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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)

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2012 Toyota Sienna Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 119 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 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

Great minivan

By on Friday, January 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "AWD"

Cons: "not easy to get to 3rd row seat"

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

"Responsive for minivan make it very easy to pass and love AWD in the winter time, decent gas mileage little above 20 m/g still good for AWD."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Overall excellent

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,531

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handling for long drives - lots of room"

Cons: "Weak bumpers, cannot see front hood"

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

"Great looking reliable transportation. A lot of room. Only short coming is the exterior bumpers - breathe on them and they dislodge or become easily scratched and damaged. Don't buy without a backup camera!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Love my 2001 Sienna so we bought 2nd one. :)

By on Sunday, October 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable, standard equipment, & fuel economy"

Cons: "Navagition System is not up to specs on this Toy"

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

"It feels like you're driving a sedan not a van. The navigation system is a disappointment! it's elementary in design and usage. Google maps beats it hands down. Plus it's over $700 to update Toyota's Nav system. save your $$$. Love the storage in it, and the flush fold down 3rd row seats. ..now I don't have to find room to store them. The 2nd row recliner seats are comfortable but, are a hassle to extend the foot rest on the recliner once it is lifted. I was afraid it would break if I forced it, bcuz everything else is smooth and easy glide in movements. So I visited different dealerships searching for an easy solution to extend the foot rest. There's none. In fact most of the Toyota Reps I spoke with only new they lifted, not that the rest also extended another 8-10 inches. I love that they do but.... ugh The fact you can plug in your home gaming system for play at the same time you're watching a movie on the split TV screen is fantastic on long trips!"

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Great vehicle but a few irritating characteristics

By on Saturday, August 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good solid minivan, but details need attention."

Cons: "Often I want to say "What were they thinking??""

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

"I like the Sienna and plan to keep it for several years. If you drop something between the front seats and the center console, it is impossible to squeeze your hand in to retrieve the item. When you start the car and are backing up, messages pop up blocking the most valuable space on the rear camera screen. The navigation system isn't as good as Google Maps, and it costs $700 to update. Garage door opener button is on rear view mirror. I had to develop a light touch to avoid messing up mirror. Trying to type into this box is terrible. It keeps skipping characters. This is not "operator error.""

22 people out of 32 found this review helpful

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"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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."

25 people out of 50 found this review helpful

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