2020 Toyota Sienna vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Sienna and the Pathfinder 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Toyota Sienna is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:





5 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

260 lbs.

464 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

330/307 lbs.

516/475 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota Sienna is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

391 lbs.

457 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

18 inches

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

42 G’s

Hip Force

586 lbs.

661 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.


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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pathfinder.

There are over 13 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Nissan dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sienna’s warranty.


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 26 points higher than the Pathfinder.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sienna third among minivans in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Pathfinder isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Nissan is ranked 14th.


The Sienna’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 12 more horsepower (296 vs. 284) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

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 Nissan Pathfinder (3 to 5). This means the Sienna produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Pathfinder every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sienna’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:



Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

12.13 inches

The Sienna stops shorter than the Pathfinder:



60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Sienna L/LE/XLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Sienna SE’s tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Sienna has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sienna’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the Pathfinder (119.3 inches vs. 114.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sienna is 2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Pathfinder.

For better maneuverability, the Sienna AWD’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Pathfinder’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Sienna’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Pathfinder’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.7 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 Pathfinder (.335) 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 Pathfinder can only carry 7.

The Sienna has 10.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Pathfinder (164.4 vs. 154).

The Sienna has 1.8 inches more front hip room, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 10.1 inches more rear hip room, 4.2 inches more rear shoulder room, .5 inches more third row headroom, 5.6 inches more third row legroom, 8.3 inches more third row hip room and 4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Pathfinder.

The front step up height for the Sienna is 2.3 inches lower than the Pathfinder (16.7” vs. 19”). The Sienna’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the Pathfinder’s (19” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

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



Behind Third Seat

39.1 cubic feet

16.2 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

87.1 cubic feet

47.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

117.8 cubic feet

79.5 cubic feet

Max Cargo Volume

150 cubic feet

79.5 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 Pathfinder’s liftover is 31.5 inches.

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



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



Max Width



Min Width






Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Sienna Limited FWD’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

The Sienna has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Pathfinder doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.


The power windows standard on both the Sienna and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sienna is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Pathfinder’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

The Sienna Limited Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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

The Sienna has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

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 Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

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 Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sienna owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Sienna with a number “5” insurance rate while the Pathfinder is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sienna is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $327 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Sienna than the Pathfinder, including $131 less for a muffler, $42 less for front brake pads, $84 less for a starter, $1 less for fuel injection, $37 less for front struts and $127 less for a power steering pump.


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

The Toyota Sienna outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by 30% during 2018.

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

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