2011 Toyota Sienna SE: Oregon Run, Day 2
December 26, 2010
We're here. Our 2011 Toyota Sienna SE has arrived on the stunning Oregon coast without incident. And by "incident" I mean uspet tummies or stressed vertebrae.
My wife usually suffers from the latter after 800 miles in the shotgun seat, and the winding nature of the last 200 miles of sinuous asphalt usually plays havoc with the former. And sometimes the effects can linger for days.
Relentless earth movement has put a lot of wrinkles in the many corners found along the twisted upper reaches of northern California's Highway 101, and the Sienna's SE suspension and tire package shrugged it all off with ease. Its steering proved to be responsive and accurate, and the suspension kept the minivan securely on line while deftly damping out body roll motions as if we were riding in a much smaller and lower vehicle.
It's hard to know how a non-SE 2011 Sienna would have done here, but this SE was even more engaging on these roads than the Ford Flex Limited -- a vehicle we like a lot -- had been on previous trips up this route.
Today I ignored the Sienna's overly-conservative distance-to-empty (DTE) display and drove 15 miles past the zero point to get to my favorite gas station on the California side of the Oregon border.
Doing so allowed me to go 400.5 miles while pumping the gas myself -- something that's not permitted in Oregon. Despite the dire DTE warning, an 18.4-gallon fill-up works out to almost two gallons remaining in the "empty" tank. Today's mpg worked out to 21.8 mpg despite roads that featured a lot of hills to climb and corners to accelerate out of.
Compared to last year's journey in the lower-profile Ford Flex, the 2011 Sienna has averaged about 1 mpg better. Our overall trip average so far is 22.3 mpg. The Ford Flex averaged 21.2 mpg on the same northbound legs last year. Both vehicles share an EPA highway rating of 24 mpg, but the 2011 Sienna's EPA Combined rating beats the FWD 3.5-liter Duratec Flex by a single mpg, 20 to 19 mpg. We're pretty much seeing that play out on this trip.
So far, so good. The 2011 Toyota Sienna SE is proving to be a pretty good road trip vehicle that stacks up well compared to others we've taken on this run.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,141 miles