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No more exciting than a toaster, but comes close to being the perfect minivan appliance.
Camry genes, excellent crash-test ratings, refined powertrain, optional stability control system, available side airbags.
Dull styling, small size, lacks optimal utility.
Available Sienna Minivan Models
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Like other minivans on the market, the 2001 Sienna can be equipped with an on-board entertainment system. Dual power-sliding doors are optional, and the safety-conscious will like the fact that side airbags and a stability control system are available. Sienna's smooth V6 makes more power and torque this year. A rear defroster is standard on all Siennas, while JBL audio, heated front seats and an electrochromic rearview mirror with integrated compass are optional on XLE models. Styling has been tweaked front and rear, four new colors replace four old colors and all Siennas come with a driver-side sliding door.
Despite the fact that it's four model years old and doesn't offer as much utility and functionality as newer competitors, the Toyota Sienna is one of the top choices in the minivan class. With the Sienna, Toyota has placed an emphasis on safety, quality, and performance.
There are three models: the base CE, the mid-level LE, and the top-level XLE. All come standard with five doors for 2001. Under the hood is a smooth, powerful, and refined 3.0-liter V6 mated to a four-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. This same powertrain setup can also be found in the Toyota Camry, fitting since the Sienna is built on a stretched and modified Camry platform. In the Sienna, the engine produces 210 horsepower and 220 foot-pounds of torque, both figures up from last year thanks to the addition of variable valve timing technology.
Sienna's rigid and lightweight unitized body performed exceptionally well in government crash tests. For 2001, Sienna's safety record is enhanced by newly optional side airbags and an available stability control system. Other standard safety features include ABS, front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, front height-adjustable seatbelt anchors, and daytime running lights. Every Sienna is also equipped with a low tire-pressure warning system.
The Sienna driving experience is similar to the Camry in that it's pleasantly non-confrontational. Steering is sure, if not quite nimble. The suspension does a good job of soaking up road imperfections, and wind noise is kept to a minimum. Braking is exceptionally competent. Acceleration from the V6 is acceptable for almost all situations, and the cabin is quiet at highway speeds.
Sienna was designed to offer optimum interior roominess in a compact, easy-to-maneuver package. The interior has a definite Camry feel to it, constructed and trimmed in high-quality materials. Removable modular seating allows for custom configurations to accommodate a variety of cargo requirements. A second-row bench seat or captain's chairs and third-row seats can be folded or removed to accommodate bulkier cargo. Third-row seats also add a 50/50 split-folding and tumble feature for additional cargo space, but can't match many competitors for overall user-friendliness. Dual power-operated sliding side doors are optional this year.
What Sienna needs to remain competitive in the class is a third-row seat that tumbles into the floor like newer models from Honda and Mazda. More comfortable front seats would help, too, as the current chairs are firm yet unsupportive, and don't offer a wide enough range of adjustment.
Overall, Toyota does not make the biggest or most useful minivan, but it does make a reliable, safe, good-performing and refined alternative to a number of family haulers on the market.
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