Track Tested: 2011 Toyota Sienna SE
January 02, 2011
"This is how all Siennas should drive -- maybe how all minivans should drive."
Or so we wrote in our first drive of the 2011 Toyota Sienna SE. Afterall, the SE is the driver's Sienna with SE specific wheels and tires, springing and damping rates, and its own sport calibrated electric-assist power steering.
Sounds good, right? We thought so, too. So much so that we bought one for our long term fleet. On the road our Sienna is confident and capable; something you'd be fine piloting your family up and down even the twistiest mountain road.
But with the kid seats removed and a professional test driver at the helm, what's the sporty Sienna SE do at the track?
Vehicle: 2011 Toyota Sienna SE
Driver: Mike Monticello
Base Price (with destination and tax): $30,750
Options: Predawn Gray Mica; SE Preferred Package ($1,545 -- includes power rear door; tri-zone CFC-free automatic climate control; roof rails; fixed center console; rear window sunshades; AM/FM/MP3 CD player with six speakers, XM radio with 90-day trial subscription, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity and Bluetooth music streaming; vacuum fluorescent display; steering wheel audio and voice-command controls); Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof With Sunshade ($850); Carpet Floor Mats/Door Sill Protector ($324); Towing Prep Option ($220 -- includes 3,500-pound towing capacity); Roof Rack Cross Bars ($185).
Price as tested: $34,684
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, port-injected, V6, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,456cc (211 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 265 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 245 @ 4,700
Brake Type (front): 12.9-inch ventilated disc with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.2-inch solid disc with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Electric power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, MacPherson strut, coil springs, antiroll bar
Suspension Type (rear): Semi-independent, torsion beam, coil springs, antiroll bar
Tire Size (front): P235/50R19
Tire Size (rear): P235/50R19
Tire Brand: Michelin Primacy
Tire Model: Primacy MXV4
Tire Type: All Season
Wheel Size: 19-by-7 inches front and rear
Wheel Material: Alloy
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,461
0 - 30 (sec): 3.0 ( 3.2 with T/C on)
0 - 45 (sec): 5.0 ( 5.4 with T/C on)
0 - 60 (sec): 7.7 (8.1 with T/C on)
0 - 75 (sec): 11.1 (11.6 with T/C on)
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 15.7 @ 90.6 ( 15.9 @ 89.4 with T/C on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.4 ( 7.7 with T/C on)
30 - 0 (ft): 32
60 - 0 (ft): 124
Slalom (mph): 56.3 stability dynamic (55.0 on)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.77 stability dynamic (0.75 trac on)
Db @ Idle: 42.9
Db @ Full Throttle: 72.0
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.5
Acceleration Comments: The hard-revving V6 produces enough power that wheelspin can be excessive when using pedal overlap with traction control and ESC off. Shifts in sport mode were reasonably quick. There's a surge in power at about 5,000
Braking Comments: Pedal was moderately firm and stayed consistently so throughout. but there's too much rear brake bias, the slight lockup of which would cause the Sienna's tail to step out slightly each time.
Handling Comments: Skid pad: Some measurable difference with trac-on / trac-off, but barely. The ESC is too intrusive to get a good idea of the SE's ultimate grip. Steering tells me nothing about grip level and only offers unrelated, unnecessary weight. Slalom: Complete disappointment that the SE version cannot shut off ESC. it probably matters not a bit because the dampers are so soft that it flops over and threatened to spin on the first 60-mph trial run. Steering is gooey and syrupy for no good reason. Doesn't even feel sporty to me.