2011 Toyota Sienna SE: Simple
July 22, 2011
First things first: let's not confuse the concepts of "simple" and "easy to use." While the 2011 Toyota Sienna certain has an easy to use interior, it's also incredibly simple.
Kindergarden simple. ATM simple. Lowest-common denominator simple.
There's no learning curve here and there's really no satisfaction or confirmation in any of the button actions and functions. Everything works perfectly well, we can't forget that, but nothing feels like or looks like it belongs in a modern car. Buttons are overlarge and overlabeled. It reminds me of those telephones and calculators you can buy from the medical supply store for your grandmother when her eyes start to go (or if the fingers you are using to dial are too fat) with the big buttons. Or the big plastic ones you use to keep toddlers entertained and from drooling on your actual calculator.
Again, it all works just fine and takes no time to figure out-- you could work just about everything here your first time in the van while juggling babies-- but every time I see it I'm reminded that Toyota is a volume player and interesting, clever and cool are often seen as confusing. But really, I don't think people are as clueless as this interior is assuming they are.
Mike Magrath, Features Editor