The Toyota Sienna moves into its second year with a number of comfort and convenience enhancements. Toyota introduced the third-generation Sienna family van for 2011 model year with a sharper focus on comfort, versatility, style and fuel efficiency. The 2011 Sienna also introduced a four-cylinder engine choice and remains the only van in the segment to offer an all-wheel-drive option.
Sienna was completely redesigned last year to cater to traditional family van needs while also meeting growing demands for more responsive driving character and onboard “infotainment” technology. With state-of the art features and rewarding driving dynamics, the Sienna is a vehicle that current minivan, passenger car and SUV owners will find satisfying to drive. The sporty Sienna SE, for example, combines sportier exterior styling with more dynamic driving performance from a sport-tune suspension system.
For 2012 model year the XLE grade adds a standard power passenger seat and auto on/off headlights.
The Sienna was primarily designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research, developed at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana.
Toyota designed this current-generation Sienna to convey a more distinctive presence in the family van segment. The shape is also functional; a coefficient of drag (Cd) of .306 is low for the class and a major factor in providing a quiet interior and admirable fuel economy. The sleek profile is complemented by distinctive window shapes and sliding door tracks hidden within the side window frames. A sophisticated headlamp design and sculpted rear corner shapes help to make the Sienna stand out among other vans.
The interior features upscale quality and elegance, yet every element is logical and functional. The distinctive swept shape of the dashboard creates the perception of increased personal space for both driver and passenger. The seat designs add flexibility and roominess, while central climate and audio controls are integrated into a single graphic element.
Power, Plus Efficiency
The 2012 Sienna offers a choice between two responsive DOHC engines: a 3.5-liter V6 or 2.7-liter four-cylinder. Both engines offer the latest in efficient, lightweight technology, including Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), roller rocker arms and an Acoustically Controlled Induction System (ACIS) that changes the intake tract length to optimize torque.
The 3.5-liter V6 generates 266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, with EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway (17 mpg city/23 mpg highway on AWD models). It also has a 3,500-pound towing capacity. With 187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces responsive power and delivers EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 19 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway. Both engines are matched with Sienna’s state-of-the-art, electronically controlled six-speed transmission with sequential shift that provides a smooth gear-shift feeling, quiet performance and a lightweight, compact size.
The suspension uses front MacPherson struts, combined with rack-and pinion steering for smooth, linear steering feel. Electronic Power Steering (EPS) and a wide stance help deliver a solid, direct on-road feel. Aerodynamic under-body elements also contribute to Sienna’s dynamic performance.
Models and Features
The 2012 Sienna is available in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. All-wheel-drive is available with the V6 on LE, XLE and Limited models. All others are front-wheel drive. The value-driven Sienna grade and popular LE are equipped with an wide array of standard features that include: cruise control, Daytime Running Lights with manual on/off feature, tri-zone air conditioning, six- or eight-way-adjustable driver’s captain’s chair, power windows with auto up/down and jam protection, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, XM compatibility, auxiliary input jack, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and three 12V outlets, among other amenities.
The LE V6 model is upgraded with even more standard features including dual power-sliding doors and power rear door, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, electrochromatic rearview mirror with Homelink™, multi-information display with backup camera, rear window sunshades, AM/FM/MP3 CD player, integrated SiriusXM® satellite radio capability with 90 day trial subscription, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth®, and steering wheel audio controls. Those features can be added to the four-cylinder model as an optional package.
The XLE builds on the LE, adding features such as leather-trimmed seats, tilt/slide moonroof, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, and heated front seats. Select optional XLE equipment includes a 10-speaker JBL® premium sound system with voice-activated DVD Navigation and Panorama rear camera with integrated back-up guides, XM® NavTraffic capability with 90 day trial subscription, rear-seat Dual View Entertainment system, rear sonar, Smart Key, and an auxiliary audio jack and USB port with iPod connectivity.
The Limited is designed for customers who want top-of-line luxury in a family van. The standard equipment list is extensive, including a second-row Lounge Seating and a power 60/40 Split & Stow third-row seat, front and rear parking sonar, Smart Key that also operates on both sliding doors, Safety Connect™, and North America’s first independently powered, slide opening dual moonroofs. Select options include those available on the XLE plus HID auto high-beam auto-high beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The Sienna SE is designed for those who appreciate an even sportier design with responsive performance. The front shows a bolder appearance, while the side skirting visually lowers the vehicle and hugs the standard 19-inch alloy wheels. Smoked taillights make a distinctive statement. The SE sits lower on a sport-tuned suspension, for even sharper handling, and it comes with exclusive instrumentation and unique interior colors and trim.
Greater cabin width helps create extended personal space for both driver and front passenger. Numerous storage bins, cupholders and cargo spaces are placed in convenient locations.
An open field of view creates an airy, roomy ambiance throughout the cabin. A conversation mirror, integrated into the sunglass case in the overhead console, allows comfortable visual contact with rear seat passengers. The third-row passengers can see forward more easily.
Both seven- and eight-seat cabins can be configured for a full contingent of passengers, a load of cargo, or a mix of both. In seven-seat cabins, the second row captain chairs slide 23 inches, moving to the rear to create legroom for the tallest passengers and easier ingress and egress. Or, they can be moved forward close to the front seats to make it easy to reach a child passenger, while also allowing easy access for third-row passengers.
A sliding center console on the XLE all-wheel-drive and Limited grades can be shared between the front seats and second row passengers. The illuminated console slides into the second row area to provide convenient access for both rows, so the need for storage and passenger comfort can be equally served.
For even more passenger comfort, there is standard second-row Lounge Seating on the Limited grade, which includes leg and foot support. Second-row captain’s chairs on all grades have dual armrests, and a one-motion release mechanism facilitates seat removal. On eight-passenger models, the second row seats offer added versatility and convenience. The second-row center seat can be removed and stowed in the left side of the rear-storage area. When the center seat is stowed, a cupholder and storage tray is revealed. The eight-passenger interior can easily be converted for seven passengers.
The second-row seats also feature a Tip Up and Long Slide feature, allowing them to slide forward and back on extended rails, making more room for people or cargo. All second-row seats, regardless of configuration, move out of the way with one touch to gain easy access to the third-row seats.
The 60/40 Split and Stow third-row seat folds flat with one motion, with the Limited front-wheel drive model receiving a power feature. With the third-row seat in use, there is enough storage for five golf bags or four large suitcases. Four handy grocery hooks, with two in the back and two in the second-row seatbacks, add storage convenience. With the third-row seat stowed and the second-row seat removed, the cargo area is approximately eight feet long and four feet wide, for up to 150 cubic feet of available space.
A wide rear door and wide side doors, a low floor height and one-touch second-row seats make it very easy and convenient to load the Sienna. Sliding the second-row seats all the way to the rear creates a walk-in aisle, making it easier to enter, exit, install a child seat, or place a child in a seat. The second-row seats can be moved forward, behind the front row, to maximize rear cargo capacity, especially with the third-row stowed flat.
The available rear-seat Dual View Entertainment Center uses two displays side-by-side to create a seamless 16.4-inch widescreen image from a single source. The system can split the screen into two individual screens, each with input from separate sources. Used as a single screen, it can be easily seen from the third row, and it can be operated from any seat via remote control. Used as two screens, the system can accommodate the preferences of two separate passengers who might want to play a video game or watch a second DVD simultaneously via auxiliary inputs. Other upgrades include the a Panorama Camera rear monitor with a 180-degree view and on-screen back-up guides to help drivers to back into parking spots or driveways.
The Star Safety System™, which includes Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and Traction Control (TRAC), is standard on all Sienna models. Enhanced VSC coordinates the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist with Traction Control (TRAC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS), to help provide a the driver a better-integrated, controlled vehicle in the event of an emergency maneuver.
A Pre-Collision System (PCS) with pre-collision seatbelt system is an available option on the Limited grade, as is the latest in advanced vehicle control technology, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM). The VDIM system coordinates brake control with engine output and steering inputs, allowing all the control and safety systems to cooperate seamlessly. Unlike reactive traction systems, VDIM operates proactively. During normal driving, the system works smoothly to enhance control even before the vehicle reaches its limits.
Seven airbags are standard equipment, including dual-stage front and seat-mounted side airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus a segment-first driver’s side knee airbag. Side curtain airbags cover the length of the cabin, from the front seats to the third row. Active headrests are used in both front seats to help reduce the possibility of whiplash in a collision.
The Safety Connect™ telematics system is standard on Limited and optional on XLE. Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. A complimentary one-year trial subscription is included.
In case of airbag deployment or a severe rear-end collision, Automatic Collision Notification is designed to automatically call a response center. If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to dispatch assistance. Pushing the in-vehicle “SOS” button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance needs. If a Sienna equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, once a stolen vehicle report is filed, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty.