All new 2011 Toyota Sienna...


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Toyota isn't addressing the issue with using the middle seat in the 2nd row to the salespeople, so don't fault the salesperson for that one, many salespeople do not know a lot about car seat safety or installation, in most cases if a customer has a question about something the salesperson will reference the owners manual to find out (this is what they do here) so since the owners manual says nothing about NOT using the middle row middle seating position I can see where a salesperson would say something.

Would I bring it up to managment - absolutely, would I blame the salesperson for not knowing that it couldn't be used (especially when it could be in the previous generation) - NO WAY. Bring it up to management so they can make their salespeople aware.

The dealership I work for did address this issue at a meeting - but only because I got word that it couldn't be used.

DaddyW - I don't know about adding a "tether" point to the 2011, but it conflicts with everything I've heard from Toyota so far. I've been told the MINI seat is NOT for CAR SEAT use. I'm not trying to yell at you, but trying to get the word out since as we all know the salespeople/dealers are not known for their car seat knowledge. I mean when I ask about Latch, about half the time they don't know what I'm talking about.

I have OFFICIAL word from Toyota from 3 different sources that in the 8 passenger Sienna you can put TWO seats in the second row and THREE seats in the third row. That is all.
First - I called Toyota Customer experience who stated that the "mini jump" seat is NOT for child seat use. They could not explain why this is not clearly stated in the owner's manual.
Second - Then the dealer we were working with told us that during training he asked the question and the design team rep. said that there had been so many customer comments about how hard it was to remove the old 8th seat that they decided to make a small stowable seat and loose a car seat position.
Third - I asked who contacted Toyota and a they said that the Sienna can hold 5 child seats, three positions with Latch/tether, and the two third row spots with seatbelts only. They said only a small percentage of sales were 8 psg models so it didn't seem important.

I think the data is skewed, since the 8 passenger version was only available on the CE/LE versions and to get leather you needed to go up to the XLE. It will still be skewed in 2011 since the FWD is 8 psg and the AWD is 7 psg, so you don't really have all the options that a consumer may want!

So "busymomof3" the dealer you worked with gave you a line of BS since that is what it sounds like, I would go to the general manager of the dealership and see what options they can offer you. Tell them that the Customer Experience center completely disagrees with the information provided to you by the sales person.


New member
Savsmom - You are right that the blame is not with the salesperson as much as it is with Toyota Corporate and the people who write the manuals. When asked about the mini seat, they say it is not to be used, but why the heck didn't they clearly state that it is not accepable to install a car seat there in the owner's manual. :thumbsdown:

I just have an issue with salespeople because they generally will tell you what you want to hear to get the sale. I know that is not fair to all salespeople since some really try their best, but in my experience very few will say "I do not know the answer" and will instead guess. I've been car shopping for 3 months and have been to 8 Toyota dealerships alone and met with over a dozen different sales people and most speak as if they are reading of the sales brochure and do not truly know the vehicles and their options. I agree that the change from a "useable" 8th seat to a "mini" 8th seat is not the most obvious thing in the world and would confuse most people. Especially since Toyota does not want to highlight that fact when Honda just said their 2011 will fit 3 seats in the second row.

As "livsmum" said it is best to try your seats in the vehicle BEFORE buying, which I know is a pain with 3 of them, but it sure makes it obvious what will work and what won't in most cases.:thumbsup:

I speak from experience about getting resolution from the GM, but my situation was slighly different (a lying salesman/finance mgr/sales mgr, a false charge on our contract and a warranty problem that keep the car at the dealership for 5 days), but after arguing with 3 people at the dealership for many hours over a weeks time they did offer to let me switch vehicles, but since I had purchased a 2010 Sienna and the 2011 would not work for us it didn't matter anyways. The GM did refund the false charge to us and threw in a few free items from the parts dept. to compensate for the issues we experienced which of course he didn't have to do since we had signed the contract with the false charge.:)


New member
Why would it be different with latch vs. seatbelt? (In regards to having the seat all the way back in the 2nd row when using LATCH)...just wondering:confused:

FMVSS requires the vehicle seat to be all the way back and all the way down (if adjustable in either of those directions) during LATCH testing.

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