2011 Toyota Sienna: A Speedo Clarification
April 04, 2011
I realize now that I should've been clearer about why I didn't like 55 being at the center of the Sienna's speedometer. It has nothing to do with wanting to do 140 mph in a minivan -- stopping at a buck 10 is way more than sufficient for this thing. Instead, this is entirely a psychological relation between seeing the speedometer in my periphery, my sense of speed and my right foot.
There is something disconcerting about seeing that needle buried and I'm pretty sure I'm subconsciously slowing down because of it, since I've been "programmed" to equate such a needle position as being indicative of a grossly illegal speed. I equally remember being freaked out by my friend's old '96 Cherokee for the same reason. Now, this is a problem when it's quite common on Los Angeles freeways to drive in the 75 to 80-mph range with traffic regardless of what the speed limit says.
Perhaps this explains why Siennas are always going so damned slow around here (well, at least a small part of the explanation). Perhaps this a great way to make everyone slow down. Perhaps this is the CHP's worst nightmare because they won't be able to collect money from the citizenry. Perhaps I'm alone in my psychological peripheral speedometer phobia, but I still think it's a little weird, a little disconcerting and quite possibly the end of the world. OK, maybe not the last bit.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,002 miles