2011 Toyota Sienna XLE new car reviews

Minivans are for more than hauling kids. They work well at the track, too.
If this van's a-rocking, then someone's going to be late for their LeMons driver stint.

Better than: Our first Caravan
But not as good as: Airstream
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 68.25

Truth be told, we're fans of the humble minivan. Oh, sure, the masses may associate these upright transportation devices with soccer moms and suburbanites, but we love minivans for what they are: practical machines for moving people and stuff.

So what if they don't have 3 feet of ground clearance, monster truck tires and throaty V8 engines? We're looking for practicality, not status. Don't you already know that we're cooler than cool? (Oh wait, we're not cool? Crap!)

When the all-new Toyota Sienna headed our way, our curiosity was immediately piqued. Would it send us to the dealerships or keep us happy with our Odysseys and Town & Countrys? Scroll down for some opinions.

As an added bonus, we gave this one a bit of a workout: It served as our trackside support vehicle during the South Florida 24 Hours of LeMons event.

One more note: Our test vehicle had the XLE Premium Package. It adds $6225 to the final line and includes a ton of extras, including dual-view entertainment center, back-up camera, JBL sound system, iPod hookup, rear parking sonar, chrome door handles and more.

Other staff views

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

Wow, I thought I would really love this one, as I'm a diehard minivan kinda guy at this point. But really, it was just not nearly as engaging or comfortable to drive as my 2009 Odyssey. I guess it's a Ford vs Chevy kind of thing, as the vans are identical from a performance and price perspective.

Highs: cushy with nice leather seats, wonderful transmission.

Lows: thrashy engine, suspension was too soft and pillowy.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

Minivans are pretty sweet. This one didn't impress me quite as much as the last-generation Sienna, however, at hat one is in my top three of best highway-gobbling machines every built. The new model was still a very nice people and stuff mover, doing nothing to offend on the drive down to the LeMons race. When the Sienna provided ample space for a cot and 4 hours of desperately needed sleep during the 24-hour race, I emerged refreshed and really loving the quiet interior and dawn-blocking tinted windows.

There's a proper vehicle for every job. For racing, it's a race car. For lugging dirty bulky stuff, it's a pickup truck. And for hauling more than 4 people, a baby or two, and their stuff in comfort on the highway, it's a minivan.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

I didn't spend a ton of time with this one, but basically it drove like a big, fast Camry--and not that there's much wrong with that. I know that the masses prefer SUVs but, really, I think that something like this makes much more sense.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.

Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
1/14/11 12:48 p.m.

I had a loaded Sienna as a rental car and really liked it, specifically for it's minivan-ness. It has tons of space, many cup holders and storage nooks, power-sliding doors...the list goes on. I have not driven the Odyssey, but it must be damn good to beat the Sienna.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Truth be told, we're fans of the humble minivan. Oh, sure, the masses may associate these upright transportation devices with soccer moms and suburbanites, but we love minivans for what they are: practical machines for moving people and stuff.

So what if they don't have 3 feet of ground clearance, monster truck tires and throaty V8 engines? We're looking for practicality, not status. Don't you already know that we're cooler than cool? (Oh wait, we're not cool? Crap!)

When the all-new Toyota Sienna headed our way, our curiosity was immediately piqued. Would it send us to the dealerships or keep us happy with our Odysseys and Town & Countrys? Scroll down for some opinions.

As an added bonus, we gave this one a bit of a workout: It served as our trackside support vehicle during the South Florida 24 Hours of LeMons event.

One more note: Our test vehicle had the XLE Premium Package. It adds $6225 to the final line and includes a ton of extras, including dual-view entertainment center, back-up camera, JBL sound system, iPod hookup, rear parking sonar, chrome door handles and more.

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
SBzJuv86ZvuBDZtkMqj3fVhDfZdh6Dea