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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 129 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.7/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Great van for family (2016 XLE FWD)

By on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,700

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Passenger and cargo space, adult-friendly 3rd row"

Cons: "Small brake pedal, front passenger leg room"

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

"We test drove Sienna, Odyssey, and Sedona back to back. We need an adult-friendly 3rd row, and the 3rd row in Sedona is relatively small and uncomfortable. We didn't like the camera on the right side in the Odyssey(EX-L), and preferred the blind spot monitoring system in the Sienna. Driving Dynamics: engine is strong, acceleration is quick enough for daily driving; ride is smooth and quiet; the Odyssey actually drives more like a sedan compared to Sienna, the Sienna just feels a little big behind the steering wheel. Interior: lots of room in all 3 rows; 2nd row can slide forward or backward on very long tracks, so you can negotiate room between 2nd and 3rd row; the middle seat in 2nd row can be removed and stored in the back without taking trunk space; 3rd row is a little firm compared to Odyssey, but seats are high on floor and you have good thigh support; front passenger leg room is less than Odyssey due to the big storage box mounting towards passenger's knee; after removing the middle seat in 2nd row, the cup holders underneath cannot be removed unless you remove the side passenger seat. Comfort & Convenience: we like the simple and easy layout on the dash in the Sienna; there are 2 screens and a lot more control buttons in Odyssey, it just looks busy and a little confusing; we also like the infotainment system in Sienna, you can customize the shortcuts and menus displayed on the LCD, and make a phone call by 1 touch on the LCD. Gas mileage: I'm averaging 19~20 mpg going to work in the morning, and 18~19 coming back home with heavier traffic(about 15 miles from home to work, city driving, 30 to 40 mph with some traffic lights) ; and I'm getting 24 to 26 mpg on highways."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Sienna will destroy tires, expect 10-20k miles

By on Monday, June 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Cons: "Eats tires, Toyota denies problem."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Sienna, standard, not AWD. On our 4th set of tires at almost 50k. Alignment fine. The tires last about 10-20k before they all wear out. First set was at 8k and the dealer blamed the brand (Firestone), replaced with Goodyear which was good till 25k. Dealer required replacement with Goodyear again and we may make it to 50k. This is normal city driving on paved roads. Constant run around from the dealer. Tries to blame the tires, but we bought these new from the dealer and they chose the tires. This is a common problem for Siennas that the dealers will also say they never heard of so if you like the Sienna you should budget for a new set every 1-2 years."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Awesome

By on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Rear end hit

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: "All Pro"

Cons: "No Cons"

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

"Super riding vehicle, room and comfort sporty look and overall no issues with service love the Sienna bought newer one."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

The best minivan for 2014, AWD great in winter.

By on Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,250

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price was highest in range, that's Toyota!"

Cons: "Hard interior materials, needs better gas mileage."

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

"The only complaints I have, better interior materials; better gas mileage if 4 cyl turbo was used; and sportier handling package."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I Do Not Recommend Buying A Sienna MiniVan!!!

By on Saturday, May 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Comfortable Ride"

Cons: "Repair Costs are Outrageous"

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

"#1 Reason - Extremely expensive to repair. Avg. repair costs are $1,700yr. - Sliding doors unable to open/close or not closing properly - (2x for left door, 3x for right door) - seems to have design/manufacture flaw. $600-$1000 per door to repair. - Repeated problems with CV Boots and Axle Assemblies, both left and right (total of 4 times since 2000, $700-$1000 per repair) - Repeated problems with Power steering gear (3 times @ cost of $900-$1000 per repair) - Tires are expensive - over $1000 every 3 yrs to replace - Normal maintenance checks are always expensive because they usually find 3-4 things wrong with the car. Believe me when I tell you, you will purchase a money pit nightmare when you buy a Toyota Sienna. I would not recommend buying this van. If you do, make sure you have repairs done at a local reputable shop, not Toyota. Service fees for the same work increase several hundred dollars every six months."

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

What they dont tell you when you buy

By on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "Tires, Tire, Tires"

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

"I have been very happy with this vehicle except for one glaring item: I drive 30,000 miles per year combination city and highway. This van comes equipped with run flat tires which they use as a selling point. What they do not tell you, this tires do not have a mileage warranty and they only last about 16000 miles. It costs $1100.00 every 15 to 18,000 miles that you drive. I bought this van in January 2015, have 33,375 miles on it and yesterday I put on its 3rd set of tires. Originals from factory, set bought at 16,000 miles and set bought on 5/2/16. There is one alternative, regular tires with no spare......"

23 people out of 31 found this review helpful

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