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The Troublesome Toyota Minivan

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Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Too many features, not enough knobs
Ann R. Thryft   8/2/2013 1:08:36 PM
This sounds like Toyota is following a trend I've seen in car dashboards for some time: clustering more and more functions on a single knob/dial. Considering the fact that there's limited space on the dash and yet more "features" that must be accommodated, this is likely to continue.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
Two things would make it better for me
Jim_E   8/2/2013 2:15:55 PM
Two simple things that they could have done to make it better:

- Put an LED on the Air Conditioning button (like the old model had).

- Make the fan speed adjustment more instantaneous.

 

We like the separate left/right HVAC temperature controls, but the single button mode switch is a real annoyance.

 

And, then there's the issue of the built-in bluetooth support to cell phones.  If you have more than one phone assocated with the system, it won't automatically switch to the phones which are active.  Instead, you have to go through a multi-step process to manually select the phone that you want active!  I've just been leaving it synched to my wife's phone, as it's too much of a pain to change back and forth....

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Two things would make it better for me
Rob Spiegel   8/2/2013 3:43:14 PM
Two issues here that seems strange to me include the delay after changing the fan speed? Why? The single phone connection. At any given time in my car, there might be four phones going.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Two things would make it better for me
Jim_E   8/2/2013 4:13:51 PM
As for the fan speed delay, I'm guessing that it's either a deliberate debounce or a soft acceleration ramp for the motor.  

The single phone issue just seems like a bad design that could likely be addressed with a firmware change (but never will be).

 

Here's the thread on the Sienna Forum about the 13 steps necessary to change the active phone:

http://www.siennachat.com/forum/67-mobile-electronics/10420-2013-xle-awd-no-nav-audio-upgrades-bt-phone-selection.html

 

 

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Too many features, not enough knobs
tekochip   8/2/2013 4:28:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Don't forget that it's also cheaper this way.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Too many features, not enough knobs
Charles Murray   8/2/2013 7:02:40 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Ann. I see that "clustering" effect repeatedly. I recently rented a car on vacation, and there were so many features clustered into the center console knobs that three adults couldn't figure out how to turn on the radio, until 35 minutes later, when we had arrived at our destination.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Two things would make it better for me
Rob Spiegel   8/2/2013 7:24:15 PM
Hey, Jim E. 13 steps! That's amazing. Exspecially in an age where virtual;ly everyone has a phone.

vimalkumarp
User Rank
Gold
Re: Too many features, not enough knobs
vimalkumarp   8/5/2013 2:08:45 AM
NO RATINGS
I guess this is a case of poor usability engineering. Surprising that this is not taken care even by the best in the industry.

Jim_E
User Rank
Platinum
One more annoyance
Jim_E   8/5/2013 8:37:46 AM
NO RATINGS
I have to post one more thing that bothers me about our new Sienna, but other new cars have the same issue. 

I have a set of keys that I always carry in my pocket.  Those include my pickup keys and remote (my primary vehicle) house keys and a key for the Toyota Sienna.  First off, the toyota key is a massive three and a quarter inches long, where a normal house key is two inches long and my pickup key is two and three-quarters of an inch long.  So, I have this long key that's always poking me in my pocket.  I refuse to carry the remote for both my pickup and the Sienna, so I have to use the key to get into the Sienna.  Well, on the new model Sienna, there's no exterior key hold on the passenger side of the vehicle!  So, to let the kids in, I have to walk around to the other side of the vehicle to use my key.  I thought this was odd, but my Dad's 2011 Ford F-150 also doesn't have a key on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Definitely a cost saving issue there, with the amount of physical parts required to install the other lock.

Apparently I'm the only person in the world who doesn't use the remote control to unlock a vehicle....

Earl54
User Rank
Silver
Re: One more annoyance
Earl54   8/5/2013 10:13:15 AM
No, you're not the only one.  I like to open the door for my wife, or to let the grandkids in.  Not having the lock on the passenger side is a true inconvenience, as we only have one remote for our (admittedly older) Altima.  I usually don't have that remote. 

As for the dash controls, there are decidedly unsafe conditions while adjusting newer vehicles.  Perhaps that is why we need so many airbags.

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