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  1. #1
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 2004 Sienna looks like it will be the new standard...

    I just got to see the 2004 Sienna at the Chicago Auto Show. The quick summary is that it really has taken the best of all the competition, and improved on some of it, too. If it does equal the previous Sienna in crash test results, it will be the clear standard for minivans.

    A few things putting it equal to or ahead of the Odyssey:

    -It seems about the same size on the inside. A bit more legroom for the front passenger, and the space behind the third row seems a hair bigger and deeper.

    -60/40 split folding third row seat. Operation is very easy. Functional head restraints are integrated, and do not need to be removed to fold the seat like the Odyssey.

    -An eighth seat in the 2nd row center is available on some models, this version was not at the show. It moves forward and back for easier access from the front row.

    -For 7 passenger models, the second row passenger side seat moves inboard or outboard like the Odyssey or MPV. Unlike Odyssey, it has the lap/shoulder belt integrated into the seat and not attached to the frame. This means it won't block the access to the 3rd row when it is moved to the center.

    -Second row sliding door windows roll down, like on the MPV.

    -Handy folding tray in the front row for easy rear access, like the Odyssey.

    -Power rear hatch available like the Chrysler vans

    -Nifty integrated retractable sunshades

    -Conversation mirror like Windstar

    -Wide assortment of creature comforts

    And, of course, the safety and child passenger safety features!

    - Side curtain airbags cover all the glass all the way back.

    - 3-point seatbelts in all 7 positions (8 for the 8-passenger version).

    - LATCH is availble in both 2nd row captain's chairs (and the center seat if you get the 8 passenger version). The top-tether anchors are now integrated into the chair, located on the back at the bottom.

    - LATCH is also in the center of the third row and the third row passenger side. The only spot without LATCH is the third row driver side. Three top-tether anchors are standard on the tailgate sil, much like those available on the Odyssey. (Kudos to the 2003 Odyssey and 2004 Sienna for not removing top-tether anchors like Chrysler has done because of the tougher new standards!).

    - The second row passenger chair has the integrated seatbelt that looks like it should fit smaller adults fairly well. No owner's manual was available for child seat information:-(

    - The second row driver's side chair has an adjustable shoulder belt with a nice clip to lower the angle for shorter passengers or kids in boosters.

    - The third row outboard spots also have handy flip down shoulder belt guides to fit kids in boosters.

    - All belts are switchable locking retractor types and look like they should hold a carseat well as long as there are no restrictions in the manual.

    - AWD and stability control available

    - Runflat tires available


    Not much else I could want. Of course, it can be up to a year before the NHTSA completes crash testing on a redesigned vehicle, and even longer for the IIHS to complete its testing. For a top selling minivan, I would hope it would be a bit sooner. Unfortunately, the NHTSA did not include the 2004 Sienna on their 2003 testing but it could be added. You hope that a manufacturer that did well on previous designs would do it right on a new one, but there is no guarantee. If crash test results are important, it is a good idea to wait...

    I'll be considering a swap of our 2001 Odyssey for a 2005 Sienna:-) By then the crash tests should be completed and any 1st year bugs should be resolved. More details here:

    http://www.toyota.com/newsienna

    Darren

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician
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    Thanks for the info.

    Wow! It sounds fantastic and I'm sure glad to hear that they fixed the CPS problems. I have a 2002 Sienna that I LOVE expect for the LATCH and tether issues. Come 2005, I may trade mine in as well.

    Sara

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
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    Looks like it's time to start saving up! I'm ready for a new mini van. My Villager is driving me nuts on every possible level these days.

    Thanks for the great info, Darren!

    Tamie

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Interior questions

    Hi Darren! I just saw the interior pics on the Toyota web site and it looks like the gear shift is on the dashboard in front of the radio. Does that hamper access to the radio and air conditioning controls?

    Is the shoulder belt for the center position in the 3rd row attached to the ceiling? I couldn't see a shoulder belt on that position in the pics, but it was a top-down pic.

  6. #5
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Doh!

    I admit I never sat in the driver's seat. Too busy looking in the back:-)

    I am almost sure the rear center shoulder belt was in the ceiling, but my memory is a bit foggy... I think a couple people who visit the Cars for the Family forum at ParentsPlace have one, so they might be able to check for sure since I'm clearly no help!

    Darren

  7. #6
    CPST Instructor carseatmom's Avatar
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    I'm dying to see this van!! We have pretty much decided that we ARE getting one as soon as we see it, but I want to make sure! LOL It should be here this weekend or early week, so we can go see it Can't wait!

  8. #7
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Thanks, Darren!

    I posted on the Cars for Families board.

  9. #8
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    The vans are at some dealerships as of today. The rest should be getting them in this week according to toyota (i signed up for email notification on this baby!). I have had my eye on them for a while. As for the radio question, I don't know for sure what they did with the 2004, but a friend has a 2003 and there are radio/stereo/cd controls on the steering wheel so you don;t have to take your hand of the weel. They are really nice controls-since you don't even have to glance down to change things. All in all it just looks absolutely great. I like the addition of latch in the both captain's chairs. My friends only has latch on one captain's chair and some in the 3rd row-not sure which positions.

  10. #9
    CPST Instructor carseatmom's Avatar
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    Yep we recieved a note from our dealership that said they expected then March 15th-18th. So we drove past today (Sunday the 16th) and they weren't there yet, but should be in the next 2 days. They will call us as soon as they land! We will be off for a test drive etc...

  11. #10
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    I got to sit in the Sienna today!

    Couldn't test drive as my two younger children were asleep, but I pulled my van next to it and the salesman was kind enough to let me sit in the driver's seat and check the rest out while K & K slept.

    The steering wheel does indeed have volume and station controls. The gear shift extends to the area where the a/c controls are, but it doesn't really interfere with reaching them. When you look at the panel straight-on, it looks as if it might. When you look from the side, there's a good 1 1/2 inches or so of air space to manuver in.

    The third-row center shoulder belt does come from the ceiling. And I loved the seat belt system on the captain's chairs with it built into the seat and not extending from the vehicle frame. Wonderful!

    The sticker on the basic model was $25,300 and the leather LX version I saw was $32,500.

    Now I've got to work on my DH.

    Tamie

  12. #11
    CPST Instructor carseatmom's Avatar
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    Test Drove one last night!!!!

    Oh man! This is a NICE van! It rides very nicely, and is very sound. I loved the deep wells in the back to fit strollers, groceries and all that stuff. We can easiely fit the kids and the big dog in it. I like the tether anchors on the back of the seats. Can't wait to get one! We are going to get one, but the dealer has to find us one. We want a fully loaded AWD one and they only had a base model (right now it is the ONLY one in the valley), so they are hunting us down one. If they can't find one we want then we will order one.

    Darren if it wasn't for you posting the info a couple months back about this van, I wouldn't have even known it was coming and likely would have already bought a Honda. But I'm glad I waited! I LOVE this one even more LOL. Thank You! BTW sorry I haven't been on MSN lately. I can't sign in! Troy deleted something related to it and hasn't fixed it yet. GRRRRRR LOL.

  13. #12
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Good luck!

    You are braver than I am:-) I'm gonna wait for all you guinea pigs to report on it and consider a 2005 after the kinks are worked out and crash tests completed. I'll have to be envious for a year!

  14. #13
    CPST Instructor carseatmom's Avatar
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    I'm not real worried about the kinks and such. They've been manufacturing the Sienna for years and even though they totally redesigned it, they still have a good track record. We bought the Escape the first year it was EVER manufactured. We haven't had any major issues with it. Although there are some new things in them now that I wish mine had, I'm not unhappy with it. We will likley do a lease so we can turn it back in in 2 years and get a newer one LOL. Someone has to test it out

  15. #14
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    I'm satisfied with the quality.

    Nothing is really new on the van except the outside styling. I would prefer side curtain air bags on the front seats instead of the bolster kind, though. The engine is from the Lexus SUV, so it's been used before. We bought a RAV the same month they came out in 1996 and we've only had problems with the brakes (OK, we did have a valve job done in Dec., but the dealer was shocked that it was needed and Toyota paid for part of it). The brakes on our 2000 Sienna also squeak like crazy, so I think it's a Toyota brake thing.

    I did want to mention that when I test drove it, the turning circle is fantastic. It's funny--I wasn't purposefully testing it, but had to make a U-turn and it actually scared me when I cranked the wheel all the way to the left. I didn't expect it to be so tight--reminded me a lot of my '89 Honda Civic's turning circle .

  16. #15
    CPS Technician
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    Ann Job (former AP auto reviewer) wrote about the Sienna for the new installment of MSN autos.

    I just e-mailed her (and the editor) to say that I wish she'd included details about the Sienna's child passenger safety features. There was no mention, nada, zip. I mean, don't most people buy mini vans to accommodate their families, namely CHILDREN? I ticked off everything I'd seen in my own test drive to maybe help her see the number of features and how well thought out they appear to be.

    Maybe reviewing new models' LATCH systems could be my new hobby ...

    Tamie

  17. #16
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Have you seen-

    Toyota's new commercial with the kids designing the Sienna? One of the better current auto commercials, in my opinion...

  18. #17
    CPS Technician
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    OOooh - no I haven't, but I wish I'd known that when I crafted my little note!

    What a great marketing concept that is. For the record, I can't stand the Celine Dion/Chrysler T&C commercials.

    Tamie

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