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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 82 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Fun to drive for a minivan

By on Saturday, July 05, 2014

I owned and sold this car
Reason: dissatisfied on reliability

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive and room"

Cons: "Expensive repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"We purchased the van new in fall 2010 and from the first winter we were not happy about the defrost. It seemed that the airflow was inadequate even though the dealership said it met factory specs. It would not clear and or keep the windshield clear in snow/cold weather. One day the sunroof button would need to be pressed many times to open/close. Eventually it quit working altogether and we took it to dealership. Told it would be around $1200. I was in shock and going to leave but they said there were some bulletins and took care of it:) As we started to look around at a new Toyota, in the spring of 2014, our van started making a noise. It grew worse and when we took it to dealership they informed us it was the "electro magnetic coupling" and it would be $1875 for fix. We traded it "as is" on a new Ram. We lost faith in Toyota's reliability reputation."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Perfect replacement for my Highlander

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

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

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Back up moniter, room for my 6 ft 8 husband."

Cons: "visible antenna"

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

"We bought this minivan on my birthday for the extra space it afforded us. We are a family of 5 with a small dog we take with us when we go on long family trips. When I went grocery shopping and I was able to leave the back row usable I knew we had made the right choice in trading in our Highlander. My three children no longer accidentally hit cars next to us with the doors. I should also mention that my husband is 6 foot 8 and we are able to still use the seat directly behind him when he is in the car. I also love that there is an eco button; even though my husband laughs and says it is always on and it could just be a feel good light. My only complaints on this van are minimal and actually a little petty. My first complaint would have to be the antenna what kind of car has a visible antenna anymore? I also wish I had remembered to get the JBL speakers in the van, the music sounds much clearer with the JBL. We looked at so many the day we bought that I got some of them confused with each other; this explains the lack of JBL speakers and the blind spot monitor I thought ours had. I would recommend going with the Limited if you can, it actually has the most bang for your buck."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Outstanding AWD family vehicle

By on Saturday, June 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "overall outstanding"

Cons: "Runflat tires. Occ'l bluetooth drops."

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

"We have a family of 6 and need AWD in the winter. Previous vehicles have been a Suburban Z71 and another van. We drove other top of the line SUVs and minivans, and the comfort, versatility and overall package of the Sienna beat them all hands down. We spent the extra money this time on the Limited- and although pricey (final price just under $50K), it is excellent and we are extremely happy with it for > 2 years. The fit and finish of the interior and exterior is outstanding, luxurious, the creature comforts for the passengers are unmatched. Things are where they "should" be- Storage, cupholders, seating comfort & adjustments, lots of power outlets for kids with "devices" (USB, 12V, and inverted AC) the premium rear DVD screen is large & everyone wants to ride with us. Things are where you would expect they should be and work. Very easy to drive, plenty of power, handling is great, feels wide open and more useable space by far than our SUVs. My 'complaints' are fairly trivial by comparison: the run-flat tires that are standard on the AWD wear out way too fast. The bluetooth connection between Iphones & the Sienna sometimes drops during calls. We would have preferred also have optional seating for 8 (like the removable middle seat in the FWD version of the Sienna), but this is not available in the AWD. Overall a 10."

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

Very good van

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Alot of plastic finishes on interior"

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

"I'm not a minivan person however because my family expanded to7 we found ourselves purchasing a brand new Sienna, I really like this van it has served my family well over the last two and a half years. The big negative is that the majority of the finishes inside this vehicle are plastic that do scratch easily. And a few times the power door (on the drivers side only)wouldn't open by the power option. Over all though I would rate this van a 8/9 out of ten."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Said I would never drive a minivan but I love it!

By on Friday, April 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "amazing car for a family of twins!"

Cons: "it seems to get dinged in parking lots a lot"

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

"I said I would never drive a minivan but now that I am a MoM to twins I don't know how I would ever live without it! The sliding doors on both sides made getting infant carriers in and out so much easier no matter how tight the parking spot - I have no idea how twin moms do without it - what if some jerk parks too close - how do you get two infant carriers into a car when you can't open a door wide enough? Also, we do a lot of road trips (about 350 miles) and I can stow the third row and then haul all of the stuff that goes along with twins easily! Double stroller whether tandem or side by side - no problem with back row seats up or down! I love the "emergency" 8th seat and that you don't have to have it up all the time! Can't say enough great stuff about the Sienna. Almost got the Town & Country (more bells and whistles, less $) but it doesn't get as good a reliability rating from Consumer Reports and as the hubby said when we were shopping for the minivan (after I admitted defeat, test drove one and decided this might be the perfect answer for us) he wants the most reliable and safe car around for his wife and babies to be driving in - he never wants us stuck on the side of the road for a preventable reason! Tried out the Honda Odyssey but didn't like how the front end was designed. Two years later I LOVE my Sienna!"

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Like it very much except for minor design issues.

By on Friday, February 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I've enjoyed the van for 2 years; however, I am ready to own a smaller car because of my age. One thing I don't like is the small backup camera as I overlook it a good bit of the time because it is set way back in the dash and very small. The cup holders are too small for a large insulated mug and the divider for the 2 cups is too high for mug handles so the cup doesn't sit flat. The "jump seat" when used is lower than the 2 captain chairs so it really isn't convenient for seating 3 people."

9 people out of 14 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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