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2012 Toyota Sienna

Overview
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2012 Toyota Sienna Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.1

Toyota can't claim to have invented the minivan – we have Chrysler to thank for that – but they certainly have improved on the formula. The 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is a pretty big people-mover filled with cool and innovative features. Actually, there is nothing "mini" about this minivan, having grown last year in size and complexity to better take on longtime rival, the Honda Odyssey. Where the Sienna was once always a step behind the Honda, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is now fully loaded for battle, with a powerful V6 engine, a huge cabin area and something no other minivan in the segment offers: available all-wheel drive. There is also a 4-cylinder engine option for those who need to keep the bottom line as low as possible, as well as a Mobility Package and a cargo van trim. The Sienna competes in a crowded field that includes the upscale Chrysler Town & Country, the low-cost Kia Sedona and radically styled Nissan Quest.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want the latest and greatest on your next minivan purchase, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is hard to beat. From its leg-rest-equipped reclining second-row seats to the split-screen entertainment system that allows the kids to watch two separate programs simultaneously, the Sienna never fails to delight. It's also the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're all about having a loaded minivan, but you don't want to spend the $46K Toyota is asking for theirs, you might find the Kia Sedona or Dodge Caravan a better choice. Then again, you must remember that while the Kia and Dodge are less expensive up front, they don't hold their value nearly as well as the 2012 Toyota Sienna.

What's New for 2012

Fresh from its 2011 debut, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan receives a few upgrades on the XLE trim, which now includes a power passenger seat and auto on/off headlights.

Driving the Sienna

Driving Impressions The 2012 Toyota Sienna offers a choice between a fuel-thrifty 2.7-liter 4-cylinder and a gutsy 3.5-liter V6 engine. Both engines serve the Sienna well, with the 4-cylinder providing plenty of...

power for getting around. Unfortunately, when the Sienna is loaded with passengers and cargo, the 4-cylinder just doesn't have the added reserves required for rapid passing and merging maneuvers. The 3.5-liter V6, on the other hand, is more than up to the task, dishing out 266-horsepower while attaining better highway fuel economy than the less-potent 4-cylinder engine. Power for both engines is managed by a smooth-shifting ECT 5-speed automatic transmission. Base and LE trims have a suspension tuned to deliver a soft, almost floating ride most occupants will find quite pleasing. But, for the occupant in the driver's seat, it's the SE trim's sport-tuned suspension and recalibrated power steering setup that makes driving the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan a more engaging experience.

Second Row Lounge Seating
The 2012 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 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan'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.

2012 Toyota Sienna Details
2012 Toyota Sienna photo Interior

Unlike some minivans that force a pricey move up the trim ladder to get the options you desire, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan offers a wide range of models, most with a healthy options list. With its 2-row bench seats, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan can seat up to eight people, but can also be outfitted with second-row Captain's Chair seating if the number seven equals a full complement. There is ample head and legroom in all three rows, the one exception being when the lounge-chair-style seats are in full recline mode essentially consuming the third-row seat's legroom. A common feature on most minivans is a stowable third-row seat and the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is no exception. We did find, however, that the Sienna's third-row seat was not as easy to operate as on the Honda Odyssey, leading us to strongly recommend opting for the available power-folding seat option. With the second-row seats removed and third-row seats folded flat, there is a vast flat cargo floor. The second-row seats can also be partially folded or slid forward to allow for a combination of passengers and cargo space.

Exterior
2012 Toyota Sienna photo

With hints of styling influenced by Toyota's Venza crossover SUV, the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan wears a new face that is both elegant and original (something previous Sienna minivans sorely lacked.) Subtle details, such as the side-door guide rail carefully hidden at the base of the rear quarter window, and the integrated rear hatch spoiler, abound. For a minivan, the 2012 Toyota Sienna has a rather muscular appeal, with sculpted fender flares, a curvaceous front end, and sporty alloy wheels all adding a youthful touch. Although the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is about the same length as the last-generation 2010 Sienna, it is much wider and has shorter front and rear overhangs.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The base 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan 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 8-way power leatherette driver's seat. Moving up to the XLE nets you a 6-speaker stereo with a USB port and iPod connectivity, automatic tri-zone climate control, leather and wood-grain interior trim, a power passenger seat, 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.

Optional Equipment

Options on the 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan vary by trim and include a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines, all-wheel drive (AWD), 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.

Under the Hood

Two engines are offered in the 2012 Toyota Sienna: a fuel-efficient 2.7-liter 4-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 4-cylinder's. 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

3.5-liter V6
266 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
245 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (FWD), 17/23 (AWD)

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2012 Toyota Sienna Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 95 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Mixed Feelings

By on Saturday, December 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Power, folding seats, comfort, backup camera"

Cons: "MPG, interior quality, back seats, RATTLES"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I have the 8-Passenger LE model. Though the Sienna has been extremely reliable for the 17k miles I have owned it, I have quite a few gripes. First, I have never seen the advertised fuel mileage under any driving conditions. I was a little concerned that it was not only rated at worse fuel economy than the Honda, but also the previous generation Sienna. Now that I am getting noticeably worse mileage than advertised, I am pretty upset. I typically only get 21-23 highway, and 16-17 city. I drove it all the way from Minnesota to Virginia this spring and didn't see the advertised 25mpg highway on a single tank. Best I have done is 23, and that is cruise set at 60mph on relatively flat ground for basically the entire tank. Second, the interior. While the interior is relatively attractive, I have found it to be of low quality. I have more squeaks and rattles in this thing than I had in the 2002 Buick LeSabre that it replaced. The dashboard rattles when it's cold, the upper glovebox rattles all the time, and the third row seat rattles so bad that I can't stand driving it with the third row seats up unless someone is sitting in them. Also, the upper glove box is difficult to close due to the cheap latching mechanism that is all the way to one side (seemingly so that the driver can reach it). Third, the middle row seats. The middle row has a somewhat strangely shaped seat back that, while comfortable for adults, is awkward for children. It kind of pushes their head down. There is also the big plastic thing that covers the track system between the middle seats. While I didn't think much of it when I purchased the vehicle, it does make getting into and out of the third row much more difficult unless you just step on it. There are a few good things. It does have an incredible amount of storage space inside, which makes it very flexible. You could legitimately drive 6 adults(including driver) to the airport with their luggage and not have a problem fitting everything/everyone. The seats are comfortable for adults in all rows(when the middle is appropriately positioned). The automatic climate control, bluetooth stereo, cruise control, and backup camera, are all very nice to use. It also drives fairly well. Plenty of power for on ramps and passing, the brakes are strong as well. One thing I found surprising was how tight the turning radius is. It really makes it incredibly easy to park. The only gripe I have about how it drives is that the steering is excessively light in my opinion. However, that is quite subjective, and others may prefer it. Overall, the Sienna has been reliable, drives nice, has lots of room, and plenty of power. However, the squeaks/rattles and poor fuel economy prevent me from recommending this. It really makes the thing feel like a very cheap utilitarian vehicle when you are driving it. I have driven the Odyssey and previous generation of Sienna, and neither of them suffers from this feeling of cheapness. My city beater, a 15 year old Honda Civic, seems to have a better constructed interior, and far fewer rattles. Very disappointed. Buy the Odyssey. It looks better, drives better, and gets better mileage. It may be slightly more expensive, but it is better than driving what feels like an upscaled Kia Rio."

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best vehicle ever

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a modified rear entry wheelchair van. Like new with only 2,000 miles. Still has new smell. It came with dual power sliding doors, blue tooth, backing camera, power windows/door locks, keyless entry, and power driver seat."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

It has been a great car. Good pick-up.

By on Monday, November 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Our Sienna Limited had 8,000 miles on it when we got it. It was a program car so don't really know if there were problems when it was new. Bad gas mileage in town, around 14 mpg. Get around 22 on the road, that's at 75 - 80 mph, I'm in Texas. For what we paid, all the trim should be leather instead of plastic. Too much road noise, with new tires that supposed to cut down on road noise. Overall we like the van. The under floor storage of the rear seats is great, makes for a lot of room to haul stuff. The middle captains seats have a lot of travel from front to back. Lots of cup holders, 8 for the front seats. With a back-up camera and the outside mirrors tilting down when you put it in reverse makes backing up easy. It took some getting used to backing up since it is so big. Overall we are very satisfied with our van"

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

The Sienna is great all around. I owned an Odyssey

By on Friday, October 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,044

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I previously owned an Odyssey. The Odyssey was nothing but trouble. I don't know how they rate the Honda as high as the websites and magazines claim.I bought it originally because my research showed that it was better than the sienna. Mine needed 2 transmissions and the power steering would get hard to turn. The Sienna is super comfortable and has much better visibility. There is more room for the driver which is important to me. I can attest that the Sienna is the best minivan out there"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle Except run flat tires

By on Sunday, October 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Drives very well."

Cons: "Run free tires are a drawback."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Vehicle is excellent. Run flat tires are a drawback. The tires can not be repaired. Replacement is very expensive (Approx. $1000). They are only good for 25000 miles. Frequent Alignment is required. No spare or space for one is provided so using standard tires is a drawback."

18 people out of 40 found this review helpful

Smoothest, roomiest, family vacation/trips, I have

By on Friday, September 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fair priced, safe and fun to drive. Room galore,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have never had a smoother, quieter, ride. Trips to Disney, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin with grand kids with plenty of room and quiet. extra after market accessories installed. i.e. remote start, mud flaps, pinstripes, Michelon tires, 3M protection on hood,mirrors, side body, and door guards."

8 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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