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2012 Toyota Sienna

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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)

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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2012 Toyota Sienna Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 114 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

own a sienna for 3 years not one single problem

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "reliable"

Cons: "small car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"the only complain I would place is,that I feel the car lite and strong winds on road make driving feel unsafe"

Great vehicle for a mom of two

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,120

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "comfortable, easy to maneuver"

Cons: "its a van"

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

"I've added aftermarket remote start to this vehicle which has made it invaluable to our family. Being able to start the car and open the doors from the house, so the girls can climb in and start getting buckled is perfect. The car is comfortable and has proven great for road trips."

21 people out of 38 found this review helpful

Best minivan

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, roomy, excellent family vehicle"

Cons: "Front wheel breaking is a little rough"

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

"Love this minivan! It has been great for all of our extended road trips and travels across the country!"

7 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Great Family Vehicle.

By on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,500

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

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

"I Love this van the only reason I am selling it is I am single now and really don't need all this has to offer."

7 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Very happy with this minivan

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. Convenient"

Cons: "middle seat in the 2nd row."

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

"I test drove Nissan Quest SL, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey EX-L and Toyota Sienna XLE 2015. Many people don't like Quest exterior design, but I don't have a problem with it. I actually like it. Nissan Quest interior is very nice, but the cargo space is less compare to competitors. I already had another car w/ CVT which has good fuel economy, so I don't want another car w/ CVT because it makes noise when you accelerate. I really like Kia Sedona with the new design. It looks like an SUV and very attractive. It seemed responsive on local streets, but when I drove on highway, it was lagging and sluggish. I was so disappointed because of it. I know it's a minivan, not a sport car, but I want it to be more responsive in case I want to pass. If the car was more responsive, it would be so hard for me to decide. I might end up getting it. So it came down to Odyssey and Sienna. It was a hard choice. Odyssey build was so thoughtful and convenient for family. It was quiet and comfortable. What turned me off was the infotainment system. It was complicated and confusing with 2 screens. Moreover, it was not intuitive. There is only 1 charger in the front row. If you count the USB, then you have 2 chargers. Sienna has 2 chargers + USB. Odyssey EX-L only gives me 2 sun shades for the 2nd row, but not for the 3rd row while Sienna gives me 4 sun shades for both 2nd and 3rd rows. Odyssey has the most space for 3 seats in the 2nd and 3rd rows while Sienna only has a small middle seat in the 2nd row which I think useless someone small like a kid 8-10 yr old when he/she doesn't need car seat or booster. The center info screen between the gauges in Odyssey is out of date while Sienna has more modern and high end screen. That's why I chose Sienna XLE FWD 2015. The van came w/ Premium package including Nav and sonar back up system. I kinda regret not getting AWD. Sienna exterior is kinda boring, but nice (not ugly). I love everything interior from the 2nd row forward. I don't like the 3rd row b/c it looks cheap, not as nice as the 3rd row in Odyssey. The van is smooth, quiet and very comfortable. Minimal road noise, some wind noise. It handles well to me. I don't expect it as a sport car. It has enough power. I have average 21-22 mpg w/ mixed local and highway driving. If I drive 90% highway, it can get above 25 mpg. I wish Sienna has LED light, better middle seat in the 2nd row, charger for 2nd row and finally better exterior design. Otherwise, no other complaint. I'm very happy w/ this minivan. I hope it won't give me any problem b/c it has very good reliability."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Serves its purpose well - Grandchildren mover.

By on Sunday, May 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All good excellent dealer service"

Cons: "Access to engine parts (spark plugs)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"From the start, we have enjoyed the Sienna. Comfortable, reasonable gas mileage, easy to drive and park. Grandkids easy access and exit -they love it. Planning to buy a new one this fall."

6 people out of 11 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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