Keep 2006 Lexus 400H or 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited?

We need to decide whether to sell our 2006 Lexus 400H or 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited. Lexus has 100K miles and gets ~24 MPG, Sienna has 105K miles and gets 17 MPG. Fuel conservation is important to us (our new car is a Nissan Leaf electric car). The wrinkles are – we have 3 kids who fit OK into the back of the Lexus but get pushy and grumbly about sitting right next to each other, plus the storage isn’t great for a mini-SUV due to the space the hybrid batteries take up. The Sienna MPG isn’t as good but I can haul around more kids and more stuff when needed. (For instance, I picked up four patio chaises the other day with no problems – never could have fit them in the Lexus.) That said, I don’t often have to haul around a bunch of kids or stuff, maybe 1-2X/month. Both vehicles are relatively OK maintenance-wise – they’ve both had timing belts replaced and 100K services done. Sienna needs new shocks soon, Lexus needs the brakes touched up, so about the same $$ there. Other option is to trade both vehicles in and get something new or slightly used that holds lots of kids/stuff and gets better MPG (is there such a vehicle??), but I’d rather not take on another car loan right now. We usually drive our cars until 200-250K miles. (Edited to add - clearly, I’m in favor of keeping the Sienna but my husband really wants to keep the Lexus due to MPG. Would love some objective opinions!)

Thanks for any input!

If the Sienna is in good shape…keep it. The Lexus is nice but it’s seems a bit small for your needs.

Yep. Sienna.

The Lexus is the car you want, but it sounds like the Sienna is the car you need.

From a technical standpoint, the Lexus has less miles, is a newer vehicle, and gets better mileage. If you want to convince your husband to keep the Sienna instead, really focus only on the fact that you need the Sienna to do certain activities that the Lexus simply is not suited for.

Keep the Sienna.

Yes the gas mileage is less…but based on your yearly average mileage - you’re averaging less then 12k miles a year. Even at 17mpg the difference would be $720/yr compared to the Lexus.

Both have about the same amount of mileage. As long as the Sienna is running well and you’ve kept up on the maintenance…then I’d keep the Sienna.

Another vote to keep the Sienaa. Even with two kids, when they were smaller, our minivan was very handy. It doubles as a truck too-as you have realized. 1-2 times per month is enough for me to warrant the extra gas money.
As far as adding another car, I say drive the Sienna until it starts causing trouble, your needs might be different by then.

I vote for the Sienna also, your kids aren’t going to get any smaller. Once the seats were folded up I was surprised how much stuff fits in my wife’s 06 Sienna. Besides the wife is always right.

Ed B.

Either keep the Sienna or sell both and get another minivan. You can’t beat the space for people and cargo in a minivan. We have 3 children and have been happy with a minivan since 1996. Now that the children are grown and starting to move out, my wife doesn’t want to give hers up.

Mine is another vote to keep the Sienna. When my kids were young I became convinced that my minivan (a Toyota) was a gift directly from the gods. You can do SOOO much more as a family with a minivan. And the kids can bring their friends too!

And it’s a lot harder to punch each other.

As the one leaning towards the Lexus (or perhaps more accurately, away from the Sienna), I’d like to add a few points to my wife’s post:

I question whether we “need” the Sienna. Many families have three kids and buy bulky stuff from time to time and get by without the need to own a minivan. For example, without a minivan, we would simply no longer be the family that gives rides to other families kids. I don’t see that as a problem.

Comparing the yearly average mileage on the Sienna and Lexus is not really appropriate. The Sienna has been used on extremely long distance vacations once a year since we bought it and mostly cross-town driving the rest of the time where the Lexus was mostly a commuting vehicle and is now the cross-town car and the Sienna sits unused unless hauling large loads as my wife mentioned. I am now driving the Leaf as the commuting car. As a result, we are saving quite a bit on gas by not using the Sienna as the errands vehicle and only using it when forced to as the neighborhood bus or to haul patio chaises. That daily saving would evaporate if we sold the Lexus and my wife went back to full-time use of the Sienna.

Should we want to continue to take driving vacations and no longer had the Sienna, we could always rent a minivan for the trip. I don’t see that it makes sense to retain the minivan for this once per year function either.

I think in my mind, the question is not whether to keep the Sienna or the Lexus, but whether to keep the Lexus or replace it as well as the Sienna with something in between in size and getting better mileage than the Sienna.

How old are your children? As they grow, 3 in the back will be quite tight. And if they are young, fighting takes place far more often if they are In a cramped back seat.

Dump those two turkeys before the engines sludge up and get an SUV with a 3rd row seat:
Toyota Highlander Hybrid or Honda Pilot.

The kids will grow, so if they grumble in the back of the Lexus now - that will only get worse. If college is getting close the mini van can do a better job at hauling any dorm room set up stuff 2X times per year.

Renting a mini van for long trips just eats up any savings if you keep the Lexus. Since the Leaf is a car perfect for commuting but limited in other respects I think it makes sense to keep the most practical vehicle as the 2nd car. You are saving a lot of gas with the Leaf so the gas savings for that 2nd car isn’t the priority to me. When one car is small and can’t handle a whole family outing, then the 2nd car must be up to the tasks of a family hauler. If I was a kid I wouldn’t want to the middle seat kid either. Keep the Sienna, or sell both and buy another family hauler that you like better than the Sienna.

Dump those two turkeys before the engines sludge up and get an SUV with a 3rd row seat: Toyota Highlander Hybrid or Honda Pilot.

Neither of those engines are sludge prone.

Uh, it was meant to be a joke, but it can happen:

Keep the Sienna; it’s only half worn at best.

Actually, the Sienna is a terrible car, so you need to sell it cheap. To me. Heh, heh.

Love my 2002 Sienna with 205,000 miles on it. I am not doing long trips in the US as I did, so it comes out to maybe 6,000 miles a year. This 2002 is going to last me a long time, unless it dies in a wreck.

Toyota Sludge engines were from 1997 thru 2002. Even if you changed your oil regularly - your engine could still sludge up. Toyota engines after that - if the engine sludge up then it was probably from abuse. There has not been wide spread sludging in Toyota engines since 2002. If so I’m sure we all would have heard about it.

The problem is that there isn’t much in between in size that gets significantly better gas mileage. A minivan is the ideal vehicle for carrying things and stuff efficiently. A three-row SUV will give you in-between space, but gas mileage comparable to the Sienna’s, or even worse. I’m afraid I’m with your wife on this one. A family of five is a tight squeeze in current two-row vehicles. For some reason manufacturers shape the back seats of cars and crossovers, even big ones, to fit only two people comfortably. The middle rider is forced up onto a hard hummock. Your smallest kid will grow up with a really bad attitude (it’s how we explain my baby sister to strangers).

Your kids are not going to get any smaller and at some point you’ll need a three-row vehicle (unless carmakers regain their sanity). You might as well keep the Sienna and run it until it dies. Whenever that happens you may have more attractive choices, and cars will undoubtedly be more efficient on average. Environmentally, that’s probably the best thing you can do. Making a car takes a lot of energy compared to hanging onto your current vehicle, and its gas mileage isn’t really that bad. When I was a kid (sixties and seventies) we had full-size station wagons that got no more than 15 mpg on the highway (lightly loaded) and about 10 mpg in town. My dad was astounded at the efficiency of his first minivan and how much it held. To my mind, your Lexus doesn’t get good enough gas mileage for the limited cargo space and the added cost and complexity.

Do you guys never take road trips? Or even just long weekends? My best childhood memories are of seeing the country from a Ford station wagon. We covered most of the country on our annual trips, and quite a lot if Mexico and Canada. As an adult I have never been able to travel nearly as much and wish I could. If you ever decide to take a long car trip you’ll aporeciate having a minivan. With the Lexus you’ll barely fit the peiple and need a rooftop carrier to manage the luggage (and they kill gas mileage). The Sienna will be much more comfortable for everyone.