2011 Toyota Sienna Consumer Review: Solid Car - Beware of Bluetoot

2011 Toyota Sienna - Consumer Review

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Solid Car - Beware of Bluetooth on LE
By aschreiber1 on


2011 Toyota Sienna LE 8-Passenger 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 6A)


When comparing the different versions of the Toyota Sienna 2011 if Bluetooth is an important feature then you really don't have much of a choice. The reason is that the Bluetooth with Navigation package is much more advanced than the standard Bluetooth that comes with the Limited Edition and it is only available for the XLE model. Three of the top five most critical Bluetooth profiles are absent from the standard Bluetooth package on the LE and they are Phone Book Address Profile (PBAP), Synchronization (SYNC) and Object Push Profile (OPP). Of these three profiles the fact that PBAP was left out is an atrocity!!! Aside from the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) and the Hands Free Profile (HFP), PBAP is undeniably the most important profile as far as making phone calls is concerned. It boggles my mind why Toyota would have left this out!!! Instead, owners are forced to manually add a MAXIMUM of 20 entries into a "Phone Book" which is merely a lookup table that tries to pull up a phone number based on how "you the owner" decided to record the matching voice tag. For those people who might actually bother taking the time to add any entries into the "Phone Book", limiting the number of entries to 20 only adds insult to injury! Considering most people on average have at least 3 phone numbers per contact (i.e. home, work, cell) Toyota is really limiting you to only 7 contacts.

A true and correct implementation of Bluetooth would have (at the very least) included the HFP for voice dialing in conjunction with A2DP, PBAP and SYNC. Using this "industry standard" approach results in a seamless experience instead of the excruciatingly painful and ultimately futile one that users will have to endure.

Unfortunately I don't see many complaints on the Internet regarding this shortcoming and I believe it's for good reason. Bluetooth is still a very new concept for most people -especially in cars and especially for the Sienna's target demographic which is still soccer moms. For most moms this will be their first encounter with a Bluetooth equipped car and they therefore have nothing to compare it to. For them, not having to look at their phones to dial, put them up to their ear or take their eyes off the road is a fabulous thing and since they don't know how things "should be" they don't care because as the old saying goes, "ignorance is bliss". But this is actually what angers me the most because it doesn't have to be like this and it shouldn't have to be like this. I just paid $30,000 for a brand spanking new Sienna 2011 and it can't perform the simple task of synching my wife's address book from her iPhone to the car so she can can simply hold the talk button and say "Call Steve Smith on mobile/home/work etc.".


For more information on Bluetooth profiles you can check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluetooth_profile.

Toyota, I think you guys should seriously consider going through the list and reading it over very carefully. Then have one of your engineers pair his/her cell phone with the current system installed in the 2011 Sienna LE ($30,000) versus a 2010 Kia Forte ($13,000) and tell me which experience is more pleasant.

Worst Features

Bluetooth address book transfer!!! Bluetooth address book transfer!!! Bluetooth address book transfer!!!
Recommend (9) (3)

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Comments (2) Post a Comment
By simpleuser
on 03/29/12 13:04 PM (PDT)

Interesting. I have a Sinna XLE 2012 and still can't transfer my contacts from LG phone. The transfer keeps failing. Now I need to take the car to the dealership...

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By tprnj49
on 02/11/11 05:55 AM (PST)

Wish I had seen this before I got my 2011 LE. Bluetooth synch is a big deal for me & it was the major point to the salesman from the beginning. They do not have a clue about technology or options. I moved from a Ford that had Sync and was hooked on it but needed more space. Man am I disappointed now that I understand why I can't get my phone book to synch with the car. I do love the Sienna otherwise so far. If Ford had something comparable to the Sienna I probably would have stayed with Ford.

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