By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
You can bet that the engineers at Toyota are not pleased that the Honda Odyssey is widely regarded as the best minivan in America. So they've done something about it. The new-for-2011 Sienna minivan offers an improved exterior design, better driving dynamics, a more accommodating interior and features that take it up several notches in the hotly competitive minivan category. With the redesign, it has certainly moved up on our list of desirable minivans.
The 2011 Toyota Sienna folds together many passenger-friendly features including the reclining, leg-rest-equipped second row seats and an entertainment system that lets the kids watch two different programs. For those of you in inclement climes, the Sienna is the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive.
The Sienna can get pricey when compared to some of the competition like the Kia Sedona, but in terms of resale value the Sienna excels. We expect its overall ownership cost to be reasonable.
For 2011 the Sienna is completely re-engineered. Among the notable changes are the thoroughly upgraded new interior that includes optional lounge-type seating in the second row and a sport-tuned SE model with improved steering and handling. A four-cylinder-powered Sienna is also available.
Driving Impressions Both of the Toyota Sienna's engines deliver where it counts, whether you crave the fuel-sipping economy of the 2.7-liter four-cylinder or the extra punch provided by the 3.5-liter V6. The...four-cylinder-equipped Sienna is surprisingly acceptable, but for serious family- and cargo-hauling, the V6 is the engine to get. Power for both engines is managed by a smooth-shifting ECT five-speed automatic transmission. The base Sienna offers a quiet, soft ride that will cocoon driver and passengers, with the suspension floating effortlessly over potholes. For those who want a more involving driving experience, however, we recommend the sporty SE trim, which offers a sport-tuned suspension and tighter steering feel.
Second Row Lounge Seating
The Toyota Sienna XLE's Lounge Seating offers a Long-Slide feature maximizing legroom, while footrests rise up, virtually transforming the second row seats into Barcaloungers.
Dual View Entertainment Center
The Sienna's Dual View Entertainment Center features two wireless headphones and an extra-wide screen that allows two different movies to play at once. Or in those few families in which the kids agree, one movie can play CinemaScope-style. You'll almost feel like you're watching your flatscreen at home.
Whatever the trim, from lightly equipped base model to decked-out Limited, the Sienna can be easily configured to meet many families' budgets thanks to a number of options and packages. The Sienna can seat up to eight, depending on a choice of captain's chairs or bench seating in the second row, with reasonable leg- and headroom for passengers in all seating positions. The only exception to this is when the lounge seating is deployed to its rearward extreme, which results in nearly non-existent legroom for the third-row riders. The Sienna's third-row seat folds flush into the floor, but we found the manual stowing of the seats difficult to master. Happily, a power-stow option is available. Cargo space in the Sienna is ample and versatile. Additional space can be made by folding down one or both of the 60/40-split rear seats and by completely removing the second row.
Channeling some of the looks of its Venza stablemate, the 2011 Sienna presents a sportier shape that the previous edition with nice details like the rear door slider that is hidden within the window graphic. The strong "shoulder" and well-chiseled fender flares add to the more performance-oriented look. While the new Sienna rides on the same wheelbase as the prior generation, it is wider for interior roominess and slightly shorter overall. The rear of the Sienna sits high and features sculpted sheet metal, LED tail lamps and a rear-lip spoiler - adding a sporty feel to the design.
The base Sienna comes with an MP3-capable CD player with auxiliary input jack, remote keyless entry, dual-sliding doors with power windows, and tri-zone manual air conditioning. Opting for the LE trim adds steering wheel-mounted audio controls, power sliding doors and a Homelink universal transceiver. The SE trim adds its own sport-tuned suspension and steering, leather-trimmed steering wheel and an eight-way power leatherette driver's seat. Moving up to the XLE nets you a six-speaker stereo with a USB port and iPod connectivity, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather and woodgrain interior trim, and heated seats. The upscale Limited adds a JBL sound system, lounge second-row seating, and a power-folding 60/40 third row. All trims offer Toyota's STAR Safety System, airbags for all three rows, plus the XLE features front and rear sonar, which is not for submarine chasing but a parking assist.
Options on the Sienna vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, roof rails, dual-power sliding doors, power seats, Bluetooth connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control and a power rear hatch. A Dual-View Entertainment Center with wireless headphones is available on XLE and Limited models. The Limited can also be equipped with a Navigation Package, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and rain-sensing wipers.
Two engines are offered in the 2011 Sienna: A new fuel-efficient 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine that offers decent off-the-line acceleration and a hearty 3.5-liter V6 with plenty of torque, quiet operation and fuel economy that is remarkably similar to the four cylinder. If you want all-wheel-drive the V6 is your lone choice.
2.7-liter in-line 4
187 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24
265 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
245 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
By Mike T (MI) on Thursday, November 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value, excellent resale, surprisingly peppy!"
Cons: "Gas mileage isn't terrific, but it is as stated."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my wife's car and she absolutely loves it. She has had multiple 4wd SUVs before this and she tells everyone that the Sienna is her favorite car that she's ever had. The AWD does great in the winter, especially paired with snow tires. Ride is smooth and very "car-like". Interior is nicely styled for our model, especially considering it is not one of the more expensive models. The 260hp 6-cyclinder gets the van up and going quickly and merging onto a highway or into traffic is no problem!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Sel (NJ) on Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Most of today's minivans satify the user's needs. But that still sets them apart due to many reasons. Here is the easiest review. Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey are the two best minivans as of today. PERIOD. Others are just surviving due to lower pricing(Dodge/Chrysler) or Tech (Nissan Quest). For exterior looks, Sienna SE beats Odyssey by miles. It is also good looking than XLE or Limited. Coming to Drive/Handling, Sienna SE is exciting with sport tuned suspension and transmission. Odyssey is also good here. For tech features and equipments, Odyssey is better than Sienna. Seating is good on both Sienna and Odyssey. Configurations are slightly different. Please explore according to your taste. Odyssey has a better mileage than Sienna. Sienna has slightly bigger Cargo space than Odyssey. Sienna SE is priced lesser than Odyssey EX-L or Touring Overall winner is Sienna SE (Mix of both the worlds) !! Ranking (Overall with price included). This applies to 2014 model - 1. Sienna SE (with Navigation) 2. Odyssey Touring 3. Odyssey EX-L (with Navigation) 4. Sienna XLE 5. Odyssey Touring Elite 6. Sienna Limited"
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Sonny (OK) on Friday, September 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I have a 2011 XLE Toyota Sienna van, the wind and road noise is really bad. The backup camera is fuzzy and not clear at all. It is close to worthless. Dealerships say all the new are the same. As much as it cost, it should at least be better than a Ford. My daughter's Ford makes the Sienna's look really bad!"
18 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Double D (Canada) on Thursday, September 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"We previously owned 2004 Sienna LE. Loved it, so when it was time to buy a new van we purchaed 2012 Sienna LE. Toyota has certainly cut corners, compared to our 2004. The sliding doors will have an unusual "pop" sound when you pull the handle to close the sliding doors. This does not happen all the time but you will definately hear the "pop". We have a noise coming from the passenger side door near the third row, it's a "knock" that we he when we brake or when we accelerate, again it does not happen all the time, however the noise does startle you, I first thought that someone had thrown something at the van, or we hit something. Interior has a "plastic" feel to it. We will NOT be purchasing a Sienna again."
18 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Bill C (PA) on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "comfortable space for passengers and cargo"
Cons: "noisy, poor mileage, poor radio and camera / nav"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased my Sienna XLE AWD in late January 2013 and I now have 13,000+ miles on it. I am EXTREMELY disappointed with both the vehicle and Toyota’s response to one particular problem. The radio has a very bad echo which occurs on multiple stations but frequently on one particularly station, which just so happens to be my favorite station. It appears to be a reception related problem since I can duplicate it every time I drive certain routes. Understand that this is a local station, with very good reception, along the same routes, in every other vehicle I own, or have owned. I encountered the problem the first time I drove the vehicle and every time I drive the vehicle. The dealership has “worked” on the problem three separate times. The first two times, they told me they were able to duplicate the problem (on routes nowhere near my normal driving routes). Both times they “did some diagnostics” but were unable to fix the problem. We arranged for a third visit when they could have a Toyota district service rep available to review the problem. They kept the car for three days. At they end of the three days they told me that they had replaced the radio with a radio from another, new Sienna on their lot. It performed exactly as the original radio (with the echo). Therefore, they said, the radio was functioning as designed and there was nothing they could do to solve the problem. The dealership apologized but said that they had worked closely with Toyota and that it was Toyota’s decision. I open a claim with Toyota’s national hotline. I got a call from a very polite man who told me that he had investigated the problem. He gave me enough specifics (both specifics of the problem and the names of service personnel at the dealership) to satisfy me that he had indeed looked into it. His bottom line however, was that, although Toyota acknowledged there was a problem, the radio “was functioning as designed” and therefore they could (would) do nothing to correct it. Really?!?! I guess when you only pay $40,000+ for a vehicle, a working radio is too much to expect. I also asked the dealership (on my first checkup) to look into what I believed was extremely excessive road noise. They did look into it but before they even did so, they said it was most likely, you guessed it, functioning as designed. When I picked the car up after that appointment they told me that the noise level was “normal” for that vehicle due to a combination of wind noise from the design and road noise from the run-flat tires. That was disappointing to hear, but I understand a problem that can’t be fixed until the vehicle is redesigned. My third problem with the vehicle is with the GPS / backup camera screen. I did buy the GPS option, really to get a larger backup screen. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE. The screen does not have a visor and the angle of the mounting often renders it useless in bright sunlight. In addition, the “upgrade” to the larger screen for the backup camera, does not include the projection lines for that camera screen, a very useful tool I see on virtually all backup screens on 2013 vehicles. Lastly, the gas mileage is terrible. I knew going in that, with the AWD, it wouldn’t be good but I was hoping for something close to the rating of 20 -21. The actual is 17 – 18. Poor performance in my opinion for a 2013. There are definitely the positives you expect from a mini van – comfortable room for seven people, lots of cargo room, etc. However, I am very disappointed with Toyota Corp. compared to the car company I enjoyed years ago as the maker of my Avalon. That was a great car and we got great service throughout the 212,000 miles we put on her. Unfortunately, Toyota Corp. has changed and this is the last one of their cars I will purchase."
12 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Conrad (OR) on Sunday, August 18, 2013
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Rattles, bad back seat design - My approximate mileage is 16,000
Pros: "Sienna vans run great and drives good"
Cons: "Doors Rattles, Rear seats rattles."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"The Captain chairs in back are hard to get into. They tilt up to high for passengers to get into Van. Also, all the Seat Legs Rattles. The Toyota Dealer tried four times to stop the Rattles in both rear seats. The answer, "There is no fix". The said lots of customers are complaining about loud rattles in seats but there is no factory fix. So I was stuck with it? I traded my 2012 Sienna Van for a Honda Pilot. Not Happy With Toyota, I caught the Service Department in Lies."
10 people out of 13 found this review helpful