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2011 Toyota Sienna LTD Review & Test Drive

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‘FIRST CLASS TRAVEL ANY WAY YOU WANT IT’

Since 1977 the Toyota Sienna has been well know as a transportation solution for moving people and cargo comfortably and efficiently.  The all-new 2011 third-generation Sienna looks and drives more like a sedan, conforms to new ideas about personal comfort, convenience, luxury and can easily accommodate up to 8 persons, and large amounts of cargo.

The 2011 Sienna has been completely redesigned to handle these needs as it shifts to a more expressive and dynamic vehicle with a stronger profile, high shoulder character and responsive handling.  With state-of-the-art features and rewarding driving dynamics, it is a vehicle that current minivan, passenger car and sport utility vehicle owners will find satisfying to drive.  I’ve driven them all and the all-new ‘top-of-the-line Sienna Ltd. cannot be beat for all-around versatility with features not found on any other minivan on the market, besides being the only minivan with an all-wheel-drive option.

The Sienna has a distinctly new visual direction and features.  The sportier profile is complemented with distinctive window shapes and a deliberately hidden door slider within the window graphic.  The strong steeply raked windshield pillars, high shoulder and distinct fender flares visually emphasize the 18X7 inch alloy wheels.  Dimensionally, the new Sienna rides on the same wheelbase as the prior generation, but it is wider and slightly shorter overall.

The front fascia has a new bold design highlighted with the new signatureToyotametallic grille.  Sophisticated HID headlamps are angled higher than the grille lending a more confident presence.  The sculpted rear corner separates the Sienna from boxy minivans as it surrounds the functional yet elegant LED taillights.

Moving you and your passengers forward is a responsive 3.5 liter, DOHC, VVT-i, all-aluminum V6 engine that makes 266hp at 6,200rpm and 245lb.ft. of torque at 4,700rpm.

The potent engine is mated to Sienna’s first state-of-the-art; electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission with sequential shifting that provides smooth gear-shifting, quite performance and a lightweight, compact size.  On the highway the Sienna gets 24mpg and 18mpg in the city when you use the Eco mode that lowers the rpm’s when you are in stop & go traffic or when accelerating at low rpm’s.

The suspension up front is an independent MacPherson strut setup with a stabilizer bar and a torsion beam setup with a stabilizer bar in the rear.  Combined with the electronic rack & pinion steering system and a wider stance, help to give you a more solid direct on-road feel and a smooth, linear steering feel.  Aerodynamic under-body panels also contribute to Sienna’s dynamic performance that makes it so much fun and easy to drive and maneuver around traffic.

Slowing the all-new Sienna down from speed is no problem given the large, power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front are 12.9 inch vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers, while 12.2 inch solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers are found in the rear.  Standard ABS, EBD and BA help further slow the Sienna and give you more control when braking on slick or wet pavement.

It is a pleasure driving the all-new Sienna Ltd. with plenty of power, performance and a smooth ride.  Other minivans might have more power but no other minivan is as pleasurable and simple to drive.

What also makes the new Sienna Ltd. minivan such a pleasure to drive is the long list of standard features including cruise control, 3.5 inch multi-info display with backup camera, two-tone leather 8-way power driver captain’s chair with memory/4-way passenger captain’s chair, heated front seats, ‘industry first’ 2nd row lounge chairs that can be removed, long slide leatherette power 60/40 split and stow 3rd row seats, tri-zone climate control with individual temperature settings, JBL AM-FM-MP3-6-disc CD changer, 10-speakers, XM radio, auxiliary jack, USB port, BT wireless tech, Bluetooth, power windows all express up/down, retained power, dual map lamps, grab handles at each door, power door locks, smart key system with pushbutton start/stop, ‘industry-first’ dual sliding sunroofs, dual power sliding side doors, power liftgate, variable speed intermittent wipers/washer up front, rear wiper/washer, power remote/heated sideview mirrors, three 12-volt outlets, rear window sunshades, self-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, thick cut-pile carpeting, front/rear/cargo floor mats, front/rear sonar parking assist, dual lighted vanity mirrors, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin that can be separated and pushed to the 2nd row with another two cupholders and storage.

My test Sienna Ltd. came with the LTD Convenience package which included HID headlamps with auto-off feature, rain-sensing wipers linked variable intermittent wipers; the LTD Advanced Technology package offered dynamic radar cruise control, pre-collision system, vehicle dynamics integrated management system (VDIM) and hill assist control; the LTD Premium package offered dual view entertainment center with an 18 inch wide color screen, two wireless headphones, remote control, voice activated touch screen DVD navigation system with panorama camera including integrated backup camera with two views (regular mode and wide angle mode), and on-screen backup guides.  There isn’t a full-size minivan on the market that offers so much luxury, convenience and high-technology.

What a pleasure to drive and this is why-the interior is more than two inches longer, and the seats now have longer ranges of travel, making it possible to comfortably accommodate a wider range of heights and sizes.  The front seats have more rearward travel, and the tilt/telescoping/leather-wrapped steering wheel has a less upright position so you can adopt a more comfortable driving posture.  The instruments and controls are clear and concise, and the greater cabin width helps create extended personal space for both you and your passengers.  Numerous storage bins, cupholders and cargo spaces have been strategically placed in convenient locations.  A conversation mirror, integrated into the sunglass case in the overhead console allows visual contact with your rear seat passengers.  Throughout the cabin there is an open field of view to create an airy, roomy ambiance.  You have unlimited visibility and the rearmost 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 convenient mix of both.  In seven-seat cabins, the 2nd row captain chairs slide 23 inches, moving to the rear to create legroom for the tallest passengers and easier ingress and egress.  They can be moved forward close to the front seats to make it easy to care for a child passenger, while also allowing easy access for 3rd row passengers.

For even more passenger comfort, there is a standard 2nd row ‘industry first’ Lounge Seating which includes leg and foot support, just like a first-class seat on a jetliner.

On eight-passenger models the 2nd row seats offer added versatility and convenience.  The 2nd 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 and quickly reconfigured back for eight.

The 2nd 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 2nd row seats, regardless of configuration, move out of the way with one touch to gain easy access to the 3rd row seats.

The 60/40 Splitand Stow3rd row seat folds flat with one motion, with the Ltd. front-wheel-drive model receiving a power feature.  The 3rd row has been moved about two inches rearward for enhanced comfort.  With the 3rd 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 2nd row seatbacks, add storage convenience.

It is easier than ever to load the Sienna, thanks to wider doors and one-touch 2nd row seats.  By sliding the 2nd row seats all the way to the rear, a walk-in aisle is created, making it easier to enter, exit, install a child seat, or place a child in a seat.  The 2nd row seats can be moved forward, behind the front row, to maximize rear cargo capacity, especially with the 3rd row stowed flat.  With the 3rd row seat stowed and the 2nd row seat removed, the cargo area is approximately eight feet long and four feet wide.  The wide back door opening and low floor height make loading and unloading easy.  A cabin air filter is standard along with an A/C system that controls the temperature of three separate zones.  Have it your way, whether you are taking the kids to a soccer game, loading materials for home improvement or just taking care of your daily errands.  The all-new Sienna Ltd. can do it all in style, convenience and luxury.

Safety is important atToyotaand the all-new 2011 Sienna Ltd. comes standard with the Star Safety System with enhanced vehicle stability control/traction control, 3-point safety belts for all 7 or 8 seats with front pretensioners/load limiters, drive/front passenger active head restraints, advanced front airbags, seat-mounted airbags, 3-row curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag, safety connect crash alert, LATCH child seat anchors, front/rear/side crush zones, and child-protector sliding door locks.

COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: $38,800.00-base/$46,731.00 loaded including destination charges
  • Wheelbase: 119.3in.
  • Total length: 200.2in.
  • Total width: 78.2in.
  • Total height: 70.7in. with roof rails
  • Track: f/r-67.7/67.7in.
  • Ground clearance: 6.7in.
  • Headroom: f/m/r-41/39.7/38.3in.
  • Legroom: f/m/r-40.5/37.6/36.3in.
  • Total volume: 2nd row removed/3rd row stowed-150cu.ft.
  • Passenger volume: 164.4cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume behind 2nd row-87.1/behind 3rd row-39.1cu.ft.
  • Gas tank: 20-gallons
  • Towing: 3,500lbs. when properly equipped
  • Curb weight: 4,490lbs.

 

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