Will a Toyota Sienna help me move a six-foot couch?
April 29, 2015 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I need to get a 6-foot couch transported. Would prefer to drive myself, and a pickup truck is a little too high/intimidating for me (I'm short and usually drive a compact car, same goes for my traveling companion). I've driven a minivan before and was looking at renting a Toyota Sienna from Zipcar. They say it's great for moving furniture, but they don't want you to remove the 2nd row of seats. Um, okay.

I know with 2nd row folded down and slid forward, there's a six-foot capacity, but I'm wondering if that's not giving myself enough wiggle room. I'm buying this couch on consignment, from a place over an hour away. Would hate to get there and not be able to fit said couch. If space is questionable I'll just let it go, though I'm kind of in love with the couch.

Any advice from folks who've been there/done that would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by luckyveronica to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
Honestly, take out the second row of seats and store them in your house. Bring a couple bungee cords just incase the door doesn't close all the way and be prepared to sit very close to the dash. Unless the sienna is a different model year than I have seen I don't think there is enough clearance above the folded row of seats for a sofa to fit.
posted by saradarlin at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2015

You're almost certainly going to have to take out the second row of seats, and even then I expect it will be a tight fit. Agree with saradarlin that you'll need to bring bungee cords to secure the door just in case it won't close. Also check the couch to see if you can screw off the legs, which can give you valuable inches in an edge case situation.

I will tell you, however, that there's almost no difference between driving a pickup truck and any other new-to-you vehicle you won't be able to see out the back of. With the shoving and seat removing and potentially open back door and hassle you're going to have to deal with on the van, driving slowly in a pickup may turn out to be the far less stressful option, even if a truck feels daunting.
posted by phunniemee at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Having done it in the past, loading sofas in a minivan sucks. The sofa might fit, but I've known some that won't. Plus, scratches dings and rips are all risks.

Just rent the pickup. They drive just like cars, but are so much easier to load heavy and unwieldy things.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

How about renting an SUV instead, or something else where you can fold the seats down?
posted by the_blizz at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2015

Or rent a U-Haul van for $20 + gas. They can probably tell you over the phone if the couch will fit, but those vans are pretty roomy inside. No seats to fold or remove.
posted by Koko at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2015 [4 favorites]

PS I'm also used to driving compact cars, and the U-Haul van was no problem for me. You may find you really like the extra visibility that added height gives you :)
posted by Koko at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

More than an hour away? Strongly seconding Koko's suggestion of a U-Haul van. There's just too much that can go wrong with stuffing something into a minivan and then driving for an hour. Get a 9' van and you'll have a huge margin of error.
posted by Etrigan at 11:42 AM on April 29, 2015

Yeah, rent one of those UHaul vans. I drive a Sienna and getting a couch in and out with all back seats removed would be a royal pain in the butt, and would probably mess up the ceiling or something else. In fact I did move a couch a few years ago and used a friend's pickup (and the friend) to do it.
posted by mareli at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2015

A small pickup truck (like a Ford Ranger) is really not hard to drive (nor is a full size pickup). Anything you rent from UHaul will be build on a truck chassis, so there really isn't any advantage to a van unless you are worried about rain. Moving a couch in a truck is much better than a minivan because your position relative to the couch gives you much greater visibility. Trucks are designed so you can see behind you when there are things in the bed, but you can't see out the back of a minivan if the back is full.
posted by ssg at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2015

Getting the middle row of seats would be a pain in the ass, and pushed all the way forward they're still bulky (I have a Sienna). Rent something bigger.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:42 PM on April 29, 2015

Piling on to say minivans (and SUVs) are really questionable for large furniture moves. For a move of that length, you don't want the back doors open. A larger pick-up or a full-size cargo van are what you want. Both will feel big, but with care are possible. A chassis with a bigger box, like a Uhaul 2-tonne, will work perfectly too.
posted by bonehead at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2015

Zipcar also rents full size vans in some locations. I used one to move a couch. Yes, you're up high in a much bigger van. But a sofa fits easily, and the van has tie-down points so the sofa doesn't move around.
posted by blob at 1:47 PM on April 29, 2015

Been there, done that. Rented a U-Haul though. This one. There was more than enough room. Getting it in and out of the van undamaged was easy. That's not going to be the case with a minivan. More importantly, it was secure, way more secure than it would have been hanging out the back of a minivan. For comparison, I usually drive a Mazda 3 and have never driven anything bigger than an SUV. I was fine, probably because I had a friend in the passenger seat being my lookout, checking my blind spot, etc.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2015

Enterprise has commercial rentals, with.cargo vans. They are great.
posted by Oyéah at 9:29 PM on April 29, 2015

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