- - Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Toyota Sienna moves into its second year with a number of comfort and convenience enhancements. Toyota introduced the third-generation Sienna family van for 2011 model year with a sharper focus on comfort, versatility, style and fuel efficiency. The 2011 Sienna also introduced a four-cylinder engine choice and remains the only van in the segment to offer an all-wheel-drive option.

Sienna was completely redesigned last year to cater to traditional family van needs while also meeting growing demands for more responsive driving character and onboard “infotainment” technology. With state-of the art features and rewarding driving dynamics, the Sienna is a vehicle that current minivan, passenger car and SUV owners will find satisfying to drive. The sporty Sienna SE, for example, combines sportier exterior styling with more dynamic driving performance from a sport-tune suspension system.

For 2012 model year the XLE grade adds a standard power passenger seat and auto on/off headlights.

The Sienna was primarily designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research, developed at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and assembled at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana.

Exterior Design

Toyota designed this current-generation Sienna to convey a more distinctive presence in the family van segment. The shape is also functional; a coefficient of drag (Cd) of .306 is low for the class and a major factor in providing a quiet interior and admirable fuel economy. The sleek profile is complemented by distinctive window shapes and sliding door tracks hidden within the side window frames. A sophisticated headlamp design and sculpted rear corner shapes help to make the Sienna stand out among other vans.

The interior features upscale quality and elegance, yet every element is logical and functional. The distinctive swept shape of the dashboard creates the perception of increased personal space for both driver and passenger. The seat designs add flexibility and roominess, while central climate and audio controls are integrated into a single graphic element.

Power, Plus Efficiency

The 2012 Sienna offers a choice between two responsive DOHC engines: a 3.5-liter V6 or 2.7-liter four-cylinder. Both engines offer the latest in efficient, lightweight technology, including Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), roller rocker arms and an Acoustically Controlled Induction System (ACIS) that changes the intake tract length to optimize torque.

The 3.5-liter V6 generates 266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, with EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway (17 mpg city/23 mpg highway on AWD models). It also has a 3,500-pound towing capacity. With 187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces responsive power and delivers EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 19 mpg city and 24 mpg on the highway. Both engines are matched with Sienna’s state-of-the-art, electronically controlled six-speed transmission with sequential shift that provides a smooth gear-shift feeling, quiet performance and a lightweight, compact size.

The suspension uses front MacPherson struts, combined with rack-and pinion steering for smooth, linear steering feel. Electronic Power Steering (EPS) and a wide stance help deliver a solid, direct on-road feel. Aerodynamic under-body elements also contribute to Sienna’s dynamic performance.

Models and Features

The 2012 Sienna is available in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. All-wheel-drive is available with the V6 on LE, XLE and Limited models. All others are front-wheel drive. The value-driven Sienna grade and popular LE are equipped with an wide array of standard features that include: cruise control, Daytime Running Lights with manual on/off feature, tri-zone air conditioning, six- or eight-way-adjustable driver’s captain’s chair, power windows with auto up/down and jam protection, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, XM compatibility, auxiliary input jack, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and three 12V outlets, among other amenities.

The LE V6 model is upgraded with even more standard features including dual power-sliding doors and power rear door, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, electrochromatic rearview mirror with Homelink™, multi-information display with backup camera, rear window sunshades, AM/FM/MP3 CD player, integrated SiriusXM® satellite radio capability with 90 day trial subscription, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth®, and steering wheel audio controls. Those features can be added to the four-cylinder model as an optional package.

The XLE builds on the LE, adding features such as leather-trimmed seats, tilt/slide moonroof, anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, and heated front seats. Select optional XLE equipment includes a 10-speaker JBL® premium sound system with voice-activated DVD Navigation and Panorama rear camera with integrated back-up guides, XM® NavTraffic capability with 90 day trial subscription, rear-seat Dual View Entertainment system, rear sonar, Smart Key, and an auxiliary audio jack and USB port with iPod connectivity.

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