Wagons—or shall we say—minivans—ho!

24 Dec 2009 | 3,767 views | No Comment
2011-sienna-front 2011-sienna-int Toyota’s lifted the curtain on its third generation 2011 Sienna minivan, and though it doesn’t look that different, there are some interesting new twists and angles here. Let’s talk about styling, first. Toyota says it’s got an interesting look, but we think you’ll probably have to look pretty closely, unless you’ve got a view of the much improved, dramatic grille, or the equally nicely done taillights. You will notice some fender flares to give it a sportier, more muscular look,  presumably to go along with new SE sports model now being offered. As for that grille, Toyota says it has “sophisticated headlamps angled higher than the grille (that)  lends a confident front presence”  Around back, the release says, “the sculptural rear corner separates the Sienna from boxy minivans as it surrounds the functional yet elegant LED taillights.” The interior has always been a strong point to the Sienna minivan—we’ve called it the “Lexus of minivans” and rightly so. From the looks of it, the new design, especially the dash, is a lot more modern looking, and fresher, too. The elements don’t look quite so busy here. Two engines will be offered in the 2011 Sienna, including a  3.5-liter V6 or 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. The 3.5-liter V6 makes 266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, with expected EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway (16 mpg city/22 mpg highway on AWD models). It also has a 3,500-pound tow capacity. “ With 187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, “ the release says, “the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces responsive power that exceeds some competitors V6 performance, while delivering expected EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway.” The Sienna will come in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.  All-wheel-drive is available with the V6 on LE, XLE and Limited models. he Sienna can be configured with seven- or eight-passenger seating, in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, with a range of prices and features to accommodate different mixes of practical needs and high aspirations. “The Sienna and LE grades are available with either the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or the 3.5-liter V6. The value-driven Sienna grade and popular LE are equipped with an array of standard features that include: cruise control, Daytime Running Lights with manual on/off feature, tri-zone air conditioning, six- or eight-way-adjustable driver’s captain’s chair, power windows with auto up/down and jam protection, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, XM compatibility, auxiliary jack, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and three 12V outlets, among other amenities,” Toyota’s release says. In terms of safety, look for Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and Traction Control (TRAC), is standard on all models. The LE V6 model comes with additional features including dual power-sliding doors and power rear door, a power driver seat with power lumbar support, electrochromatic rearview mirror with Homelink™, backup camera, rear window sunshades, AM/FM/MP3 CD player, integrated XM® satellite radio (subscription required), auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, and steering wheel audio controls. These features can be added to the four-cylinder model as a package. The XLE builds on the LE, adding features such as leather-trimmed seats, moonroof, and an anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, remote keyless entry, and heated front seats. Select optional XLE equipment includes a 10-speaker JBL® premium sound system with voice-activated DVD Navigation and Panorama rear camera with integrated back-up guides, XM® NavTraffic (subscription required), rear-seat Dual View Entertainment system, and an auxiliary audio jack and USB port with iPod® connectivity. The Limited is designed for customers who want all the features with more luxury. The standard equipment list is extensive, including new second-row Lounge Seating and a power 60/40 Split & Stow third-row seat, front and rear parking sonar, dual moonroof, Smart Key, and Safety Connect™.  Select options include those available on the XLE plus HID auto high-beam auto-high beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The new model, as we said, is the SE, “ designed for those who appreciate an even sportier design with responsive performance. The front has a more aggressive appearance and the side skirting visually lowers the vehicle,” Toyota says. The company adds, “Aerodynamic sculpting hugs the standard 19-inch alloy wheels, which are specially tuned for sportier handling. Separating the SE further from other grades, the smoked tail lamps create a visually prominent statement. The SE sits lower, on a sport-tuned suspension for quicker feedback and better handling. Additionally, the SE is built with exclusive instrumentation and unique interior colors and trim.” There are some big improvements to the interior, which is two inches longer, and with seats that have long ranges of travel, “making it possible to comfortably accommodate a wider range of heights and sizes,” Toyota says. “The front seats have more rearward travel, and the steering wheel has a less upright position, so the driver can adopt a comfortable driving posture. The driver’s instruments and controls are clear and concise, and the greater cabin width helps create extended personal space for both driver and front passenger. “ The release says that “both seven- and eight-seat cabins can be configured for a full contingent of passengers, a load of cargo, or a convenient mix of both. In seven-seat cabins, the second row captain chairs slide 23 inches, moving to the rear to create legroom for the tallest passengers and easier ingress and egress. They can be moved forward close to the front seats to make it easy to care for a child passenger, while also allowing easy access for third-row passengers.” There’s a  sliding center console on the XLE all-wheel-drive and Limited grades so that it can be shared between front and second row passengers. On eight-passenger models, the second-row center seat can be removed and stowed in the left side of the rear-storage area. When the center seat is stowed, a cupholder and storage tray is revealed.  The eight-passenger interior can easily be optimized for seven passengers, and quickly reconfigured back for eight. The second-row seats also feature a Tip Up and Long Slide feature, allowing them to slide forward and back on extended rails, making more room for people or cargo as the need arises. All second row seats, regardless of configuration, move out of the way with one touch to gain easy access to the third row seats. The 60/40 Split and Stow third-row seating folds flat with one motion manually, with the Limited front-wheel drive receiving a power feature. The third row has been moved about two inches rearward for enhanced comfort.  With the third-row seat in use, there is enough storage for five golf bags or four large suitcases.  Four handy grocery hooks, with two in the back and two in the second row seatbacks, add storage convenience. You can look for the new Sienna in February.

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