Recall Alert: 2015 Toyota Sienna

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 25,000 model-year 2015 Toyota Sienna minivans manufactured Sept. 2 through Nov. 14, 2014

The Problem: If the curtain-side airbags deploy, the second-row overhead assist handles may detach, possibly injuring the minivan's occupants. Toyota is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this recall.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and modify the headliner near the second-row overhead assist handles for free.

What Owners Should Do: Toyota will begin notifying owners on Jan. 15. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Jennifer Geiger | December 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Toyota Sienna: Is It New or Just More of the Same?

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Toyota has advertised its Sienna minivan as a "swagger wagon," but the family hauler was short on bravado for many families. For 2015, Toyota has refreshed the Sienna, but is it enough to put a little strut in its step, err, ride?

Related: 2015 Toyota Sienna Price Jumps $1,680 Over 2014 Model

After driving it at a Toyota event in the Los Angeles area, the 2015 Sienna touts enough improvements to keep up with the competition — the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country and even the all-new Kia Sedona — but it's not a class leader.

Toyota says that most of the changes for 2015 are to the Sienna's interior. It now has soft-touch materials on the dash and upper door trim that blow away the hard-plastic wasteland found in past Siennas. Upgrade to the highest Limited trim level to find the new Chestnut Brown premium leather front seats, but even the midlevel SE and LE trims have leather-trimmed front seats and feature a lot less of the dreaded hard plastic and a lot more thoughtful design details.

By Carrie Kim | December 1, 2014 | Comments (5)

Three Minivans Score Poorly in IIHS Crash Test

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The Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country and its twin, the Dodge Grand Caravan, all received the lowest score of poor in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap crash test. This test simulates what happens when a vehicle's front corner collides with another car or a utility pole and has been a tough one for automakers.

Related: More Safety News

"Minivans are popular among parents, a group that tends to be safety conscious, but we've only seen two so far that offer decent protection in small overlap crashes," said IIHS chief research officer David Zuby in a press release.

Those two minivans are the Honda Odyssey, which received the top score of good in the small overlap test, and the updated-for-2015 Toyota Sienna, with its acceptable score. IIHS scores are good, acceptable, marginal and poor. Both the Odyssey and the Sienna have received IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus designations, which is the agency's highest award. The 2015 Kia Sedona, which recently arrived at dealerships, wasn't tested by IIHS because the automaker plans to make changes to the minivan to improve its small overall protection. IIHS plans to test it as soon as it's available.

By Jennifer Newman | November 20, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2001-2006 Honda, Acura Vehicles

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Vehicles Affected: An unspecified number of model-year 2001-05 Honda Civic cars; 2003-04 Civic compressed natural gas cars and Element crossovers; 2002-05 CR-V crossovers; 2002-04 Odyssey minivans; 2003-05 Accord cars, Pilot crossovers, Civic Hybrid cars and Acura MDX luxury crossovers; 2005 Acura RL luxury sedans; and 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks, all originally sold or registered at any time in areas with high absolute humidity, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. In a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and seriously injuring occupants. The action is part of the massive ongoing Takata airbag recall that has affected nearly 7.8 million vehicles and 10 automakers.

The Fix: Honda will begin notifying owners Nov. 24, and dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflator for free. Honda said most of the vehicles covered by this formal recall were included in a June 2014 "safety improvement campaign." The automaker said the same repair required in that previous campaign — replacement of the passenger-side frontal airbag inflator — applies to all of the vehicles now included in the formal recall; vehicles in which the passenger-side airbag inflator already was replaced under the previous safety campaign are not included in the recall. Honda said the number of vehicles affected has yet to be determined; a call to the automaker for clarification was not immediately returned.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Honda at 800-999-1009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2014 Toyota Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Highlander and 2015 Lexus RX 350

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Vehicles Affected: About 20,000 model-year 2014 Toyota Avalon and Camry sedans, Sienna minivans and Highlander SUVs, and model-year 2015 Lexus RX 350 luxury crossovers

The Problem: Fuel may leak from one of the fuel delivery pipes in the engine compartment; in the presence of an ignition source, this increases the risk of a fire.

The Fix: Toyota will begin notifying owners Monday, and dealers will replace any of the suspect fuel delivery pipes for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | October 31, 2014 | Comments (0)

Top Minivan? Nissan Quest May Offer Best Cargo Hauling in the Real World

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Minivans are known for their impressive storage wells behind the third-row seats, maximizing cargo space. But what should be said is that the area is more vertical than horizontal. It begs the question, how much of a minivan's cubic footage can you really use?

Related: Can a Minivan Be Stylish?

Well, that depends on what you're carrying. Luggage works well in minivan storage wells because it tends to be stackable and it's not too worrisome when it inevitably falls out when the liftgate is opened. And there's no feeling quite like propping that big stroller upright and still being able to see out the rear window.

But most of us don't carry luggage around in our daily lives, and eventually/thankfully the kids outgrow strollers; it's usually other items such as grocery bags that aren't as sturdy that create challenges in the cargo area. After all, there are only so many grocery bags that can be stored on top of each other.

Which minivans make the best of this cargo conundrum? And what automakers offer optional equipment to keep your stuff wrangled when the cargo space needs an assist? Let's have a look.

By Sara Lacey | October 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

NHTSA: 5 Million Chrysler Vehicles Under Scrutiny for Stalling Problem

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Earlier this month, Cars.com reported that Chrysler was recalling nearly 190,000 model-year 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs due to a problem with the Totally Integrated Power Module that could cause the vehicles to stall suddenly. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will formally review millions more Chrysler SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans starting with the 2007 model year due to complaints of problems associated with the same module. An Aug. 21 letter from advocacy group the Center for Auto Safety initiated the review, informing NHTSA of 63 complaints pertaining to problems allegedly caused by the module.

Recall Alert: 2011 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

"The CAS alleges that TIPM failures have resulted in incidents of engine stall; airbag non-deployment; random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity; failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration; and fires," NHTSA said in a statement, also noting that the CAS petition also references a class-action lawsuit that has been filed regarding the alleged module failure.

By Matt Schmitz | September 29, 2014 | Comments (2)

Five Things That Might Make You Spend $40K on a Kia Sedona Minivan

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Despite Kia's recent entrance into the uber-lux car segment with the 2015 K900, a full-size sedan, many of us may still think of Kia as a budget brand. With the launch of the reinvented 2015 Kia Sedona, some families may pause before spending around $40,000 for the fully loaded minivan, which you have to do to get all the nifty features. This puts the Sedona in the same price range as the bulk its competitors; read, no major cost savings here. So why should a family consider springing for the rather pricey Kia minivan? I spent some time with the new Kia in and around Laguna Beach, Calif., at a drive event and found five reasons.

By Kristin Varela | September 29, 2014 | Comments (12)

2015 Chrysler Town and Country: Explaining the Trim Levels

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Busy families know there's no more functional family hauler than the iconic minivan. The Chrysler Town & Country has been a heavyweight in the segment since I used to rollerblade home after school to catch the latest "Full House" episode.

Related: More Minivan News

For today's discerning consumer, the Town & Country adds two new trim levels (the LX and the Limited Platinum), bringing the total lineup for the 2015 model year to six trims. That should assure there's a Town & Country to fit every family and every family's budget, but it also adds some confusion to the shopping process.

The 2014s are still currently on sale alongside 2015s. There are nearly 9,000 new 2014s in Cars.com's national inventory and approximately 5,700 2015 models.

By Kristin Varela | September 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Toyota Sienna Price Jumps $1,680 Over 2014 Model

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With a revised interior and a refreshed front end, Toyota hopes to draw families to its 2015 Sienna minivan. The starting price, however, might have them thinking twice: The 2015 Sienna starts at $29,485, including an $885 destination charge. That's a price increase of $1,680 over the 2014 Sienna L base model ($27,805).

Related: Toyota Releases Details on Updated 2015 Sienna

However, the base Sienna's price is less than the 2015 Honda Odyssey ($29,805) and the 2015 Chrysler Town & Country ($30,990). The 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan has the Sienna beat on price, though. The Grand Caravan SE base trim starts at $24,790.

While the Sienna's looks are new for 2015, the engine remains the same as the 2014 model year. The 266-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A 2015 all-wheel-drive Sienna gets an EPA-estimated 16/22 mg city/highway; the 2014 Sienna with all-wheel drive earned 16/23 mpg.

By Jennifer Newman | September 2, 2014 | Comments (21)

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