By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
266 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
245 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (FWD), 17/23 (AWD)
By nbsatx on Friday, February 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By motdat on Friday, February 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good turning, gas, comfortable ride"
Cons: "Terrible heater, too long to warm up."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Good overall but has a horrible heating system. Takes forever to get even warm air. Toyota says thats the way they designed it. 4 times longer the get warm to hot air than any car I've owned. Rear window washer is not good either. Water is out of sync with washer blade. Car is comfortable and gets good milage for it's class.Mechanically it seems reliable."
By sparkie on Sunday, December 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "drives nice .good visibility,good seating"
Cons: "bad fit and finish,cheap materials,smelly ac"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I own a 2011 sienna and it has just been repainted by Toyota. The seats squeak,the passengers seat behind the driver is stuck,the glove compartment hinge broke,and the interior keeps getting a very musty meldewy smell.I will never buy a Toyota product again.junk. the caravan may be troublesome sometimes but the cab and fit and finish is much better."
By rdc on Friday, December 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "v6 passing power"
Cons: "bigger tire size would be good"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought a base v6 Sienna in 2012 for $25k out-the-door. Drove 16000 miles total, great driving experience specially the v6 passing power. Quiet, comfortable ride, quad chair, lots of space. Gas mileage 24 mpg combined. Dual AC great value. Won't go wrong with this van."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Mike T 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!"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Sel 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"
15 people out of 16 found this review helpful