High-quality interior, powerful V6 engine, luxurious ride, carlike handling.
Reconfiguring seats requires some effort, slow remote door operation.
The Toyota Sienna has undergone a full redesign for the 2011 model year, and this all-new minivan looks to unseat our perennial favorite in this class -- the Honda Odyssey. This Sienna replaces the outgoing second-generation model -- which enjoyed a seven-year run -- attempting to remedy all of its predecessor's shortcomings, which included lifeless handling and a lack of entertainment options. The 2011 Toyota Sienna has successfully exorcised these demons.
While minivans have never focused on delivering sporty performance, the 2011 Sienna has made a sizable leap forward in terms of handling. The new Sienna feels much sharper and composed on the road, while maintaining its focus on passenger comfort. The Sienna also makes headway with its thoroughly modern interior and myriad amenities to make long road trips seem much shorter.
With this in mind, the 2011 Toyota Sienna is poised to wear the minivan crown -- even if only for a while. In a recent comparison test, the new Sienna edged out its aging nemesis, the Honda Odyssey, but we expect Honda to fire back with a full redesign later this year. Other minivans in the market include the Dodge Grand Caravan and nearly identical Chrysler Town and Country, but we tend to shy away from these choices because of substandard build quality and interior materials. The Kia Sedona represents the value leader in this segment, but it can't touch the Toyota when it comes to quality.
Our 2011 Toyota Sienna Limited test vehicle was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. A new 2.7-liter inline-4 is standard on base and LE trim levels, and all-wheel drive is available on the higher V6-powered trims.
The V6 produces 265 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the Sienna to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. Acceleration is quick for a minivan, as the Sienna bests its Odyssey rival by almost a full second. In braking tests from 60 mph, the Sienna required 127 feet to come to a complete stop, and the distance grew slightly after repeated runs. Despite this, the brake pedal felt consistently firm and confident. The electric power steering, however, tended to feel disconnected and numb.
Considering that our Toyota Sienna tester weighed in at a robust 4,586 pounds, handling was surprisingly carlike. It buzzed through the slalom cones at 60.6 mph and circled our skid pad pulling 0.77g. While it's unlikely Sienna owners would push this minivan to its performance threshold, these numbers are an indication that it can swerve away from trouble with confidence. More importantly, the Sienna navigates city streets and crowded parking lots with considerable ease.
One of the main reasons the 2011 Toyota Sienna -- and indeed, all minivans -- exists is its ability to comfortably shuttle large amounts of passengers and cargo from place to place. In this area, the Sienna is a top performer, as its cabin ably isolates occupants from the harshness of the outside world. Wind and road noise are reduced to almost cryptlike silence, while the suspension abates the majority of pavement bumps as well as most luxury cars do. Some concrete seams and larger potholes are more noticeable when the Sienna is empty, making the rear wheels feel a bit jittery.
The front seats are accommodating for a wide variety of body types, thanks to plenty of adjustments, headroom and legroom. The Limited's two second-row seats are the real scene stealers, though, as they look and feel like expensive first-class seats in a jumbo jet. Besides a reclining seatback and folding footrest, these seats also slide fore and aft with considerable travel. In full La-Z-Boy mode, passengers up to 5-foot-8 should be able to enjoy these uncommonly comfortable seats. Unfortunately, taller folks' legs will be too long to enjoy the full footrest extension. An optional center seat is available, though it is considerably smaller and less comfortable.
Farther back, the 60/40-split folding third row offers seating for three passengers. With the second-row seats slid forward, legroom is plentiful, but headroom is the limiting factor for the rearmost seats. We suggest that any adult passenger of average height or taller fight for a seat in the first two rows.
It is clear to us that the 2011 Toyota Sienna's designers and engineers really sweated the details. Drivers are treated to an expansive panoramic view good enough to put many large SUVs to shame, allowing for guess-free lane changes and stress-free parking in tight spaces. Controls are all within easy reach, intuitively placed and clearly marked. Gauges are also well-placed, attractive and legible, as is a small secondary color display mounted atop the dash.
We were not impressed, however, with the dot-matrix audio display, which looks significantly dated in today's world. On the other hand, the stereo's sound quality was praiseworthy, with enough speakers to fill the cavernous interior with full-bodied tones. Operation of an iPod was simple, making it easy to find your favorite song or playlist.
Obviously, the Sienna's real strength lies in its ability to gobble up cargo. Even with the third-row seats in passenger mode, a good 39.1 cubic feet of luggage space is at your disposal. Liftover height is mercifully low and the recessed cargo hold features six hooks to keep the contents of your grocery bags from escaping. Standard on the Sienna Limited are power-folding third-row seats that, with the removable second-row seats out, allow for an impressive 150 cubic feet of cargo space. Adding to that capacity is the boxy interior space that can easily accommodate large and bulky items.
Elsewhere in the cabin, storage is likewise generous. Large door pockets, a dual glovebox and numerous pockets and bins ensure plenty of places to store your personal effects. Cupholders are also plentiful and deep enough to keep beverages in place. We were duly impressed with the front center console and its deep storage bin. The back of this console slides rearward, opening up yet another large storage area and putting the rear cupholders within easy reach of the reclined second-row passengers.
Like most minivans out there, the 2011 Toyota Sienna's interior can be reconfigured to fit your needs. However, the act of morphing the cabin from seven-passenger hauler to full cargo van is not without a few hindrances. The controls to fold or deploy the third-row seats are situated atop the hatch, making them a reach for shorter people. The buttons must also be held down for as long as 18 seconds. Operating the power hatch and side sliding doors also requires some patience, as the remote button must be depressed for a full 5 seconds before they spring into motion.
Removing the second-row seats is a particularly laborious task. Weighing in at 76 pounds each and unable to fold into a manageable shape means this is a job for two strong people. Accessing the third-row seats requires sliding the middle-row seats forward, but the amount of effort to accomplish this may be troublesome for smaller passengers. Infants and children are better served, since these seats accept baby and booster seats with ease, and the sliding feature means they can receive even the largest of rear-facing carriers.
Design/Fit and Finish
The exterior styling of this all-new Toyota Sienna isn't a huge departure from the previous generation's, or for that matter, from minivans in general. The designers did manage to liven up the otherwise featureless slabs of bodywork with graceful curves and shapes to break up the monotony. We particularly like that the side door tracks are integrated into the rearmost side windows, making them essentially invisible.
The cabin design of our range-topping Sienna Limited is a bigger departure from minivan convention. Sweeping forms and complex shapes abound, for an atypically upscale feel. Had it been up to us, though, we would've opted for a darker interior color, as the light gray surfaces in our test vehicle acted as a magnet for handprints and smudges. Fortunately, these blemishes were quickly dispatched with a damp sponge. We were also not fans of the obviously plastic faux wood trim. Otherwise, every other surface was well-textured or soft to the touch and tightly fitted.
Who should consider this vehicle
Minivans are the undeniable leaders when it comes to hauling people and cargo, and the 2011 Toyota Sienna ranks on the top of our list. But the Sienna's top-dog status will likely be challenged when the Honda Odyssey gets a full redesign later this year.
2011 Toyota Sienna Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2011 Toyota Sienna and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2011 Sienna featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2011 Toyota Sienna and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2011 Sienna 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2011 Sienna.
Review Pay very special attention to the plastic coated steel wire that is part of power sliding door mechanism. You can find this wire in the groove/track under the rear windows. The plastic coating of this wire on my van dried up and cracked, exposing the steel wire. When this happens, the door will be hard to open. When the steel is completely exposed, eventually the cable can snap. It happened to me and my doors (yes, both sliding doors) are only in manual mode now. I was told that it would cost $2000/door to fix. The front doors have welding issues. When they are opened and closed, they make a LOUD "snapping" noise. This model came with runflat tires. They are expensive to replace.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
The 2011 Toyota Sienna earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 5.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
Available Toyota Sienna 2011 Submodel Types: Minivan
Available Trims: LE 8-Passenger, XLE 8-Passenger, XLE 7-Passenger, Limited Premium 7-Passenger, LE 7-Passenger, XLE Premium 8-Passenger, Limited 7-Passenger, XLE Premium 7-Passenger, SE 8-Passenger, XLE 7-Passenger Mobility Auto Access, L 7-Passenger, LE 7-Passenger Mobility Auto Access, SE Premium 8-Passenger, XLE Limited 7-Passenger, LE, CE 7-Passenger, Base 7-Passenger, XLE, CE 8-Passenger, CE
Exterior Colors: Predawn Gray Mica, Silver Sky Metallic, Salsa Red Pearl, Shoreline Blue Pearl, Blizzard Pearl, Super White, Midnight Black Metallic, Black, Blue Mirage Metallic, Cypress Pearl, Attitude Black Metallic, Creme Brulee Mica, Silver Shadow Pearl, Sky Blue Pearl, Desert Sand Mica, South Pacific Pearl, Sandy Beach Metallic, Slate Metallic, Arctic Frost Pearl, Silver Pine Mica, Nautical Blue Metallic, Aspen Green Pearl, Phantom Gray Pearl, Sailfin Blue Metallic, Stratosphere Mica, Denim Blue Mica Pearl Metallic, Denim Blue Pearl, Lunar Mist Metallic, Natural White, Vintage Red Pearl
Interior Colors: Ash leather, Ash premium cloth, Light Gray leather, Light Gray premium cloth, Bisque leather, Dark Bisque leather, Ash premium leather, Bisque premium cloth, Black leather, Light Gray cloth, Chestnut premium leather, Dark Bisque premium cloth, Stone cloth, Ash cloth, Dark Charcoal vinyl/cloth, Bisque cloth, Gray, Taupe cloth, Dark Charcoal leatherette/cloth, Stone, Dark Bisque cloth, Taupe, Fawn, Oak, Stone premium cloth, Taupe premium cloth
Popular Features: Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Stability Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Trip Computer, Power Driver Seat, Auto Climate Control, Bluetooth, Back-up camera, USB Inputs, Power Liftgate/Trunk, Alarm, Sunroof/Moonroof, Navigation, Heated seats, Leather Seats, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Keyless Entry/Start, Parking sensors, AWD/4WD, Rear Entertainment System, Post-collision safety system, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Upgraded Headlights, Upgraded Stereo, Remote Start, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-collision safety system