2012 Toyota Sienna XLE 8-Passenger
(3.5L V6 6-speed Automatic)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 9/21/2010 (2011 Sienna XLE)
Toyota's excellent 3.5-liter V6 in the XLE provides more than enough power and surprising efficiency. Braking performance/fade resistance is average. A 4-cylinder engine and AWD are also available, but not in conjunction with each other.
Driving dynamics are not the XLE's strong suit. Vague steering and slow reactions are expected in a family hauler. Some competitors' vehicles are better in this regard, but if you want more feel and fun in a Sienna, try the sport-tuned SE.
Ride comfort is generally very good. The only exception is found on undulating surfaces where soft settings sometimes produce secondary heaving motions. This trait doesn't apply to the sporty SE, that ironically provides a smoother ride.
The Sienna is an exceptionally quiet vehicle regardless of model or trim. Some road noise finds its way inside, but only on coarse surfaces.
While there are a multitude of systems, buttons and options every minivan must address with logical & convenient placement and operation, the Sienna occasionally struggles to make the grade. There are better examples of how to do it right.
The minivan's inherent visibility issues are addressed with optional xenon headlamps, proximity sensors and backup camera, but blind-spot monitoring is not currently available. Dynamic cruise control and pre-collision system are available.
Seat Access & Space
If there's anything a minivan does well it's accommodate a large number of people comfortably, and the Sienna does so better than most. Power-operated 3rd-row and 2nd-row lounge chairs are optional.
Cargo & Storage
With the exception of a purpose-built cargo van, you cannot find another vehicle with more room than a minivan. Yet you must still remove the second-row seats manually to take advantage of the Sienna's full 150 cu-ft cargo capacity.
We find the materials choices, textures and plastic awareness downgraded and disappointing in this third-generation Sienna; especially when compared to its main competition.
Properly equipped and fed by 91-octane or better gasoline (87 is recommended for everyday use), the V6-powered Sienna can haul up to 3,500 pounds (minus the passengers and contents of the minivan).