Even though there is a segment of families in the market for a new vehicle that is crossing over to the SUV, the minivan is still the vehicle of choice for most American families.
The newly redesigned 2011 Toyota Sienna is positioning Toyota to capture a huge segment of the minivan consumer market. This minivan will make you excited about getting behind the wheel every time you have to go somewhere.
Toyota has taken the Sienna platform and given it multiple trim levels, so that it can accommodate almost any minivan purchaser’s price point. The model that I test drove was the top-of-the-line XLE with all-wheel drive (AWD). The ride was impeccable, whether driving on the street and, definitely, on the highway. In fact, the Toyota Sienna is the only full-size minivan with AWD. When weaving in and out of the traffic, AWD gives you the precision maneuverability of vehicles half the Sienna’s size.
The exterior of this minivan is unlike any other in this category. The front of the Sienna received a complete facelift and reminded me a lot of the Camry. The lines are very angular and athletic, while the spoilers and overhangs give it an all-inclusive, sportier look than the Siennas of the past.
The interior of the 2011 Toyota Sienna comes equipped with high quality fabric on the lower end models and leather on the higher end models like the XLE I test drove. All controls are driver-friendly and easily accessible to passengers. The cabin was so quiet I could only hear whatever selection that I had on the radio, CD or MP3 player or the sounds from the children’s movie and video game, which could be played simultaneously on the new split-screen monitor. However, the most impressive feature is the second-row, recliner-style seats fully equipped with footrests. Perfect for long journeys.
Finally, the performance and overall drivability of this minivan is superb and gets an “A+.” The 3.5-liter V-6 gives the 2011 Sienna just the right pep for any situation. It goes from 0-60 in 7.9 seconds. The throttle response is phenomenal in Siennas equipped with this 265-horsepower beast. However, for those families more concerned with fuel efficiency there is a 2.7 inline, four-cylinder engine available.
In today’s minivan category, the 2011 Sienna is leaps and bounds ahead of most minivans. Toyota has now solidified itself as one of the premier manufacturers in the minivan category.