2011 Toyota Sienna Performance

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Performance

Toyota cites improved performance in the new Sienna, since its carryover V-6 engine gets a six-speed automatic. But it's the Sienna's four-cylinder engine that should give minivan buyers second thoughts about paying more for their family hauler.

The base 2.7-liter four-cylinder puts out 187 horsepower, while the larger 3.5-liter V-6 churns out 266 hp. Both team with a six-speed automatic for an estimated 19/26 mpg in the four-cylinder Sienna, to 16/22 mpg for the V-6, all-wheel-drive version. Engine performance from the four-cylinder is perfectly acceptable; it's a little louder and obviously less quick than the V-6, but for minivan duty, it's amply, safely powerful enough to carry a carpool's worth of kids and adults, at a price thousands less than the luxuriously powerful V-6. It's a Dave Ramsey-friendly vehicle, for sure.

The four-cylinder's a big surprise here; we don't see the need to pay more for the V-6.

The latest Sienna carries over a straightforward MacPherson front strut and independent rear suspension. Electronic power steering is a new arrival, and it's fine in a vehicle like the Sienna, in which handling is a lower priority than space and fuel economy. While it's no sportscar, the Sienna has smooth ride motions and quick steering, making it nicely maneuverable in city driving.

A special SE edition gets tighter suspension tuning, big 19-inch wheels, and a lower body; it's a gamble that may not register with average minivan buyer, especially as it's a subtle difference from the XLE or Limited feel.

The Sienna is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, and itself weighs from 4,275 to 4,750 pounds.

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