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2013 Toyota Sienna Overview
Toyota finally drops the dud engine for 2013, leaving the 3.5-liter V6 with better highway economy as the sole engine choice for this optionally 8-passenger minivan. The trim lineup remains the same—Base, LE, SE, XLE and Limited—but XLE and Limited trims gain a blind-spot warning system, while the LE moves a bit more upmarket with additions like easy-clean fabric upholstery, a power driver's seat and tri-zone automatic climate control. I would say dropping the inline 4-cylinder answered some complaints if anyone bought one, but with the exception of the blind-spot warning system becoming standard to relieve the Sienna's numerous black holes of visibility, none of these changes address ongoing driver concerns.
Typical of Toyota, a few drivers are disappointed in the build quality, since some Sienna minivans seem to leave the line with a loose nut or two, causing a rattle in the rear. These manufacturing inconsistencies are not especially common, but common enough to make you want to thoroughly test-drive your Sienna before buying it. Next to that the navigation system gathers the most complaints for being finicky, unintuitive and constantly picking the scenic route. Sometimes the button you expect is available, sometimes it's greyed out, and don't expect the nav system to turn down the radio before trying to talk at you like systems nearly a decade older. Toyota's Entune gets no praise either, with its small buttons and glitchy behavior, especially when trying to import contacts.
That said, very few drivers would say they're disappointed in their Sienna purchase, with the vast majority of reviews being favorable. Fuel economy with the V6's 266 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque in real life is the advertised 18 mpg city/25 highway, and sometimes better, which you can immediately determine from the proven-accurate dash readout. The entertainment systems get high marks, and though there is a bit more road and wind noise than would suit the taste of some, the cabin is generally referred to as quiet and comfortable. The Sienna's driving dynamics won't win any awards with its numb steering feel, but drivers find it nimble enough and the SE offers a recalibrated suspension for anyone desiring a bit more fun.
LE, XLE and Limited trims are available with all-wheel drive (AWD) as opposed to the default front-wheel drive, both systems routing power through a very intelligent 6-speed automatic transmission that almost made the old inline-4 capable of climbing hills with a full load. LE and XLE models are available in 7-passenger or 8-passenger forms, while the Base and Limited include only 7 seats, with the SE a dedicated 8-person hauler.
You can safely expect every Sienna to include alloy wheels, power-down windows, tri-zone air-conditioning, full power accessories, a telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a stereo with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. At the top of the line you will find features like power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, dual sunroofs, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, two-tone leather upholstery, driver memory, leather-and-wood steering wheel, second-row lounge seats, powered split-folding third row and a 10-speaker JBL Surround Sound system standard. Dare to dream big with options like xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, a rear DVD entertainment system capable of displaying 2 different things at once and that navigation system with a back-up camera, but note that not all options are available to all trims.
by Patricia Mayo
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