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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
“if choosing a minivan came down to the powertrain, this Toyota would be a slam-dunk”
Car and Driver
“there's no denying the potency of the new V-6 when you step into it”
“strong off-the-line acceleration”
Kelley Blue Book
Most in the market for a larger family van will generally be pleased with the way the 2010 Toyota Sienna performs. With a 266-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, the vehicle can accommodate eight people.
The Sienna surprises with its straight-line acceleration, which should put a smile on the face of a parent who still enjoys a little driving excitement. The 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 features dual variable valve timing for the best of low-end torque and high-end power. Its 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque rating make it “the strong, silent type, rushing to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds” by Car and Driver’s stopwatch. Kelley Blue Book backs this up, stating that the engine “delivers where it counts.” Additionally, Edmunds admits “there's no denying the potency of the new V6 when you step into it.”
However, despite its athletic acceleration, the Sienna offers competitive EPA ratings of 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for front-wheel-drive models. Opt for an all-wheel-drive model and you’ll see fuel economy drop to 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
The 2010 Toyota Sienna only offers a five-speed automatic transmission, which reviewers find smooth and well suited when coupled with the V-6’s power. Car and Driver remarks that with the match of the engine and transmission, “if choosing a minivan came down to the powertrain, this Toyota would be a slam-dunk.” Edmunds faults the Sienna’s transmission, claiming that the “automatic transmission is calibrated more for fuel economy than performance and thus tends to shift conservatively.” Note that this is probably appropriate for a minivan, as well as for economy. Kelley Blue Book, however, contends that the transmission “makes the most of the engine's torque curve before seamlessly shifting to the next gear.”
The base Sienna is front-wheel drive, but the LE, XLE, and XLE Limited models are available with an optional all-wheel-drive system to help when things get slippery.
Handling might not be so enthusiastic in the 2010 Sienna, but it's at least maneuverable. Even the matter-of-fact reviewers over at ConsumerGuide note that “tire grip seems only adequate and the steering is a tad over-assisted.” Car and Driver faults the “the generally aloof responses of the controls,” and state that "the brakes feel wooden…the steering lacks sharpness.” On a positive note, those brakes are four-wheel discs, unlike the previous-generation Sienna, which makes do with drums on the rear. And despite its front-wheel-drive layout, the Sienna manages “a tidy turning circle of 36.8 feet…the envy of several passenger cars,” claims Car and Driver. More criticism comes from Edmunds, which notes that the “Sienna offers little inspiration in the handling department” and that it “feels secure enough” but offers “minimal steering feedback and considerable body roll.”
The performance levels of the 2010 Toyota Sienna are suited to the vehicle’s needs, offering enough power for overtaking but maintaining ordinarily safe handling.