2011 Toyota Sienna To Feature Optional Auto Access Seat

From Edmunds Inside Line – Toyota upped the ante in the minivan market on Monday at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show by rolling out an Auto Access Seat on its 2011 Sienna minivan that should make life easier for people with disabilities. The option will be available in February, but pricing has not been announced.

“It will be in the general neighborhood of what a mobility system would run,” said Toyota spokesman Greg Thome, when contacted by phone by Inside Line. “But I can’t make an educated guess as to what that would be.”

The seat rotates to the outside of the vehicle and ascends and descends to load a passenger. The seat rotates 90 degrees and can be lowered to within 19 inches from the ground. It has a lift capacity of up to 330 pounds and has one-touch operation. The seat will be available on Sienna LE and XLE models.

Toyota described it as a “much-needed transportation solution for the caregivers of an elderly parent or spouse with a walking disability, a disabled veteran, or for the parents of a child with a disability.”

Inside Line says: A perfect option, especially for aging Baby Boomers. But expect it to be fairly expensive. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

Disability Alert says: Finally a car maker that realizes 14% of the population have disabilities. GM and Ford have spent millions trying to advertise non-existent adaptation programs while ignoring any innovation for the disabled. This solution won’t meet the needs of those in wheelchairs but it will help many people. The US Government could help by focusing on the needs of those with disabilities and autos. After-market adaptations can cost $30,000 or more and are only available to those with insurance or the wealthy.

Toyota will display an innovative Auto Access Seat, designed for use in the all-new 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan, for the first time at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Toyota is the first automaker in North America to offer a factory-installed, rotating, power ascending/descending lift-up seat. Designed internally, the Auto Access Seat will offer a new level of comfort and convenience to anyone who may need assistance getting in or out of a vehicle.

Factory installed at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) assembly plant, the Auto Access Seat offers consumers a seamless purchase-process alternative to the current aftermarket installation method, which requires the consumer to purchase their vehicle and then have it modified by an aftermarket supplier.

The Sienna minivan equipped with the Auto Access Seat will offer a much needed transportation solution for the caregivers of an elderly parent or spouse with a walking disability, a disabled veteran, or for the parents of child with a disability.

The Auto Access Seat features a one-touch operation and benefits from the all-new Siennas spacious interior and wide-opening sliding doors. A seat-mounted ingress/egress switch and a wireless remote control allows for easy and flexible seat operation. The seat rotates 90 degrees and can be lowered to within 19 inches of the ground to further facilitate easier passenger transfers at the exact height required.

Once inside, the Auto Access Seat occupant can utilize reclining and slide switches located on both sides of the seat. This allows operation of up to four inches of slide travel and reclining of up to 24 degrees. The auto-recline feature also allows for safe head clearance through the door frame during entry and exit. The compact design of the seat also provides ample legroom for third-row passengers.

The Auto Access Seat is equipped with a number of safety attributes, including an audible beep when the seat is in operation, and a park-shift interlock feature that prevents seat operation if the vehicle is not in the Park position. A sliding door sensor allows the seat to operate only when the sliding door is completely open. Two audible beeps will warn the user of a partially open sliding-door condition, or if the seat is not fully stowed when the door close button is pressed. A manual retraction function allows the seat to be retracted fully in the event of a vehicle power failure.

The Auto Access Seat also features obstruction-detection programming, which notifies the operator with two audible beeps and halts seat operation. The seat will retract when an obstruction is met to facilitate easier removal of the object.

Additional safety features include Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) to properly secure any iso-fix style child safety seat. The Auto Access Seat meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

The Auto Access Seat will be available on Sienna LE and XLE models. The seat fabric matches the vehicle interior fabric and has a stain- and odor-resistant treatment. The seat is vinyl trimmed on the XLE model to better match the XLE grade interior style and allows for easier passenger transfer.

Consumers will benefit from Toyota quality, durability, and reliability with the new Auto Access Seat system. The seat-operating mechanism is link-driven, allowing enhanced durability and a more quiet operation than chain-driven systems. The Auto Access Seat has a lift capacity of up to 330 lbs., making it useful for people of all sizes or those who carry specialized medical equipment. Owners will also enjoy the convenience of having the seat system serviced at their local Toyota dealership, which comes with a comprehensive three-year/36,000 mile factory warranty.

Toyotas Auto Access Seat will be available when the new third-generation Sienna goes on sale in February 2010 (dealer order may be required).

Toyota will also display a new wheelchair-accessible Sienna Rampvan converted by BraunAbility at the Detroit show. With an automatic side-entry ramp, 10-inch-lowered floor, 56-inch-tall side-door opening and removable front seats; wheelchair users can choose to ride in the center of the van, the front-passenger position, or even drive from their chair. This state-of-the-art conversion takes full advantage of the innovative features of the all-new Sienna and will be available in the second quarter of 2010. BraunAbility is the leading manufacturer of accessible wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts.

Written by Byline
January 12th, 2010 at 9:02 am

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