Toyota Highlander vs. Toyota Sienna

Discussion in 'Etrailer.com Trailers and Towing Forum' started by Nani2, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    We are talking about getting a 2018 Highlander XLE to use as tv instead of my 2017 Sienna XLE.
    With the Sienna I am looking at 2300lbs or less to tow. With the Highlander we could get the Flagstaff 228D we really like which has dry weight of about 2550 with air.
    What are your thoughts on this? Would a Highlander have a better tow experience? It is rated at 5000 vs Sienna 3500. Our concern with Sienna is rear end sag.
     
  2. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Get Highlander and I guess it has tow package?
     
  3. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    It is standard on both.
     
  4. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

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    What electrical connection do they have?
    If it is not a seven pin they are not serious about tow capacity.
     
  5. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

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    When it comes to towing, "more is more". I'd much rather have twice as much as I need than just barely enough.
    Plus, it's always fun to get a new car.
     
    Nani2 likes this.
  6. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I would go with the highlander and get the camper you want. You don't want to buy a camper you don't really want and wish you had the other. Unless you really are not in the position to upgrade right now. Don't do an impulse buy and do your research. Make sure that is exactly what you want.
     
    Nani2 likes this.
  7. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    I have a Chrysler Pacifica minivan and I tow a slightly heavier popup then that without any issues. However, I have not towed it up and mountains yet. Where did you get 2300 lbs on the Sienna, its rated to 3500 lbs towing with a GCWR of 8900 (300 more then my Pacifica).

    It will tow that popup just fine, but the Highlander will tow better and at altitude if that is important. It really comes down to if you need a mini van or not.
     
  8. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    I have spent hours calling to get airbags installed on Sienna and nobody does it here. I am hoping it can handle the low 2000s without them so 2300 is the max I set. And that is what the camper which is the only popup in our area of that size weighs. We've been looking over a month and haven't bought it because I feel it is "settling" on what is available in our weight range. We are ok traveling to buy the right camper.
    I think we would be trading husband's Camry. I have three carseats across middle row of my van and want the flexibility it offers. I am nanny to three grandbabies and often have double stroller in back so need the van.
     
  9. mattlreese

    mattlreese Member

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    My pacifica does sag more then I would like and I would have already installed air bags if they were available in my van. Sadly it's too new, but it's very drivable without them. I have yet to have any issue towing.

    E trailer sells airbags you could diy install.

    https://www.etrailer.com/susp-2017_Toyota_Sienna.htm
     
  10. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    We watched the video for installation. Or should I say we watched the first few minutes and agreed we would be in way over our head.
     
  11. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    No idea.
     
  12. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    Appears you are a Toyota fan. I don't blame you. I towed my old popup with a 2011 Sienna once before I decided it wasn't a good idea. Too much sag, not enough control...I know it is all subjective, but my wife wasn't comfortable with it. I ended up getting a Toyota Tundra (overkill, but we had a plan to get a larger camper which happened a year later). I think the Highlander will be fine for what you are looking for. You'll need someone to install a brake controller for sure, a 7 pin connector most likely, and possibly a tow hitch if the tow package doesn't include it (read the fine print on the options list to see what is included in the tow package). Good luck.
     
  13. Wakita46

    Wakita46 Active Member

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    I have a 2015 Toyota Highlander with a tow package that is rated for 5,000 lbs. It also can handle a tongue weight of 500 lbs. It should handle your trailer tongue weight without sag - if not, you may need to redistribute weight front to back in your trailer. The Highlander has served me well. They were able to add a 7 pin and brake controller at the dealership but not all dealers would be able to do so. Check with your dealer.
    I have towed about 30,000 miles out of the 60,000 miles I have on it now (I got it because I knew I wanted to travel all over the states (47 so far) as well as towing in the mountains.) I get about 19 mpg towing but that is probably because my Aliner is low profile and only weighs 1850 lbs fully loaded. A small number of pictures for each park can be seen on my website: hoffsalinertravels.net. 19 US national parks, 10 Canadian national parks so far plus more.
     
  14. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    I am afraid of investing in a hitch, brake controller, etc. and finding the Sienna doesn't tow well and we need a bigger vehicle. Then we would have to buy new hitch and labor to install all. Then we would wish we had bigger camper now that we have vehicle that could tow.
    It's a tough decision.
     
  15. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    How fun!!! Bet you have so many wonderful memories. I'll have to add some to my bucket list.
     
    Wakita46 likes this.
  16. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Wakita46 is definitely our best go-to-person to discuss about Toyota towing. Mini-vans are not so great in towing heavy popups as I did with my Windstar. Go for Highlander for better towing and I am sure that it can carry 7 people like Sienna does.
     
    Wakita46 likes this.
  17. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

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    You’re really basing all your hate of minivans on an ancient Windstar? Now it’s understandable why you seem to ignore all data and facts about them.

    The fact is, modern minivans are way more than capable of handling up to their rated 3,500 lb tow capacity.

    I think you are really overthinking this. Sag isn’t desireable, but it isn’t the end of the world. You just have to be more mindful of dips. Try independent shops and general car repair shops. You could even find a shade tree mechanic and pay him a case of beer for the work. It really is that easy.

    A basic setup for towing (hitch, wiring, and labor to install) will run around the cost of 1 month of payments on a Highlander. If it was me, I’d take the risk before dropping 30-40 grand on a new car.
     
    1380ken likes this.
  18. Nani2

    Nani2 Active Member

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    I posted on Facebook saying I needed and would pay someone to install airbags and hoped a few people who I trust to do it would bite. Instead a woman who I haven't seen in over ten years commented it was not a driveway project and could be a fatal mistake. Yes she really said that. Time to unfriend LOL? I think she scared people off.

    We are very excited to be able to buy the heavier popup we have both liked best from the start and have the cash to pay for the upgraded tow vehicle so it's not a big deal.
     
  19. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Active Member

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    If not done correctly, it can be dangerous, but no more so than changing the oil. It sound like you’re in a great position for the Highlander. In that case, I say go for it and start camping [:D]
     
    Nani2 likes this.
  20. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

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    Nay, but the problem is "up to 3,500 lb tow capacity". I rather feel comfortable towing with Highlander than any mini-vans. If a mini-van can tow up to 5,000 lbs like highlander can, then I will pour out all my support for that strong minivan.
     

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