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Drove a 2018 Sienna today, may be old but not bad...my thoughts vs the Pacifica

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Old 08-07-18, 02:34 PM
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SW17LS
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Default Drove a 2018 Sienna today, may be old but not bad...my thoughts vs the Pacifica

So, I've been having an issue with the navigation screen in our Chrysler Pacifica freezing up, I put it in the shop for the third time to try and fix the issue today, and am driving a Jeep Patriot with no BT phone and steel wheels as a loaner...while my wife and kids tool around in my nice Lexus.

So to say I'm a little bit frustrated with Chrysler and the Pacifica right now is a bit of an understatement.

No way I could get out of the Pacifica if I wanted to without getting totally killed, but I had some time so I pulled my crapbox Patriot loaner into the Toyota dealer and took a new Sienna for a spin. I haven't driven a Sienna since before we got the Sedona in 2014, didnt consider it when we got the Pacifica in November since it was so old.

The model I drove was a loaded Limited Premium with AWD. Exterior...its powerful ugly IMHO. They've grafted their big gaping maw front look onto the older Sienna's body style. The van lacks the nice painted gloss black trim found in the Pacifica, Sedona and Elite Odyssey and has grainy black unpainted plastic trim. Overall, clearly not as nice a vehicle to look at or as well trimmed or adorned as the Pacifica. Wheels are small with 18s being the only option on a Limited trim.

Inside the van's age shows. Nav screen is small and low resolution, but it does have a surround view camera in this year. Material quality is marginal, most soft touch areas than the Sienna has had previously, but nowhere near as nicely finished as the Pacifica with lots of ugly fake wood. Gauge cluster is basic with a small screen in between the gauges.

In the second row there is no mechanism that provides access to the third row with car seats installed in the second row, which is a big negative vs newer vans like the Pacifica and the Odyssey. Third row seats are manual fold vs power in the Pacifica and magic slide in the Odyssey.

Infotainment is as you guessed ancient, and way behind whats in the Odyssey and the Pacifica.

Ride and drive is where the van really shines. Its louder inside than the Pacifica from road and wind noise, but the powertrain is much smoother and more refined, and the ride is softer despite my tester riding on runflat tires. Steering is VERY light with zero feedback whatsoever. Transmission shifts great, way better than the 9 speed in the Pacifica. One curious thing, the steering wheel doesn't telescope out enough for a comfortable driving position to me....which would be really annoying.

All in all, I see no reason one would select the Sienna over the Odyssey unless you're married to Toyota as a brand. The best claim to fame the Sienna has is that it will always be bulletproof reliable. Clearly...you can't say that about the Pacifica and really you cant say that about the Odyssey either to the same degree as you can about the Pacifica. But truly, the Sienna is just ancient compared to these two new vans. MSRP was just over $49,000, so very similar to a loaded Pacifica (but AWD) and a couple grand more than an Odyssey Elite.

Reason I drove it? It has a surround view camera which is a must for my wife, and being as old as it is I figure I can get a great deal on one should I need to trade out of my Pacifica. Hopefully they will solve my issue and that won't be necessary...
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Old 08-07-18, 02:54 PM
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Good input.

I just had a Pacifica for a week during a week long vacation with the family (California, beaches, Disneyland, etc.). I considered doing a write-up/new thread but this will probably suffice. The Pacifica we had was fairly basic - it did have leather and such, but no navigation, sunroof, etc. It had about 35k miles on it.

I was impressed that it didn't have any squeaks or rattles and found the ride to be very smooth and quiet. The remote start worked wonderfully on helping to cool the interior. I hated how reluctant the transmission was to downshift on the freeway when merging, but otherwise found it to be a great vehicle to tote the family around in. Gas mileage was unimpressive, though, at around 16 mpg despite lots of freeway driving, and it seemed as though the gas tank was fairly small. My 3 and a half year old boy was very upset we had to give it back when we arrived at the airport to return home...

Just over 2 years ago when we decided we wanted to trade in the RX350 for a vehicle with a 3rd row, I gave a good, hard look at the Sienna. Unlike you, I find the Sienna to be the best looking of the minivans, but that's subjective. I thought they drove nice, were competitively priced, and had a ton of room but I just couldn't get past how cheap they felt inside. Large areas of hard plastic and such.

I wasn't interested in a Chrysler product and the Odyssey is too unattractive to my tastes, so I didn't look at any of the others. I can't remember why I didn't look at the Sedona. I could easily live with a Kia.

So we ended up with the Highlander and have been quite happy with it but there are still times I think it would be nice to have a van.
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Old 08-07-18, 02:58 PM
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Yeah we love the Pacifica if they can get this fixed. Its just a huge imposition to be without that van, my wife and kids' whole lives are in that thing. Then I'm driving around in this ****ty loaner with no BT phone on the phone trying to work...sucks...

It does have a lot of poor quality materials in it, but they seem to have fixed much of that with the latest refresh.

With the ugly I mean the latest restyle...

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Old 08-07-18, 03:02 PM
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Totally understand. It's a real cramp in your day when you're driving around in a loaner, a crappy one no less.

As for the Sienna, I'm actually on board with the new front end. I didn't like it in pictures but in real life I think it looks good.
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Old 08-07-18, 03:12 PM
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sorry to hear about pacifica nav woes, that's odd as the u-connect system has been widely praised and i loved mine in the jeep.

when you say freezing up, i assume you mean no further touching of the screen does anything? you can't switch to any other mode at that point? does stopping/restarting the car fix it, temporarily at least? how often does it happen?

regardless, very annoying i'm sure! even if they have to replace the whole darned thing i'm sure it will get fixed, but yes, you have to suffer the indignity of driving a patriot.

Originally Posted by JDR76 View Post
I just had a Pacifica for a week during a week long vacation with the family (California, beaches, Disneyland, etc.). I considered doing a write-up/new thread but this will probably suffice. The Pacifica we had was fairly basic - it did have leather and such, but no navigation, sunroof, etc. It had about 35k miles on it.
wow i don't remember the last time i had a rental with more than even 10k on it, let alone 35k!

I hated how reluctant the transmission was to downshift on the freeway when merging, but otherwise found it to be a great vehicle to tote the family around in.
were you driving in eco mode? sport mode should have fixed that for sure.

Gas mileage was unimpressive, though, at around 16 mpg despite lots of freeway driving, and it seemed as though the gas tank was fairly small.
that seems bizarre. leadfoot much? the pacifica is probably no heavier (probably lighter) than my jeep grand cherokee was and assume with the same 3.6 v6. i got steady 21 on my jeep.

My 3 and a half year old boy was very upset we had to give it back when we arrived at the airport to return home...
i'm sure he loved all the space!

I gave a good, hard look at the Sienna. ... but I just couldn't get past how cheap they felt inside. Large areas of hard plastic and such.
maybe toyota feels that with family abuse, sticky hands, kicking, and various 'messes', etc., that those materials are best.
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Old 08-07-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
wow i don't remember the last time i had a rental with more than even 10k on it, let alone 35k!
Me neither. Stupid AVIS.

were you driving in eco mode? sport mode should have fixed that for sure.
To be honest I didn't notice any modes. There was no indication in the displays that it was in eco mode. If I were, I would have hoped for better gas mileage...

that seems bizarre. leadfoot much? the pacifica is probably no heavier (probably lighter) than my jeep grand cherokee was and assume with the same 3.6 v6. i got steady 21 on my jeep.
Well you know...when in Rome... (California, in this case!) It seemed like it did well on the freeway, but once you got off the freeway in town the mileage dove quickly and never could recover.

i'm sure he loved all the space!
He did, and for good reason. It was great. We just folded down the third row and we were able to use that space back there to change in/out of beach clothes. Very handy.

maybe toyota feels that with family abuse, sticky hands, kicking, and various 'messes', etc., that those materials are best.
Well, there can be something to be said for that! My Highlander has hard plastics too, but they seem to be hidden better, or at least less obvious than they seemed in the Sienna. If I remember correctly, in the Sienna the sliding door panels were just a huge piece of plastic. I think there was some fake wood around the window switches, but otherwise that was it. At least on the Highlander's rear doors there is some soft touch black padding, the gray lower half, the (unconvincing) fake wood, blue accent lighting, etc.
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Old 08-07-18, 04:09 PM
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It is crazy regarding discounts on these old Toyotas. All dealerships were offering about a 5% discount on the 4runner and similar for the Highlander. I don't see any incentives worth mentioning when looking on the Toyota website. I'm in the east coast though.
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Old 08-07-18, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by situman View Post
It is crazy regarding discounts on these old Toyotas. All dealerships were offering about a 5% discount on the 4runner and similar for the Highlander. I don't see any incentives worth mentioning when looking on the Toyota website. I'm in the east coast though.
That was my biggest frustration when buying the Highlander. I fought hard for 3 days to get any discount. They only had one on the lot that wasnít already spoken for, so they had to get ours from another dealer. There were no Toyota incentives at the time for the Highlander. After 3 days of working it I still ended up only getting about $2,500 off of a $52k car.
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Old 08-07-18, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by SW17LS View Post
and am driving a Jeep Patriot with no BT phone and steel wheels as a loaner...
I don't blame you for complaining on that one LOL. The Patriot and Compass are, by American standards, less than impressive.

I've been having an issue with the navigation screen in our Chrysler Pacifica freezing up, I put it in the shop for the third time to try and fix the issue today,
Can't they just replace the screen? Or, is that simply too involved a job by having to tear the dash apart and essentially rebuild it? Usually, though, with a minivan, there is plenty of room under the dash to reach and fix things, though in some cases the console gets in the way.

So to say I'm a little bit frustrated with Chrysler and the Pacifica right now is a bit of an understatement.
Are you getting it serviced at the same dealership where you bought it? If so, that might (?) be one reason why. Do you remember my story about how disorganized that place is? (I've done some reviews there). Their key/fob storage system is (or, at least, was, when I was there) a laughingstock...they simply dump the contents of a big cardboard box out on the floor, and squat down, looking for the key with the right stock number LOL.

No way I could get out of the Pacifica if I wanted to without getting totally killed, but I had some time so I pulled my crapbox Patriot loaner into the Toyota dealer and took a new Sienna for a spin. I haven't driven a Sienna since before we got the Sedona in 2014, didnt consider it when we got the Pacifica in November since it was so old.
With your business and negotiating skills, you could probably afford to negotiate an early lease-termination (depending on what is negotiable or set in stone in the lease-contract itself)...but the obvious question is if it is worth it to you, and your family. That's a question, of course, that we can't answer for you.....that would be between you and your wife.

The model I drove was a loaded Limited Premium with AWD. Exterior...its powerful ugly IMHO. They've grafted their big gaping maw front look onto the older Sienna's body style. The van lacks the nice painted gloss black trim found in the Pacifica, Sedona and Elite Odyssey and has grainy black unpainted plastic trim. Overall, clearly not as nice a vehicle to look at or as well trimmed or adorned as the Pacifica. Wheels are small with 18s being the only option on a Limited trim.
You've just touched on one of the complaints I also have about a number of Toyota (and, in some cases, Lexus) vehicles......cheap and substandard interior components.

Inside the van's age shows. Nav screen is small and low resolution, but it does have a surround view camera in this year. Material quality is marginal, most soft touch areas than the Sienna has had previously, but nowhere near as nicely finished as the Pacifica with lots of ugly fake wood. Gauge cluster is basic with a small screen in between the gauges.
again.....Ditto.

Ride and drive is where the van really shines. Its louder inside than the Pacifica from road and wind noise, but the powertrain is much smoother and more refined, and the ride is softer despite my tester riding on runflat tires. Steering is VERY light with zero feedback whatsoever. Transmission shifts great, way better than the 9 speed in the Pacifica. One curious thing, the steering wheel doesn't telescope out enough for a comfortable driving position to me....which would be really annoying.
Your comments on the transmissions are not surprising. The 9-speed ZF-supplied unit in use on Some Chrysler, Jeep, and Acura has a history of unrefined operation, mismatch with the engines they are bolted to, and customer complaints. And the steering on the Sienna sounds like just about what one would expect on a family-oriented minivan with electric power steering.

All in all, I see no reason one would select the Sienna over the Odyssey unless you're married to Toyota as a brand. The best claim to fame the Sienna has is that it will always be bulletproof reliable. Clearly...you can't say that about the Pacifica and really you cant say that about the Odyssey either to the same degree as you can about the Pacifica. But truly, the Sienna is just ancient compared to these two new vans. MSRP was just over $49,000, so very similar to a loaded Pacifica (but AWD) and a couple grand more than an Odyssey Elite.
Even the Sienna's reliability may not be what it once was. My ex-Flight Instructor (who I have stayed friends with for decades) has had two brand-new ones, and has had early problems with both....and difficulty from Toyota on warranty-coverage.

I agree with you, though, on Toyota drivetrains. In most cases, they are as good as they come......and, typically, almost bulletproof if adequately serviced and cared for.


And, if you decide you don't want any of those vehicles, come on down to my shop, and my salesperson will set you up in a new Traverse, Equinox, Enclave, or Envision. They aren't minivans per se, but still good people-movers.

Last edited by mmarshall; 08-07-18 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 08-07-18, 05:07 PM
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Drove one to Toronto in 2015 and the fit finish was cheap, but mpgs phenomenal.

contrast that to the grand caravan, mpgs 4 worse, poor engine and bad design on all the interior controls. Using the 3rd row very well designed and hidden cubbies everywhere. These things are utility machines! Great to rent, but would still not want to buy one, rather have a suv.

a rental car with 35k, how?? No clue what you have to do to sign up for emerald club, as my work did it. Totally free. I like choosing any car. I checked and I did not see grand caravans for $216 b4 taxes on any of the websites, so its an added plus for personal too (plus 216/7 off ie free day). Never got a car over 7k (that was extreme, avg is 3 to 4k, every once in a while new, like 7 on the rogue. Depends on if we want to bother to look while choosing).

been doing this since 2010, so it would be strange to not choose on my own. 35k not acceptable lol
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Old 08-07-18, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by SW17LS
So, I've been having an issue with the navigation screen in our Chrysler Pacifica freezing up, I put it in the shop for the third time to try and fix the issue today, and am driving a Jeep Patriot with no BT phone and steel wheels as a loaner...while my wife and kids tool around in my nice Lexus.

So to say I'm a little bit frustrated with Chrysler and the Pacifica right now is a bit of an understatement.

No way I could get out of the Pacifica if I wanted to without getting totally killed, but I had some time so I pulled my crapbox Patriot loaner into the Toyota dealer and took a new Sienna for a spin. I haven't driven a Sienna since before we got the Sedona in 2014, didnt consider it when we got the Pacifica in November since it was so old.

The model I drove was a loaded Limited Premium with AWD. Exterior...its powerful ugly IMHO. They've grafted their big gaping maw front look onto the older Sienna's body style. The van lacks the nice painted gloss black trim found in the Pacifica, Sedona and Elite Odyssey and has grainy black unpainted plastic trim. Overall, clearly not as nice a vehicle to look at or as well trimmed or adorned as the Pacifica. Wheels are small with 18s being the only option on a Limited trim.

Inside the van's age shows. Nav screen is small and low resolution, but it does have a surround view camera in this year. Material quality is marginal, most soft touch areas than the Sienna has had previously, but nowhere near as nicely finished as the Pacifica with lots of ugly fake wood. Gauge cluster is basic with a small screen in between the gauges.

In the second row there is no mechanism that provides access to the third row with car seats installed in the second row, which is a big negative vs newer vans like the Pacifica and the Odyssey. Third row seats are manual fold vs power in the Pacifica and magic slide in the Odyssey.

Infotainment is as you guessed ancient, and way behind whats in the Odyssey and the Pacifica.

Ride and drive is where the van really shines. Its louder inside than the Pacifica from road and wind noise, but the powertrain is much smoother and more refined, and the ride is softer despite my tester riding on runflat tires. Steering is VERY light with zero feedback whatsoever. Transmission shifts great, way better than the 9 speed in the Pacifica. One curious thing, the steering wheel doesn't telescope out enough for a comfortable driving position to me....which would be really annoying.

All in all, I see no reason one would select the Sienna over the Odyssey unless you're married to Toyota as a brand. The best claim to fame the Sienna has is that it will always be bulletproof reliable. Clearly...you can't say that about the Pacifica and really you cant say that about the Odyssey either to the same degree as you can about the Pacifica. But truly, the Sienna is just ancient compared to these two new vans. MSRP was just over $49,000, so very similar to a loaded Pacifica (but AWD) and a couple grand more than an Odyssey Elite.

Reason I drove it? It has a surround view camera which is a must for my wife, and being as old as it is I figure I can get a great deal on one should I need to trade out of my Pacifica. Hopefully they will solve my issue and that won't be necessary...
Odysseys are super reliable. I have 3 friends with one and none have any issues. I have one with 120k miles (2012) and 1 warranty repair in 5 years. It was a middle 2nd row seat that wouldn't unlatch. That's it. Super duper reliable and I drive that thing pretty hard.

Highly recommend one and I think it's far better than any other minivan.
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Old 08-07-18, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnhav430 View Post
Drove one to Toronto in 2015 and the fit finish was cheap, but mpgs phenomenal.

contrast that to the grand caravan, mpgs 4 worse, poor engine and bad design on all the interior controls. Using the 3rd row very well designed and hidden cubbies everywhere. These things are utility machines! Great to rent, but would still not want to buy one, rather have a suv.

a rental car with 35k, how?? No clue what you have to do to sign up for emerald club, as my work did it. Totally free. I like choosing any car. I checked and I did not see grand caravans for $216 b4 taxes on any of the websites, so its an added plus for personal too (plus 216/7 off ie free day). Never got a car over 7k (that was extreme, avg is 3 to 4k, every once in a while new, like 7 on the rogue. Depends on if we want to bother to look while choosing).

been doing this since 2010, so it would be strange to not choose on my own. 35k not acceptable lol
I used to do Emerald Club but I get much better rates through Avis. Honestly, I really didnít care that it had that high of mileage. I was surprised, but it didnít impact me in any meaningful way.
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Old 08-07-18, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bitkahuna View Post
sorry to hear about pacifica nav woes, that's odd as the u-connect system has been widely praised and i loved mine in the jeep.

when you say freezing up, i assume you mean no further touching of the screen does anything? you can't switch to any other mode at that point? does stopping/restarting the car fix it, temporarily at least? how often does it happen?
I love it when its not frozen! haha. Right, touching the screen does nothing. The screen still moves, and you can use voice commands and steering wheel inputs, but no screen buttons work. Restarting the car works sometimes, but not usually,

were you driving in eco mode? sport mode should have fixed that for sure.
Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Can't they just replace the screen? Or, is that simply too involved a job by having to tear the dash apart and essentially rebuild it? Usually, though, with a minivan, there is plenty of room under the dash to reach and fix things, though in some cases the console gets in the way.
They CAN, but Chrysler makes them attempt two other repairs first. They try a software update, then a hard reset, and then a screen replacement. They have a request in to FCA to approve the screen replacement now. After each attempt it worked for a little bit and then went back to freezing again.

Are you getting it serviced at the same dealership where you bought it? If so, that might (?) be one reason why. Do you remember my story about how disorganized that place is? (I've done some reviews there). Their key/fob storage system is (or, at least, was, when I was there) a laughingstock...they simply dump the contents of a big cardboard box out on the floor, and squat down, looking for the key with the right stock number LOL.
No, too far to go back there to buy it, I'm having it serviced at Darcars in Rockville, their service department is the best FCA dealer I've found around here. I do remember haha

With your business and negotiating skills, you could probably afford to negotiate an early lease-termination (depending on what is negotiable or set in stone in the lease-contract itself)...but the obvious question is if it is worth it to you, and your family. That's a question, of course, that we can't answer for you.....that would be between you and your wife.
All in all I'd rather keep the Pacifica, but they have to get this fixed. My partner hired an attorney when his Grand Cherokee was in the shop for 6 months and even after they finally fixed it they negotiated a $7k settlement from FCA. If this fix doesn't do it that will be my next step.Y

And the steering on the Sienna sounds like just about what one would expect on a family-oriented minivan with electric power steering.
The steering in the Pacifica is much better weighted and better balanced.

And, if you decide you don't want any of those vehicles, come on down to my shop, and my salesperson will set you up in a new Traverse, Equinox, Enclave, or Envision. They aren't minivans per se, but still good people-movers.
Would be a no go with my wife LOL. She insists it has to be a minivan until the kids are older. You should have heard her complaining about the rear doors on the Lexus and driving them around all day LOL

Originally Posted by Johnhav430 View Post
These things are utility machines! Great to rent, but would still not want to buy one, rather have a suv.
I'd much rather have an SUV too, but when you have young kids you really cant beat a minivan. Adaptable seating, much more interior room, sliding doors...
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Old 08-07-18, 09:24 PM
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I remember when you got the Pacifica, I commented and worried about reliability issues. I hope they do finally iron them out.
As a car guy, I'll say this... If you are already test-driving other vehicles, you are doomed. Doing test drives is almost always the beginning of the end for an existing vehicle. ; )
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Old 08-07-18, 09:49 PM
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i hated the new powertrain in the 2017 sienna with the 8 speed, toyota must've tuned everything for super maximum fuel economy mode because it's very sluggish at low speeds now. 2016 and older years really took off when you stepped on the gas, and for whatever reason i found the 8 speed revs unnecessarily high even at mild pedal input. still a very nice vehicle though. i'm sure we'll see some kind of new update that incorporates the TNGA that they're making everything out of.
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