- Quiet and comfortable ride
- Lot of standard and optional features
- Toyota’s reputation for quality, reliability, and resale value
- Plain, outdated styling
- Fewer seating permutations than its rivals
- Lackluster interior materials
The 2009 Toyota Sienna is by no means exciting, but it will do a family right.
The 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan has been on the market for five years with no major changes, and it shows. While it is still a large, comfortable, and versatile van for big families, its styling is outdated and its competitors have newer, more stylish products on the lots. Luckily for Toyota Sienna fans, an all-new version is due for 2010. The Sienna soldiers on for 2009 with very few changes.
For those who want a great, long-lasting family vehicle, the lack of cutting-edge style might not matter so much. The 2009 Toyota Sienna can seat up to eight and haul them in relative quickness, thanks to its 266-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. It isn’t exactly exciting to pilot, but it is smooth and quiet, which are attributes minivan drivers are looking for—and there’s plenty of passing power when you need it, even with a full load. The base Sienna is front-wheel drive, but the LE, XLE, and XLE Limited models are available with an all-wheel-drive system for all-weather traction.
"Minivan" may be a bad word for many mothers, but for pure practicality, they are hard to beat. The 2009 Sienna is an excellent example of that functionality; its very spacious interior features a third-row seat that folds neatly into a well, allowing plenty of flat, low space for cargo while maintaining seating for five. If you don’t have people to haul, the second row folds flat as well and can carry an actual 4x8 sheet of plywood. Top 2009 Toyota Sienna XLE and XLE Limited models get twin captain’s chairs in the second row instead of the three-place bench seat.
The Sienna’s interior is rich on features—including standard dual sliding doors and the folding third-row seats on all models. For power sliding doors, a power folding third row, and a power rear tailgate, you have to move up to the higher trim levels. Its interior materials and appointments feel a bit less refined compared to those of its competitors.
The options list on the 2009 Toyota Sienna would be right at home on a luxury-brand vehicle. It includes a rearview video camera, front/rear parking proximity warnings, side sunshades, laser-guided cruise control, a DVD entertainment system, satellite navigation system, and a JBL surround-sound audio system (standard on the XLE Limited) that includes Bluetooth hands-free connectivity.
The Sienna posts quite good results in U.S. crash tests, with four- and five-star ratings for frontal impact, five stars in side impact from the federal government, and "good" judgements from the IIHS in frontal and side impact. Unfortunately the IIHS deems the Sienna "poor" in the seat-based rear impact test, which gauges the risk of whiplash injury, among other things. Electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are standard on every grade of the 2009 Toyota Sienna, as are front side airbags and side curtain bags covering all three seating rows.