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The 2022 Toyota Sienna is a popular family minivan with space to hold the whole gang. First launched in 1998, the 2022 model is the second of the fourth generation. Marketed as an “innovative adventure vehicle,” this hybrid-only van has serious issues that affect safety. They include faulty brakes, dangerous visibility issues, and badly designed seats that don’t latch, adding significant risk to anybody’s adventures.
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|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking|
|Lane Departure: Blind Spot Detection|
|Vehicle Speed Control|
There have been a total of 36 complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) in the past year, from November 8, 2021, and December 27, 2022. There are 15 components and systems mentioned in complaints. However, the most common problems relate to visibility, malfunctioning brakes, and faulty seat mechanisms that result in seats bouncing and sometimes dangerously flying forward.
Of these, 10 complaints report a range of different braking problems, 8 refer to visibility issues, and 6 are about faulty seats.
Any problems that affect brakes are potentially dangerous. Of the 10 complaints about brakes to the NHTSA between April 11 and September 12, 2022, fortunately, only one reports a crash. Issues vary, but the major fault seems to relate to regenerative rather than hydraulic brakes. Also, typically, the minivan tends to lunge or jerk forward when braking. There are also complaints that the vehicle’s emergency braking system activates spontaneously and there are problems with the parking brake and parking support brake.
Complaints in general indicate a lack of concern by dealerships that are consulted.
After an owner in Texas found there was “no resistance from the brake pedal” while driving at 40 mph, the local dealer “found that the brakes were operating correctly.”
When an owner from Ohio complained to the dealer service department about the Sienna lunging, he “asked if I ever drove a hybrid before” and said “that this lunging is designed into hybrid vehicles because this is when the battery is getting charged.” He also said he drives a hybrid and it happens to him, refusing to acknowledge that it is a safety issue.
Another owner from Texas also describes how, when braking, “the car seems to lunge forward for just a moment. It’s very unnerving.” This, the complaint states, has happened 5 times and the car has only 2,000 miles on the clock. It’s “very scary. I feel like I’m not in control of the car at all.”
An owner from New Hampshire links lurching to regenerative braking. He’s been told by Toyota that “it’s normal.” But he says, “it’s not normal, it’s a safety issue.”
And an owner in Ohio warns that the way the vehicle jerks forward, “causes a panic in the driver because the vehicle isn’t behaving how the driver wants.” His complaint includes a description of how his Sienna crashed into a parking light after this happened. He believes that the jerking is initiated when the minivan switches from regenerative to mechanical braking. “The vehicle jerks forward as it starts accelerating briefly before the mechanical brake engages.”
Seeing clearly from every side and angle of the vehicle is a must, especially if the driver is to remain safe. But there is a major flaw with the positioning of the rear seat entertainment screen. When in use, it blocks the rear-view mirror view totally.
Needless to say, most of the 8 visibility-related complaints relate to this safety issue. One complaint refers to a large crack appearing in the windshield of a 2-week-old Sienna. The owner, from Minnesota, states that there were no chips in the glass and nothing hit the windshield.
Of the 8 visibility-related complaints, 7 are about the rear entertainment screen blocking the rear-view mirror.
The first complaint was from an owner in California whose 2022 Sienna had only 90 miles on the clock. It states that “the vehicle was designed with an 11-inch screen located in the roof between the front driver’s and passenger’s seats.” While it is designed for movies and entertainment, when flipped down, the screen obstructs the rear-view mirror. When the dealer was notified, the owner was referred to the manufacturer. However, the manufacturer said “that they could not assist.”
All the complaints say more or less the same thing. An owner from Tennessee says when they pull the screen down it completely blocks our rear view due to the screen being too big. ““To us that is a safety issue. For instance, if there is a cop, fire truck, or ambulance coming up behind us we wouldn’t see them” because the screen blocks the view. “I have a 12, 8, and 3-year-old and every time they get in (the) van they want to always watch the rear entertainment center.”
An owner from Michigan states that it is “a huge safety issue as I have almost been rear ended 4 times.” After nearly being hit by another car sliding into his car in the snow, this owner took the minivan to 2 Toyota dealerships that both verified the issue. “They all agree it is a major safety issue and reported it to Toyota corporate and opened a case to get it fixed.”
The fix is to install a Toyota digital rear-view mirror for those who have the entertainment system. But the dealerships say that because there is no open recall, “they won’t fix it for me by giving me a digital rear-view mirror…” They say some have been fixed, but it “basically depends on who you talk to. I just paid 52,000 for this car and I can’t use the features it comes with because of this huge safety issue.”
When driving with a family, everyone wants peace of mind knowing that the vehicle is built to the highest standards, but there is a problem with the Sienna’s third row seats.
An owner from Oregon explains the problem. Because the third row seats don’t have locks, when the van hits a bump “it just goes up and down.” During sudden braking, the folded seats lift up because there are no locks to keep them in place. “But all older models of Sienna have the safety lock. It is a simple fix but my new Sienna doesn’t have the major safety lock.” An important issue the complaint highlights is that in an accident, the third row seats might hit the second-row passengers. “Please consider this safety issue as soon as possible.”
There is also a complaint from an owner in Indiana about the padding in the car seat’s headrest which is “unglued and coming loose. My son has grabbed the head supports at times, but I noticed it detached one day and (was) not sitting in the correct position. I have tried to reattach but would require heavy duty glue and assistance with assembly.”
Additionally, there is a problem with seat belts that potentially affects as many as 2,259 vehicles. A recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 21V889000, states that the seat belt webbing might not be installed correctly in the second row. This defect can cause damage, making it easier for the seat belt to tear during an accident. This, in turn increases the risk of injury for anyone traveling in a 2022 Sienna if it crashes.
Not all problems indicate that a vehicle is a lemon. However, some do, especially when they impact on the use and value of the vehicle. If you think you have a lemon, consider contacting Lemberg Law. We will assess your problems and may be able to get the lemon out of your life.
Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. And the law makes Toyota pay the legal fees.
Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm
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