2012 Toyota Sienna Photo

2012 Toyota Sienna - Performance Review

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On Performance
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We've been pleasantly surprised by the four-cylinder's performance, but most Sienna buyers will opt into the strong V-6.
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

Powerful enough for most buyers, the four-cylinder does make a few gritty noises under acceleration, but there is enough torque (186 lb-ft) to move the Sienna smartly.
Car and Driver

While the four-cylinder's acceleration and sound is no match for its V-6 brethren, it's certainly capable of moving the Sienna around town and even on the highway, especially with the help of the six-speed transmission.
Los Angeles Times

Compared to the V6 mill, however, fuel economy of the four-pot isn't stellar. It still leads the class, though, clocking in at 19/26/22 mpg for city, highway and combined cycles respectively. But with the V6 models' similar ratings (18/24/20 for FWD models and 16/22/18 on AWD variants), the four-pot seems to be there just so Toyota can keep the entry-level 2011 Sienna below the current van's $24,600 starting price.

Its carlike ride and handling make it easy to forget that you're driving a minivan at all.

[The four-cylinder] makes a pretty compelling case for itself in these thin-wallet times.
Motor Trend

As minivans have grown in size, most have axed their former four-cylinder engines and have uprated their stock-and-trade six-cylinders. The Sienna takes another tack: in its 2011 revamp, it carried over its V-6 engine and brought back a four-cylinder that gives bargain a budget-minded choice that won't feel too much like bargain hunters.

The four-cylinder displaces 2.4 liters and makes 187 horsepower, compared to the 3.5-liter V-6's 266 hp. With either, a six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. While the EPA ratings don't make much distinction between the two, your checkbook might--and with a passenger two on board, the four-cylinder Sienna performs reasonably well, and reasonably smoothly. It's powerful enough to carry a carpool's worth of kids, and thousands less than the strong 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.


We've been pleasantly surprised by the four-cylinder's performance, but most Sienna buyers will opt into the strong V-6.

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