The 2011 Toyota Sienna Limited is like an airplane: cockpit in the front, then First Class, and Economy Plus is in the back. If you have more than 2 kids, expect mutiny from those seated in the 3rd row of the Sienna Limited. Those 2 kids in the "Swagger Wagon" videos don't fight, but once Baby #3 comes along and takes one of those captains chairs, I'm sure we'll see some tantrums pop up on You Tube.
- New Exterior Design
- "Swagger Dad" Approved
- Artsy Swoosh of wood grain on dash
- Seating for 7-8
- Footrests & reclining seats for 2nd row (Limited only)
- The only minivan with All Wheel Drive (AWD)
- Navigation panel on dash swivels out for CD loading (very Star Trek: The Next Generation, but a Replicator would be better)
- Good storage with 2 glove compartments, door pockets and cargo area
- 2 sunroofs on Limited model
- OK look for men & women. It is the "Swagger Wagon" after all.
- Very easy driving
Choices, Choices, Choices
Updated Look In & Out
Technology Within Reach
A Few Concerns
I do have a few concerns about this Sienna: 1) I can only find 3 LATCH-equipped seats (2nd row outboard and 3rd row center); 2) I couldn't fold down the 3rd row for storage and in the AWD it doesn't have a power fold-and-store button (the FWD Limited does); and 3) I find the Toyota options packaging to be maddening.
As for folding the 3rd row for storage, I just couldn't get the leverage to stow the folded seats. It might be my height, and it might be my gimpy left leg, or a combo of both. No matter the angle, I couldn't pull the folded seat back towards me to stow it away. Very frustrating and I didn't even have my kids with me. Hugh, the salesman, was able to get it to fold down and stow, but sometimes I don't have access to a taller person and sometimes I don't want to ask for help. (Actually, I don't like to ask for help most of the time.)
As for the options packages, that's just the way Toyota does it. We've bought two different Lexus' (Lexi?), and were frustrated by the packaging of options on those as well. So before you go to the dealer, review Toyota.com and all the packages so you know how to speak their language.
Driving the Sienna was fine, nothing too exciting, and nothing too awful to talk about. Acceleration was good with some nice power to get up to highway speed. The Limited I drove has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 266 horsepower, so it moves when you ask it to. Braking was easy, steering was easy and didn't hint at the massive machine you're driving, and the turning radius was awesome. I could easily pull into a Target parking lot spot and make a nice U-turn. The van looks wide, but it drove nimbly. I understand that the engineers added in more responsive steering in this model year.
The (Yawn) Bottom Line
And that's the bottom line: nothing too fancy, nothing too terrible. Certainly a step up from the plain vanilla Sienna of years past, but I'm just not that excited. You'll just have to check it out for yourself and find out if the wood swoosh and cheap plastic bug you, and if you drive so much that your kids need first class accommodations.
2011 Sienna vs. 2011 Honda Odyssey
I've now driven both the 2011 Sienna and the 2011 Honda Odyssey (read my review here) and I have to say that I would choose the Odyssey over the Sienna. The Odyssey has plastic, but it's higher quality plastic; better mileage on the V6 Touring Elite (19 city/28 highway) compared to the V6 Sienna Limited (18/24 for 2-wheel drive or 16/22 for AWD); has 5 LATCH lower anchors and 6 LATCH tether anchors for car seats; easier-to-fold 3rd row; and the Odyssey's 2nd row may not recline, but the seats move forward and back and side-to-side making it easier to reach young ones and get big ones in the 3rd row. The Sienna has All Wheel Drive, 2 sunroofs, first class seating for kids, and better color options. Most other standard features are the same on both. So it really comes down to your preferences. Go drive them both and let me know what you think with a comment here on my blog.
2011 Sienna vs. 2011 Honda Odyssey
Photos by Car Mama and from Toyota.com.
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