Toyota Sienna FWD in Snow / Ice

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Hello Anyone have a Toyota Sienna FWD and have experience with it in the snow / ice? I am curious how it would do as a weekend warrior vehicle in the San Francisco bay are taking trips to Lake Tahoe for the Winter ski season. I understand that the type or tires are important and would be looking at getting a high quality All Season with severe snow service rating. My Sienna FWD is a 2012 and has traction control and vehicle stability control. Overall looking to hear peoples experience with a FWD Sienna in snow and ice conditions. I understand one advantage it has is its long wheel base.
 
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I have an '11 Highlander that's only FWD. Use actual winter tires, and it'll go anywhere that's been paved to begin with. I'd think that a Sienna would be similar.
 
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Originally Posted by tiredguy
Hello Anyone have a Toyota Sienna FWD and have experience with it in the snow / ice? I am curious how it would do as a weekend warrior vehicle in the San Francisco bay are taking trips to Lake Tahoe for the Winter ski season. I understand that the type or tires are important and would be looking at getting a high quality All Season with severe snow service rating. My Sienna FWD is a 2012 and has traction control and vehicle stability control. Overall looking to hear peoples experience with a FWD Sienna in snow and ice conditions. I understand one advantage it has is its long wheel base.
You should be fine. It is Toyota, get ready for torque steer. I got AWD version precisely for that reason and torque steer is still present (of course to much less extent). You still should be fine, although I would not consider all season tires by any means a snow tires.
 
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If the vehicle spends all its time except for a few weekends in San Francisco, snow tires are a no go since it's only 40-50 degrees at its coldest in SF--right? Buying snow tires and rims for a couple weekends doesn't make sense to me, and leaving snows on in SF is going to eat through them. Probably getting more aggressive all-seasons and driving carefully if there's snow on the road is what makes sense.
 
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My observations on families who have Ody and Sienna with winter tires. When loaded up for skiing with gear and people they okay but not as good as other FWD's. I am guessing the front wheels are not as weighted down but don't know. I tend to drive around them as they slip up hills slowly heading to ski mountains when the lines (eg passing lanes) are covered. The other item working against minivans in winter especially Ody is ground clearance. They are draggers. Not sure on Sienna.
 
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Being FWD in CA, going to Lake Tahoe, etc... get chains also, and know how to install and remove them (practice in Warmer San Fran first). R1 condition basically says you need M+S tires and carry chains. R2 means you need chains on FWD cars (and carry chains with M+S tires on AWD/4WD) Still better to have the 3PMS rated tires for R1 conditions than regular all-seasons.
Originally Posted by edyvw
You should be fine. It is Toyota, get ready for torque steer. I got AWD version precisely for that reason and torque steer is still present (of course to much less extent). You still should be fine, although I would not consider all season tires by any means a snow tires.
It's a transverse engined FWD car, it's going to have torque steer due to unequal length driveshafts. Your Tiguan has the same issue also, due to the transverse engine with unequal length driveshafts. so don't make it out to be a Toyota specific issue due to buyer's remorse.
Originally Posted by IronMaidenRules
If the vehicle spends all its time except for a few weekends in San Francisco, snow tires are a no go since it's only 40-50 degrees at its coldest in SF--right? Buying snow tires and rims for a couple weekends doesn't make sense to me, and leaving snows on in SF is going to eat through them. Probably getting more aggressive all-seasons and driving carefully if there's snow on the road is what makes sense.
That's why there is a market for All-weather tires, such as the Michelin CrossClimate, Nokian WR G4(SUV), Toyo Celcius (SUV), Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady, Vredestein Quatrac, Firestone's offering, etc.
 
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I live in Minnesota and have a FWD Sienna, and its fine. Good tires make a huge difference. I've read in a few places that only 10% of the power only goes to the rear wheels in the AWD. Something is better than nothing, but in this case its not a whole lot more. Have fun in Tahoe!
 
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Originally Posted by bigblumer
I live in Minnesota and have a FWD Sienna, and its fine. Good tires make a huge difference. I've read in a few places that only 10% of the power only goes to the rear wheels in the AWD. Something is better than nothing, but in this case its not a whole lot more. Have fun in Tahoe!
No, on the AWD system on the Sienna, up to 40% goes to the rear axle.
 
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There are hundred's of front wheel drive Sienna's running M&S all seasons up in Calgary. It's dumping snow right now. Also, it's perfectly legal to use M&S tires in winter in the passes up here in British Columbia, even on 8 % grades. Here is the truth. I do not know of anyone up here who has ever put on a set of snow chains other than semi drivers on oil patch bush roads. I do use full-on mountain snowflake winter tires but I wouldn't suggest buying them for the occasional weekend. They do have snow plows down there. smile
 
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
There are hundred's of front wheel drive Sienna's running M&S all seasons up in Calgary. It's dumping snow right now. Also, it's perfectly legal to use M&S tires in winter in the passes up here in British Columbia, even on 8 % grades. Here is the truth. I do not know of anyone up here who has ever put on a set of snow chains other than semi drivers on oil patch bush roads. I do use full-on mountain snowflake winter tires but I wouldn't suggest buying them for the occasional weekend. They do have snow plows down there. smile
That may be true for BC Canada, but in California & Nevada, when the law tells you to be using chains, you better be using chains. If in a Caltrans R1 condition, and you approach a checkpoint, if you don't have chains in the car, they can turn you around, and prevent you from proceeding. [Linked Image from gannett-cdn.com] Also, a good tool to use, before you go out is: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ Then go to Quickmap "Options" pull down, then "Road Conditions", then select "Chain Controls", so it will tell you what roads have chain controls and the R-value
 
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Owned a Honda Odyssey for 10 years, and I live where winter conditions are extreme. With premium winter tires, the van was very good in winter. Electronic stability assist and traction control worked very, very well, and the van was as capable as any FWD vehicle out there. With all season tires, the van was not nearly as good. In tough conditions, getting moving was a challenge, maybe due to the weight, and the fact that only two wheels with marginal tires are pulling that weight. And traction control was a problem as well, cutting power at the exact moment you needed some wheel spin to get thru the deep stuff. By the time you realized that turning OFF the traction control was a good idea, you had already bogged down and were close to getting stuck. Tires make all the difference.
 
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Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Being FWD in CA, going to Lake Tahoe, etc... get chains also, and know how to install and remove them (practice in Warmer San Fran first). R1 condition basically says you need M+S tires and carry chains. R2 means you need chains on FWD cars (and carry chains with M+S tires on AWD/4WD) Still better to have the 3PMS rated tires for R1 conditions than regular all-seasons.
Originally Posted by edyvw
You should be fine. It is Toyota, get ready for torque steer. I got AWD version precisely for that reason and torque steer is still present (of course to much less extent). You still should be fine, although I would not consider all season tires by any means a snow tires.
It's a transverse engined FWD car, it's going to have torque steer due to unequal length driveshafts. Your Tiguan has the same issue also, due to the transverse engine with unequal length driveshafts. so don't make it out to be a Toyota specific issue due to buyer's remorse.
Originally Posted by IronMaidenRules
If the vehicle spends all its time except for a few weekends in San Francisco, snow tires are a no go since it's only 40-50 degrees at its coldest in SF--right? Buying snow tires and rims for a couple weekends doesn't make sense to me, and leaving snows on in SF is going to eat through them. Probably getting more aggressive all-seasons and driving carefully if there's snow on the road is what makes sense.
That's why there is a market for All-weather tires, such as the Michelin CrossClimate, Nokian WR G4(SUV), Toyo Celcius (SUV), Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady, Vredestein Quatrac, Firestone's offering, etc.
Every transverse mounted engine FWD has torque steer, you are right there. Some more some less. GTI has also some torque steer, but there is HUGE difference between two. By the way Tiguan AWD is FAR BETTER vehicle when it comes to any dynamic aspect. I am not sure Toyota's focus was on anything dynamic and that is fine. But to compare torque steer in Tiguan and Sienna is ridiculous. I also drive FWD Pilot a lot. It needs three lanes to accelerate to 60 when I push it from stand still. It si actually worse than Sienna FWD.
 
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Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by bigblumer
I live in Minnesota and have a FWD Sienna, and its fine. Good tires make a huge difference. I've read in a few places that only 10% of the power only goes to the rear wheels in the AWD. Something is better than nothing, but in this case its not a whole lot more. Have fun in Tahoe!
No, on the AWD system on the Sienna, up to 40% goes to the rear axle.
10% of torque in Sienna goes during acceleration and cornering in any condition. So, I think that is where confusion comes from. Under hard acceleration front wheels will slip, as system is not that advanced, but in the end it does its job. However, as far as I know, system will transfer at most 50%, not 40%.
 
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Originally Posted by edyvw
Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by bigblumer
I live in Minnesota and have a FWD Sienna, and its fine. Good tires make a huge difference. I've read in a few places that only 10% of the power only goes to the rear wheels in the AWD. Something is better than nothing, but in this case its not a whole lot more. Have fun in Tahoe!
No, on the AWD system on the Sienna, up to 40% goes to the rear axle.
10% of torque in Sienna goes during acceleration and cornering in any condition. So, I think that is where confusion comes from. Under hard acceleration front wheels will slip, as system is not that advanced, but in the end it does its job. However, as far as I know, system will transfer at most 50%, not 40%.
Toyota's Active Torque control can only send up to 40% to the rear, with the default 100:0 bias..... ... it's actually 45% max to the rear. The newer system, the Dynamic Torque control is up to 50% to the rear, and 90:10 ratio for when the steering angle sensor detects steering input.
 
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
There are hundred's of front wheel drive Sienna's running M&S all seasons up in Calgary. It's dumping snow right now. Also, it's perfectly legal to use M&S tires in winter in the passes up here in British Columbia, even on 8 % grades. Here is the truth. I do not know of anyone up here who has ever put on a set of snow chains other than semi drivers on oil patch bush roads. I do use full-on mountain snowflake winter tires but I wouldn't suggest buying them for the occasional weekend. They do have snow plows down there. smile
I cannot tell you how many times I got stuck behind people with FWD, RWD or AWD cars and all season tires trying to navigate passes here during snow storm.
 
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Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by edyvw
Originally Posted by UG_Passat
Originally Posted by bigblumer
I live in Minnesota and have a FWD Sienna, and its fine. Good tires make a huge difference. I've read in a few places that only 10% of the power only goes to the rear wheels in the AWD. Something is better than nothing, but in this case its not a whole lot more. Have fun in Tahoe!
No, on the AWD system on the Sienna, up to 40% goes to the rear axle.
10% of torque in Sienna goes during acceleration and cornering in any condition. So, I think that is where confusion comes from. Under hard acceleration front wheels will slip, as system is not that advanced, but in the end it does its job. However, as far as I know, system will transfer at most 50%, not 40%.
Toyota's Active Torque control can only send up to 40% to the rear. The newer system, the Dynamic Torque control is up to 50% to the rear
I know newer one is from 2015. Did not know older one was 40%.
 
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The current Sienna is still on the old Active Torque Control system that debuted in 2006. See: https://youtu.be/pN6-gCxI60g?t=381 where you can make out the 45% rear & 55% front max bias. When the redesigned Sienna comes out, it should get the new Dynamic Torque Vectoring system that debuted on the 2019 RAV4.
 
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Originally Posted by UG_Passat
The current Sienna is still on the old Active Torque Control system that debuted in 2006. See: https://youtu.be/pN6-gCxI60g?t=381 where you can make out the 45% rear & 55% front max bias. When the redesigned Sienna comes out, it should get the new Dynamic Torque Vectoring system that debuted on the 2019 RAV4.
I will try to find it later. There was a change in the way AWD works on HL and Sienna in 2015. 2012-2014 Sienna and 2014 HL had 100% torque to front wheel unless slip. Change in 2015 on both vehicles is that 10% goes back under acceleration and cornering.
 
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2014 Highlander has the Dynamic Torque control AWD system the previous generation ended with the 2013 model year, which its Full-time AWD system had a fixed 50:50 split.
 
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