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By Jim Flammang
October 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview Toyota introduced the current, second-generation Sienna minivan for 2004. Not only was its power increased, but the redesigned Sienna could also have either front- or all-wheel drive.
Siennas are available in four trim levels: CE, LE, XLE and top-of-the-line XLE Limited. All-wheel drive is available on the three upper-end models. CE and LE minivans come in seven- or eight-passenger configurations.
Exterior styling updates for 2006 affect the grille, fog lamps, headlights and taillights. The XLE Limited model adds power-folding mirrors with puddle lamps and integrated turn signals. The available rear-seat entertainment system's screen now measures 9 inches. Optitron gauges are installed in LE, XLE and XLE Limited editions, and a power-folding third-row seat is optional in the XLE Limited.
Exterior Similar in appearance to prior models, the current Sienna rides a 119.3-inch wheelbase, measures 200 inches long overall and stands 68.9 inches tall. Standard wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, but the XLE Limited and models equipped with all-wheel drive have 17-inch tires.
Interior Two second-row seating choices are available. The seven-passenger configuration features second-row captain's chairs; the passenger-side chair can be moved side to side, permitting either a bench or bucket seat arrangement. For eight-passenger seating, CE and LE models can be equipped with a three-way split-folding bench seat in the second row. In eight-passenger Siennas, a "Front and Center" middle seat can move nearly 13 inches closer to the front seats, making infants in child-safety seats more accessible. Cargo volume totals 148.9 cubic feet behind the front seats and 94.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
A standard 60/40 "Split & Stow" third-row bench seat folds flat into the floor. Either side of the seat can be stowed separately. Available equipment includes laser cruise control, a navigation system with a rearview camera, and sonar-based front and rear parking assistance.
Under the Hood Using new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, the Sienna's 3.3-liter V-6 produces 215 horsepower and 222 pounds-feet of torque. It teams with a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Safety Antilock brakes are standard, and Vehicle Stability Control with traction control is available. Side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags that cover all three rows of seats are standard.
Driving Impressions Toyota took its already-excellent minivan and turned it into a superior, well-executed people hauler. The easy-to-drive Sienna runs quietly and steers with a light touch. Acceleration from a standstill is energetic. The Sienna exhibits relatively prompt and effective responses for passing and merging.
Even though the suspension doesn't ignore bumps, few cause any bothersome commotion. The Sienna is stable on the highway and easy to keep on course. The brakes are easy to modulate, and this minivan corners adeptly.
The second-row seats are excellent, and the third row folds down easily. Tall rear head restraints impair visibility, but otherwise it's outstanding.