One of the best examples of the family minivan is the 2012 Toyota Sienna. Completely redesigned from the ground up in 2011, the Sienna has not only garnered the love of families everywhere for its reliability, safety and performance, it has also gathered much praise and several awards from industry experts.
The Sienna (MSRP $24,520) is available in a wide range of trims including Sienna, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. LE, SE and XLE models are available with eight-passenger capacity while all other models accommodate up to seven passengers.
LE and XLE models are available with Mobility Auto Access, an innovative, electronic-access, rear captain’s chair that makes life easier for those with disabilities. The seat electronically rotates outside the vehicle and descends to within 19 inches of the ground. It has a 330-pound capacity and one-touch operation.
The entry Sienna comes equipped with a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine generating 187 hp and 186 lb/ft of torque. Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive, the 2.7-liter returns 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
All other models offer a smooth and powerful 3.5-liter V6 with 266 hp and 245 lb/ft of torque. Also paired with a six-speed automatic, the V6 is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive, a drivetrain option not currently found on other minivans. Sienna V6 models return up to 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
The Sienna has exceptional road manners. Both engines are quiet and refined with transmissions that shift seamlessly. For those who seek a sportier edge to their minivan experience, SE models are equipped with a recalibrated suspension for more agile handling and firmer ride quality. The SE model also has unique exterior styling features like lower body skirting, tinted headlights and taillights, more aggressive 19-inch alloy wheels and a unique front grille with mesh inserts and larger air intake.
Depending on how you equip your Sienna, the inside can be like a home away from home. Available amenities include privacy glass with second- and third-row sunshades, power-sliding doors and rear liftgate, leather upholstery with heated front seats, wood-grain trim, automatic power windows, triple-zone automatic climate control, second-row lounge seats with pop-up footrests, dual sunroofs, a 10-speaker JBL surround-sound system with four-disc CD changer and iPod connectivity, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones and a large screen that can split to display two separate media sources and a front-seat, voice-activated touchscreen navigation system.
Available driver favorites include rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, keyless entry with push button starting, a backup camera with standard and wide-angle view and a windshield de-icer.
All home-like amenities aside, one of the most crucial aspects of a family minivan is its ability to protect occupants in the event of an accident, and the 2011 Toyota Sienna is one of the highest performers in the crash safety arena. As proof, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently awarded the Sienna a Top Safety Pick, thanks to its standard electronic stability control and crash avoidance technology paired with top-rated crash performance in front, side, rollover and rear-impact testing.
The Sienna is an incredible family vehicle value, and it’s also one of the least expensive minivans to own. In fact, Edmunds.com named the 2011 Sienna the lowest True Cost to Own® minivan because of its outstanding performance in holding resale value, low cost of financing, insuring and registration and, of course – like every Toyota – low cost of maintenance.
There’s a huge difference between reading what the 2012 Toyota Sienna has to offer and actually experiencing it, so schedule a test drive today, and be sure to bring the entire family so you can see firsthand how accommodating the Sienna really is.