2011 Toyota Sienna SE: Inside Information
May 12, 2011
When I first heard about a sporty version of the Toyota Sienna, I chuckled to myself. At that moment, I thought that was the epitome of marketing speak, intended to impress the uninformed. A few minutes later, I found myself having lunch with one of the Sienna's designers, and to my surprise, I began to understand where he was coming from.
As it turned out, we had a lot in common, and followed similar paths in the 1990s. Had I continued on the path I was on, we could have been classmates at design school. He, like me, is into motorcycles and bought a Lotus Elise when they were finally brought over in 2004. Unlike myself, though, he grew up and started a family. I stayed behind to hold onto my youth as long as I could.
With points scored in my book, the designer began explaining the sporty SE model and I started buying into it. Why not add a hint of athleticism to a minivan? Not so much that it destroys the ride quality, but just enough to get a decent feel for the road. Maybe this is the track hauler that tows your track car up to Willow Springs, or to impress upon your numerous children that "daddy doesn't drive beige."
I got it. He won me over. I'm not the target demographic, but if I had settled down and started acting like an adult (bleeech!), maybe part of my psyche would have overlapped with the Sienna on some Venn diagram.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor