Toyota Sienna - The All-Wheel Wonder
Back in the nineties, minivans were family favorites. They used to be the top choice of working moms, homemaker dads and soccer coaches. By the end of the last decade, however, things changed. Customers suddenly drifted away from minivans because these vehicles failed to keep pace with the changing times and trends. Toyota Sienna refused to be the part of that pack.
Conceived in 1997, Toyota Sienna is still an exceptional vehicle catering to the needs of large families. Its safety ratings, build quality and technical dynamics have placed it in a class of its own. The Sienna is currently in its third generation and it went through several dynamic changes for every generation. The second generation introduced an all-wheel drive Sienna, which made it the first and only all-wheel drive minivan in its class.
Sienna is running in its third generation since 2010. It further revolutionized the label by adding considerable amount of safety features, earning it a 'Top Safety Pick' award.
Sienna's Evolutionary Design
As far as design and exterior are concerned, the Toyota Sienna is aging well. The 2011 redesign has added a new flair to the whole exterior. It now looks more aggressive, powerful and confident, thanks to the newly designed grille and headlights. The new Toyota Sienna has proved that minivans don't always have to look like a plain plastic box sweeping the roads.
Interior and Features
The Toyota Sienna is available in five trim levels including base, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.
Depending on the trim level, it's either an eight- or a seven- passenger vehicle. For the newer models, SE is offered only in eight-passenger configuration while LE and XLE are available with both options. The base and Limited hold seven passengers.
For the 2015 Toyota Sienna, XLE trim comes loaded with numerous additional features. The list includes the power passenger seat and automatic headlights. The SE trim level offers a sports tuned suspension for better handling.
A plethora of interior options allow you to turn your Sienna into a super luxury van. The cabin is quiet, comfortable and spacious. With removable second-row seating, the seats can be comfortably padded without any fear of losing the cargo space.
Sienna Powertrain and Performance
The powertrain for the Toyota Sienna includes a 2.7 liter inline-4 engine plus a six-speed automatic transmission. Together they produce up to 187 hp. While this engine is standard for base and LE trims, the rest of them come powered by a 3.5 liter V6. This engine along with the same transmission offers a solid 265 hp.
What makes the Toyota Sienna truly a wonder is the all-wheel drive configuration available for LE, XE and Limited trims. It is undoubtedly one of the best performing minivans on the roads, with a fuel economy of 22 mpg and a 0-60 sprint in 7.9 seconds.
In 2010, Sienna was the 'Top Safety Pick' by IIHS. Since then, it is only raising the bar for itself. The newer models come equipped with everything including Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, a windshield de-icer and a full set of airbags. It is also among the few vehicles offering airbags for driver's knee as well as a full length side curtain. Higher trims also bring front and rear parking assist and a panoramic 180-degree rearview camera.
Final Impression on the Sienna
The Toyota Sienna gives every reason to consider a minivan instead of an SUV or wagon. It looks good, it feels good and it drives really well. You will definitely fall in love with the smooth handling and solid brakes. Whether you want to drop your kids to school, haul a team of soccer players or just drive alone to work, Toyota Sienna perfectly fits the bill. Plus, those varying trim levels really add the advantage of configuring the Sienna according to your requirements.