like a 'get off my lawn' type of monologue. I'm glad that you like to keep your vehicles for a long time, but nearly nothing you typed there was relevant to what I asked; how does the new 4th gen Sienna compare to the 3rd gen. Your judgement on my vehicular purchasing habits is both uninformed and unsolicited.
 

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Perhaps you didn't mean for your response to sound so condescending, but boy did that ever sound like a 'get off my lawn' type of monologue. I'm glad that you like to keep your vehicles for a long time, but nearly nothing you typed there was relevant to what I asked; how does the new 4th gen Sienna compare to the 3rd gen. Your judgement on my vehicular purchasing habits is both uninformed and unsolicited.
I agree. I was waiting for the relevance.
I'll answer your question, as I just upgraded from the 2017 XLE Premium to the 2021 Platinum. First, I'll comment on the two that you mentioned. Navigation is SO much better because I can now use Apply carplay (which for me has been a game changer being able to quickly and accurately respond to texts and make calls, easily navigate listening to tidal). The quality for phone calls I noticed right away!
I drive 25,000 miles a year or so. So the gas mileage was a big pull for us. So far I get an additional 200 miles per tank.
I believe it to be roomier, but then again with the platinum I got upgraded seats. So it may be a trim level thing and not the generation. The only thing I dislike it the arm rest is higher and not moveable in the 2021. For me, it is a little uncomfortable. The road noise is about the same, but being a hybrid the car itself is quite a bit more quiet!
The safety features are so much better in the 2021. I am loving all of the cameras, the digital rear view mirror and birds eye view. The heads up display makes me feel like I am taking my eyes off the road a lot less. The liftgate side doors have already come in handy numerous times.
A few things I have not seen people mention that are total upgrades for this van- the seat belts are fixed on the second row. Since 2/3 kids are still in car seats this is a total game changer. I can now move the kids seats forward and backward without losing slack and having to adjust the carseats! My son is 6 and in the back row and has complimented the extra room back there. It isn't a whole lot, but enough to make a difference to him! The center console is much more user friendly. As I said above, apply car play has been a total game changer for me. Many other vehicles have it so people don't think it is a big deal, but so far I have really enjoyed having it. Even though I paid a lot more than I did in 2017 and I now have a car payment again, I am incredibly happy I went with it. The other plus is I feel like it looks a lot better on the outside, less like a minivan. I hope this helps!
 

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datsa noydb's post covered some relevant items to consider in any automotive 'upgrade' discussion. We went thru this too, when going from a 2008 LE (gen-2) to a 2015 Limited Premium (gen-3) in 2016. Its the 'wants' vs 'needs' discussion. In the end it often comes down more to 'I want something new' than an essential need situation. We are all different, and a lot of this will come down to your ability to part with $40 large.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I agree. I was waiting for the relevance.
I'll answer your question, as I just upgraded from the 2017 XLE Premium to the 2021 Platinum. First, I'll comment on the two that you mentioned. Navigation is SO much better because I can now use Apply carplay (which for me has been a game changer being able to quickly and accurately respond to texts and make calls, easily navigate listening to tidal). The quality for phone calls I noticed right away!
I drive 25,000 miles a year or so. So the gas mileage was a big pull for us. So far I get an additional 200 miles per tank.
I believe it to be roomier, but then again with the platinum I got upgraded seats. So it may be a trim level thing and not the generation. The only thing I dislike it the arm rest is higher and not moveable in the 2021. For me, it is a little uncomfortable. The road noise is about the same, but being a hybrid the car itself is quite a bit more quiet!
The safety features are so much better in the 2021. I am loving all of the cameras, the digital rear view mirror and birds eye view. The heads up display makes me feel like I am taking my eyes off the road a lot less. The liftgate side doors have already come in handy numerous times.
A few things I have not seen people mention that are total upgrades for this van- the seat belts are fixed on the second row. Since 2/3 kids are still in car seats this is a total game changer. I can now move the kids seats forward and backward without losing slack and having to adjust the carseats! My son is 6 and in the back row and has complimented the extra room back there. It isn't a whole lot, but enough to make a difference to him! The center console is much more user friendly. As I said above, apply car play has been a total game changer for me. Many other vehicles have it so people don't think it is a big deal, but so far I have really enjoyed having it. Even though I paid a lot more than I did in 2017 and I now have a car payment again, I am incredibly happy I went with it. The other plus is I feel like it looks a lot better on the outside, less like a minivan. I hope this helps!
Thank you so much. This is exactly the type of information that I was looking for.

I've got Car Play in my Honda Passport and I agree that it's a game changer. It's frustrating that auto makers didn't adopt this and Android Auto sooner. The maps on our 2017 are woefully outdated, even after recently updating them to the current version. What's worse is the bizarre routing choices that the nav system makes. We use the nav in our Sienna a lot, and it really has been a bit of a sore spot in an otherwise great van. We take quite a few road trips and we like to explore while we're doing it, so this really is an important feature for us.

The only downside that I can really see so far would be the lack of removable 2nd row seats. I know there's a workaround, but I still think this was a mistake for Toyota to omit that feature. Our current Sienna has damn near pickup truck room in the back when the seats are removed, and we've used that capacity many many times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
datsa noydb's post covered some relevant items to consider in any automotive 'upgrade' discussion. Its the 'wants' vs 'needs' discussion. In the end it often comes down more to 'I want something new' than an essential need situation. We are all different, and a lot of this will come down to your ability to part with $40 large.
Sure, however it seems to bring with it a lot of inference, assumption, and judgement. When someone opens with "I am amused by such questions" and concludes with "Some people do insist on having the latest of everything, I am happy to keep the familiar stuff that I have", they're not being a helpful forum member, they being smug and preachy.
 

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It could have been said with more tact, but the content was, in my view, relevant to the discussion.
 

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Sure, however it seems to bring with it a lot of inference, assumption, and judgement. When someone opens with "I am amused by such questions" and concludes with "Some people do insist on having the latest of everything, I am happy to keep the familiar stuff that I have", they're not being a helpful forum member, they being smug and preachy.
Well, you did ask for opinions on whether it was worth buying a Sienna that's four model years newer than what you currently have. This is an Internet forum on which you don't always get the answers you want or like. Heck, I'm sort of amused by such questions too. The gen 4 Sienna is obviously very close in size to the gen 3. No one but you can determine if it's handsfree phone system works to your satisfaction or if the vehicle is quiet enough for you. All people can give you are their opinions.

Here's my opinion for you to chew on and to spit out if you don't like it.

We've usually followed "the big bang" method. 30 years ago we replaced our cars to get a driver airbag, traction control and ABS. 10 to 12 years later we replaced our vehicles to get a front passenger airbag, side airbags, stability control and far better ABS. 10 to 12 years after that we replaced our vehicles mainly to get automatic emergency braking (PCS) and adaptive cruise control (DRCC). We still have those two vehicles ... 2012 Prius v wagon and 2014 Sienna Limited.

The next two vehicles replacements are planned for the 2022 calendar year: 1) A plug-in hybrid Lexus NX that will be mainly used by my wife and used by both of us when we need to carry more than two people. 2) A Corvette for me which will be used when there's no more than just the two of us and on most road trips. I found out last week that I have to wait until September 2022 to get AEB and ACC on the Corvette. I'm disappointed but patient.

Part of "the big bang" that comes with our next two vehicles will be wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We are NOT going back to plugging phones in. The plug-in hybrid will be my wife's "big bang" since she's a frugal CPA and loves the idea of rarely needing to buy gasoline. My "big bang" will be going from driving a minivan to a convertible sports car every day.

Regarding the 2021 Sienna, one of big issues with it is that it's not a plug-in hybrid. We don't want to replace one traditional hybrid with another. And the 2021 Sienna has only wired CarPlay and Android Auto - not going there. I'm also disappointed that the vacuum and refrigerator are no longer available. The fridge was especially appealing to my wife. And it appears that headlight beam level control has been discontinued on the 2021 Sienna but I'm still waiting for Toyota customer service to confirm that. For us, the 2021 Sienna just doesn't have "the big bang" we are looking for to replace our Prius v wagon but it might be fine for other people whose situation, needs, values and/or opinions are different.

Maybe someday we'll all be able to create our perfect vehicles ourselves with 3-D printers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Well, you did ask for opinions on whether it was worth buying a Sienna that's four model years newer than what you currently have. This is an Internet forum on which you don't always get the answers you want or like. Heck, I'm sort of amused by such questions too. The gen 4 Sienna is obviously very close in size to the gen 3. No one but you can determine if it's handsfree phone system works to your satisfaction or if the vehicle is quiet enough for you. All people can give you are their opinions.

Here's my opinion for you to chew on and to spit out if you don't like it.
I totally get that I'm not going to get the opinions that I want or like. I guess I was looking for more of an objective comparison between models, not opinions as to whether someone totally foreign to me thinks that is a good idea, generally speaking, because they like to keep things that they're familiar with. I'm seeking discussion with those who have either sufficient research or direct experience between post-refresh gen 3 and gen 4. In fact I said, "I was wondering if anyone else here with a late Gen 3 has made the jump yet." My reasoning being that direct experience between those models would, in fact, tell you whether the vehicle feels as roomy, the tech is improved, or if the NVH is better or worse.

Having said that, I actually like what you said here and I value your take on Gen 4 features. It hadn't occurred to me what a massive improvement it would be to have the vehicle be a plug-in. I've never even driven, let alone owned, a hybrid vehicle. Is plug-in functionality something that something that Toyota has committed to adding in the future? If so, that alone may be worth the wait for us as my wife's daily commute is less than 20 miles round trip.

Your point on plug-in AA/ACP is well taken. However, I'll chip in that I had wireless AA on an a very nice aftermarket Pioneer head unit a couple years ago and the connection to my Pixel 2 could be a bit finicky at times so I'd just as soon plug in when I want to use that interface. Personal preference, of course.
 

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Our '17 does not have any Safety Sense features. I believe that '18 was the first year for that. I think that it would be nice to have, but how 'buggy' are we talking about the current iteration being?

For my own vehicle, I recently moved from a '19 Honda Accord to a '20 Honda Passport, both of which feature the "Honda Sensing" safety suite. Although I much prefer the Passport on nearly every front, the implementation of the safety tech on the Accord was leaps and bounds better than that of the Passport, despite the Accord being a year older. I had assumed that this kind of tech would get year-by-year updates across the the entire manufacturer's lineup, but I know now that it doesn't work like that. The Sensing suite on the Passport is so poor that I wish it could either be updated or removed entirely.

I'd love to hear a comparison between Honda Sensing and the Toyota Safety Sense in the new Sienna.
The 17 did have the safety features as an option. Since you did choose not to get them at the time, (a big mistake) it is definitely a huge improvement to get the 21 sienna for that reason alone.

Since it's an open forum, you are way too hard on those spending their time writing their opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The 17 did have the safety features as an option. Since you did choose not to get them at the time, (a big mistake) it is definitely a huge improvement to get the 21 sienna for that reason alone.
Oh, I wouldn't really call that 'a big mistake' as I didn't really choose not to get the safety features so much as I got a great deal on one without. Ours was a demo model and the last '17 on the lot that we picked up with a huge discount. We really didn't like the '18 refreshed front end so we jumped on the deal for the '17. Though you're right, my recollection was a little foggy on those safety features, they became standard in '18, not first available.

Do you have a Sienna with Safety Sense? Are you happy with those features?
 
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