2020 Toyota Sienna vs. 2019 Ford Flex

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Sienna Limited Premium FWD’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Flex doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Sienna are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Ford Flex doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The Sienna has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Flex doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Sienna has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Flex offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Toyota Sienna has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Flex doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Sienna’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flex doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Sienna Limited Premium has a standard Bird’s Eye View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Flex only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Both the Sienna and the Flex have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the Sienna is 1.2% to 2.5% less likely to roll over than the Flex.

For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof-crush crash tests, an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sienna its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2015, a rating granted to only 162 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Flex is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2015.

The Toyota Sienna has a better fatality history. The Sienna was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 35.9% lower per vehicle registered than the Flex, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sienna for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Flex.


A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Sienna’s reliability 17 points higher than the Flex.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Ford is ranked 18th.


The Sienna’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 9 more horsepower (296 vs. 287) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 254) than the Flex’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sienna gets better fuel mileage than the Flex:




3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy


3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy



3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/23 hwy


3.5 DOHC V6

16 city/22 hwy

3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Sienna uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Flex Limited requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sienna has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Flex (20 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Sienna higher (5 out of 10) than the Ford Flex (3). This means the Sienna produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Flex every 15,000 miles.


An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Sienna, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Flex.

Brakes and Stopping

The Sienna stops much shorter than the Flex:



70 to 0 MPH

177 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

134 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

155 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Sienna can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Flex doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sienna’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the Flex (119.3 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sienna is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Flex.

For better maneuverability, the Sienna AWD’s turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the Flex’s (37.4 feet vs. 40.7 feet). The Sienna’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the Flex’s (37.5 feet vs. 40.7 feet).


The design of the Toyota Sienna amounts to more than styling. The Sienna has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .3 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Flex (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sienna get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Sienna offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Flex can only carry 7.

The Sienna has 8.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Flex (164.4 vs. 155.8).

The Sienna has 3.1 inches more front hip room, 6.6 inches more front shoulder room, 11.1 inches more rear hip room, 6.5 inches more rear shoulder room, 3 inches more third row legroom, 9.2 inches more third row hip room and 10.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Flex.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sienna’s middle and third row seats recline. The Flex’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Sienna’s cargo area provides more volume than the Flex.



Behind Third Seat

39.1 cubic feet

20 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded


43.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

87.1 cubic feet


Second Seat Folded

117.8 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

150 cubic feet

83.2 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Sienna easier. The Sienna’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 23.6 inches, while the Flex’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

The Sienna’s cargo area is larger than the Flex’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width







The Sienna’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Flex’s (3500 vs. 2000 pounds).


The Sienna’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Flex’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Sienna has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Flex doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Consumer Reports rated the Sienna’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Flex’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Sienna detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flex doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the Sienna Limited is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Flex’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Sienna Limited has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Flex has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Sienna has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Flex SEL/Limited.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sienna is less expensive to operate than the Flex because typical repairs cost much less on the Sienna than the Flex, including $430 less for a muffler, $1 less for front brake pads, $11 less for front struts and $115 less for a power steering pump.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Sienna, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Flex isn't recommended.

Consumer Reports performed a comparison test in its September 2010 issue and they ranked the Toyota Sienna XLE first. They ranked the Ford Flex Limited AWD third.

The Toyota Sienna outsold the Ford Flex by over four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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