Sienna minivan maximizes premium touches.
Amongst minivans, the Toyota Sienna ranks with the Honda Odyssey in quality and, along with the Chrysler Town & Country, is one of the three top selling vehicles in this shrinking segment. All new for 2011, the Toyota Sienna has been on the market since 1997, is offered in two- and all-wheel-drive configurations and now includes a base four cylinder engine as well as a potent V-6.
Toyota tries to encompass the entire minivan market with the Sienna, offering a base model priced from $25,060 to fully loaded minivans with all of the bells and whistles included for more than $40,000. Yes, the Toyota Sienna Limited AWD has a $40,570 sticker price, quite a high number for a “simple” people hauler.
Still, the Sienna offers the rock solid quality minivan owners want and will gladly pay for. Although the crossover segment continues to erode the minivan market, somehow Toyota seems to have found a market large enough to warrant offering its very best. If you’re looking for a Toyota crossover, the Highlander or Sequoia SUV are worth a look.
The base four cylinder engine is a first for the Sienna and should only be considered by people who aren’t planning to haul seven or eight people around in it. When minivans were truly mini, four cylinders made sense, but as these vehicles grew in size and in stature, V-6 engines have proven to suit these vehicles better.
The standard engine is offered in the base model, allowing the Sienna to compete with the Kia Sedona, but at a cost to power. Offering 187 horses, this engine struggles to deliver when the Sienna is fully loaded. You’d be better served by choosing the 266 horsepower V-6, offering power that is equivalent to the other players. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the Toyota Sienna line.
Inside is where the Toyota Sienna shines. Standard seating is for seven passengers, but an eight-seat configuration is possible if you replace the two captain’s chairs in the middle row with the bench seat. My advice here is this: if you really need room for eight, choose the Toyota Sequoia instead.
Given that most buyers will choose the V-6 engine, we’ll take a look at the “creature features” offered at this trim level.
For starters, a tilt and telescoping leather-trimmed steering wheel is standard. You also get audio controls built in, making it easier for you to handle audio, phone and voice commands. In addition, the Sienna offers an information center with navigation system and rear view camera; an XM radio compatible AM/FM/MP3 CD player with four speakers; tri-zone climate control; power driver’s seat; plenty of cupholders; and power windows, door locks and push button start system.
High end packages include leather touches, a variety of technological features included upgrade audio, DVD screens and an assortment of accessories for storage.
The Toyota Sienna offers broad safety features across its model line including side curtain airbags and driver’s knee airbag; vehicle stability control with traction control; brake assist with electronic brake force distribution; driver and front passenger active headrests; and a seatbelt system with pretensioners. Higher trim levels include such touches as dynamic radar cruise control; a pre-collision warning system; hill start assist; and front and rear parking sonar.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the 2011 Toyota Sienna “good” ratings for frontal offset, side impact, rear crash protection and for rollover. This is the highest rating the IIHS offers, a safety and insurance saving benefit for minivan shoppers.
2011 Toyota Sienna Specifications
|Standard Engine||2.7-liter, 16-valve I-4|
|Horsepower||187 @ 5,800 rpm
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||186 @ 4,100 rpm
|Optional Engine||3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6|
|Horsepower||266 @ 6,200 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||245 @ 4,700 rpm|
|Seating||2+2+3 or 2+3+3|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,275|
|Passenger Volume (cubic feet)||N/A|
|Storage (cubic feet)||39.1/87.1/150.0|
|Gas Tank (gallons)||20.0|
|EPA Gas MPG (I-4, 2WD)||19/24|
|EPA Gas MPG (V-6, 2WD)||18/24|
|EPA Gas MPG (V-6, AWD)||16/22|
|Manufacturing Plant||Princeton, Indiana|