The 2012 Toyota Sienna is a solid, proven anchor in the minivan genre. Reviewers have offered strongly positive reports of the Sienna’s spaciousness, comfort, power, build quality, and breadth of trim options. The Sienna, redesigned in 2011, now offers five trim levels with seven- or eight-passenger seating. Starting prices range from $25,060 on the base model to $40,475 for the high-end trim with mobility auto access.
Engine, Drivetrain and Suspension
All models come with standard 6-speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission with intelligence, paired with MacPherson strut front suspension and twist-beam rear suspension with coil springs. The Base and LE trim levels include a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine in front-wheel drive. The SE bumps up to a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a more sporty suspension. The upper-end XLE and Limited versions also have the V6 but feature a more cushioned ride. Fuel economy is 19/24 mpg city/highway for the 4-cylinder engine, 18/25 for the front-wheel drive V6, and 17/23 for the all-wheel drive V6.
Standard tires range from 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels to 19-inch 6-spoke gunmetal-finished wheels, depending on the trim level chosen. The Base trim includes standard windshield wiper de-icer, color-keyed rear spoiler and concealed intermittent rear wiper. The SE model sports a larger lower grille, lower skirting, and tinted head- and taillights. The SE also adds dual power sliding side doors and power liftgate with jam protection, moonroof, wide-angle fog lamps, and heated outside mirrors. The SE, XLE and Limited models each have distinctive front grilles. The high-end Limited version adds optional High Intensity Discharge headlamps, dual moonroof, and rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers.
The Base model starts with three-zone automatic climate control, MP3 playback capability, removable second-row seating, split folding third-row seating, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and remote keyless entry system. One step up, the LE offers standard USB port with iPod connectivity, 3.5-inch multi-information display with backup camera, power driver’s seat, steering wheel-mounted controls, second- and third-row sunshades, and auto-dimming rearview mirror. The sporty SE adds a rear digital climate control panel and leather seats. The XLE adds optional or standard DVD navigation system, dual-view entertainment center with 16.4-inch display, Smart Key System on doors with Push Button Start, and power rear quarter windows. Finally, the Limited model throws in a 6-disc CD changer, as well as standardizing the XLE’s optional features. Reviewers state that the fabrics and leathers used are of high quality, but the plastics may appear relatively downgraded.
All trims include nearly all safety features as standard such as Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Smart Stop Technology, LATCH system, front and rear energy-absorbing crumple zones and side-impact beams, and Tire Pressure Monitor System. Airbags are thorough, including front, front side, driver’s knee, and all-row side curtain. A few features are optional on the XLE and standard on the Limited: Safety Connect, parking assist sonar, and anti-theft system with alarm and engine immobilizer. Recent renditions of the Sienna have earned 4- or 5-star NHTSA ratings and “”Good”" IIHS ratings.
Overall, the 2012 Toyota Sienna retains what some reviewers call its smooth and quiet ride, easy handling, family-friendly features, and low-maintenance record. Test drivers report that the V6 engine is preferable for smoother merging and climbs up steep inclines. And according to industry watchers, the Sienna’s strong history and reliability, combined with the exclusive all-wheel drive option among minivans, continues to draw buyers in droves.
Image Credit: Toyota Pressroom