2013 Toyota Sienna

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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2013 Toyota Sienna. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • Versatile second row
  • Cargo volume
  • Capable V-6

The Bad

  • Mushy brakes
  • Some cheap cabin materials
  • Indecisive transmission
  • Highway steering response
  • No second-row floor storage

Notable Features of the 2013 Toyota Sienna

  • Standard V-6 engine
  • four-cylinder no longer offered
  • Available AWD
  • Seats seven or eight
  • Available lounge-style second-row seats
  • Available 180-degree backup camera

2013 Toyota Sienna Road Test

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Jennifer Geiger

Toyota offers an expansive vehicle lineup that starts with the tiny Yaris and climbs to the humongous Land Cruiser. Plenty of its cars make good family-mobiles, but those looking for loads of room and features would be best served by its minivan, the Sienna.

The 2013 Toyota Sienna is roomy, comfortable and the only minivan to offer all-wheel drive, but its loud powertrain and unwieldy rear rows leave it behind its competitors.The 2013 Toyota Sienna comes in five trim levels: L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.

Not much has changed on the minivan since it was redesigned for 2011. For 2013, it loses its available four-cylinder engine and certain trims gain some new safety and convenience features. Compare the 2012 and 2013 model years here.

There are several major players in the minivan class, including the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan twins. Compare all four here.

Business in the Front, Party in the Back
The minivan is the automotive equivalent of the mullet: business in the front, party in the back. Toyota paid equal attention to both zones in the Sienna, but it's not enough to keep it competitive.

The first row has a really open and inviting feel, but the dashboard is an expansive sea of hard plastic. Some extra padding in key areas, like the door panel, would make it more elbow-friendly. A lot of rich-looking imitation-wood trim in my top-of-the-line Limited test car classed it up, but beware of much more plastic in lower trims. In fact, cab...

Toyota offers an expansive vehicle lineup that starts with the tiny Yaris and climbs to the humongous Land Cruiser. Plenty of its cars make good family-mobiles, but those looking for loads of room and features would be best served by its minivan, the Sienna.

The 2013 Toyota Sienna is roomy, comfortable and the only minivan to offer all-wheel drive, but its loud powertrain and unwieldy rear rows leave it behind its competitors.The 2013 Toyota Sienna comes in five trim levels: L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.

Not much has changed on the minivan since it was redesigned for 2011. For 2013, it loses its available four-cylinder engine and certain trims gain some new safety and convenience features. Compare the 2012 and 2013 model years here.

There are several major players in the minivan class, including the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan twins. Compare all four here.

Business in the Front, Party in the Back
The minivan is the automotive equivalent of the mullet: business in the front, party in the back. Toyota paid equal attention to both zones in the Sienna, but it's not enough to keep it competitive.

The first row has a really open and inviting feel, but the dashboard is an expansive sea of hard plastic. Some extra padding in key areas, like the door panel, would make it more elbow-friendly. A lot of rich-looking imitation-wood trim in my top-of-the-line Limited test car classed it up, but beware of much more plastic in lower trims. In fact, cabin chintziness was one reason why this generation of the Sienna finished at the bottom in Cars.com's 2011 Minivan Shootout.

The large dashboard also leaves plenty of room for button overload. Visually, the sweeping control panel has too many of them for my liking, but at least the climate controls are intuitive. The audio functions are incorporated into the small touch-screen, but they're easy to use too. The touch-screen itself reacts quickly to inputs, and the optional navigation system was a no-brainer to operate.

The first row's wide, long seats are really comfortable; they're both supportive and cushy, and leather is standard on higher trim levels. A couple different types of cloth, including a new stain-resistant one, are standard on lower trim levels.

The Sienna has seating for seven or eight on standard second-row buckets or a bench. The eight-passenger bench has a center-mounted jump seat that can be stowed in the cargo area when not in use, providing a configuration similar to the captain's chairs. Although the second-row captain's chairs are comfortable, they're a pain when it comes to anything other than sitting. They don't fold in a useful way: If frequent trips to Ikea are on your agenda, you'll have to remove the heavy seats to make room — and the multistep process is about as complicated as assembling cheap Swedish furniture. The second-row seats sit at one end of the flexibility spectrum, opposite Chrysler's Stow 'n Go buckets, which fold quickly and easily into the floor but are not as comfortable.

All minivans are roomy (check out the table below for specifics), but what keeps them competitive is how they adapt to a family's needs and the level of innovation taken to do so. Toyota's contribution is the Sienna's lounge seating, which is standard on Limited models. In reality, the seats are more gimmicky than useful. If you slide the captain's chairs all the way back (no one can sit behind you), you can pop out the leg rest and recline the seat. The van's engineers likely envisioned a living room recliner, but it feels more like a dentist's chair.

 

  2013
Chrysler Town & Country
2013 Toyota Sienna 2013
Honda Odyssey
Front headroom (in.) 39.8 41 39.7
Front legroom (in.) 40.7 40.5 40.9
Rear headroom (in.) 39.3 39.7 39.5
Rear legroom (in.) 36.5 37.6 40.9
Max. cargo volume (cu. ft.) 143.8 150 148.5
Cargo room behind 3rd row (cu. ft.) 33.0 39.1 38.4
Source: Manufacturers

 

Folding the Third Row — Let's Get Physical
Where the competition gets another leg up over the Sienna is cargo versatility. By the numbers, there's plenty of room, beating out the competition in both maximum cargo volume and room behind the third row. Accessing that space, however, is tougher. In fact, it's an aerobic workout.

Like the second row, folding the third is a multistep process, and the seats are pretty heavy; only front-drive Limited models offer a power-folding feature as standard. In my all-wheel-drive van, I had to get into the cargo area to get enough leverage to fold the seat — a first for me — and it wasn't pretty. First, pull a strap to fold each of the 60/40-split seatbacks down, then pull a handle to nestle the seatback and bottom into the cargo well. The result is a flat load floor, but the process requires much less sweat in competing vans.

Although the Sienna doesn't offer under-floor storage cubbies like the Chrysler vans, cargo room is pretty competitive. There's a huge, deep storage well behind the third row when the seats are raised, and all three rows are filled with cupholders (there are 10 to 12 total, depending on trim level) and small cubbies. The front row's sliding center console is particularly useful; it opens to reveal a couple of storage areas and cupholders and extends to reach the second row. For useful storage spaces, the Honda Odyssey is tough to beat. The winner of Cars.com's 2013 Family Car of the Year award has 15 bottle and cupholders, a pop-up trash-bag holder and a cubby that cools up to four drinks.

This Minivan Is Quick, Really
One of the 
Toyota Sienna's biggest strengths is its unexpected peppiness. Low-end power from a stop is strong, and it gathers steam steadily thanks to a prompt six-speed automatic. The standard 3.5-liter V6 has plenty of power for the highway too; the four-cylinder was dropped for 2013.

The Sienna is still the only minivan with available all-wheel drive — often on the must-have list for snow-belt families — but you'll pay for it at the pump. Two-wheel-drive versions are rated 18/25 mpg city/highway, and AWD V6 models at 16/23 mpg. The most efficient minivan in the class is the Odyssey, with an EPA rating of 19/28 mpg, though that's with the more expensive of two available transmissions, a six-speed automatic.

Although the Sienna's drivetrain is much smoother than the Town & Country's, it's also far less quiet. In fact, it may be louder than your kids. It's gruff at idle, and engine noise escalates intrusively. Wind and road noise, however, are well-checked (or maybe drowned out by the powertrain).

Ride and maneuverability are also high points. The Toyota Sienna feels pretty composed, with good bump absorption and road isolation. Despite its long length, it's also surprisingly maneuverable, thanks to one of the smallest turning circles in the class. Body lean is definitely present, especially on highway off-ramps, but handling never feels sloppy.

Features & Price
Base, front-wheel-drive models start just more than $27,000, and the line tops out around $42,000 for a Limited model with AWD (all prices include destination charges). My test car was decked out with options like a 16.4-inch dual-screen entertainment system, navigation and a wide-angle rearview camera; it checked in at $47,100. All trims come standard with tri-zone climate control and air conditioning.

If that sounds like a lot for a minivan, it is. Competitors offer expensive topline trims too — a Town & Country Limited starts just more than $41,000 and an Odyssey Touring tops $44,000 — but your dollar goes a little further with them. For example, the base Town & Country has standards that the base Sienna doesn't, including leather seats, a Stow 'n Go second row, a single-screen DVD player, a backup camera, power-adjustable pedals and power-sliding side doors. If your kids want DVD entertainment in the Sienna, you'll have to opt for a pricey package.

Safety
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the 
Toyota Sienna earned the top score, Good, in frontal, side-impact, rear-impact and roof-strength tests. The Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Honda Odyssey also received Good scores in all those tests. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testing, front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the 2013 Sienna earned an overall score of four out of five stars. The Odyssey has a five-star rating.

Toyota's minivan offers plenty of standard safety features, with a full complement of airbags including a driver's knee airbag and side curtain airbags that protect all three rows. A backup camera is standard on all but the base model; a wide-angle version is also available. The Limited trim now comes with a blind spot warning system; it's optional on other models.

Click here for a full list of safety features, and see how the Sienna accommodates child-safety seats in our Car Seat Check.

In the Market
At the beginning of this decade, crossovers threatened to turn minivan body-types into dinosaurs, but innovation has kept the segment alive and attractive to families — with little thanks to the Sienna. Toyota's minivan has plenty of room and is surprisingly quick, but engine noise and unwieldy seats are big annoyances. All minivans make parenting a little easier. The 
Toyota Sienna does, too, but in several ways, the competition does it better.

 

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2013 Sienna Video

Resist all you will, but you just won’t find this sort of family-friendly versatility and comfort in a crossover. Cars.com reviewer Jennifer Geiger gives the 2013 Toyota Sienna high marks for its cushy seats and abundant passenger room.

Latest 2013 Sienna Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Should have bought one a long time ago

by Kat 318 from Shreveport, LA on July 18, 2018

It took months convincing my husband that we needed a minivan, but now that we have a Sienna, there is no looking back. We both enjoy the smooth ride and drive, the gas mileage is much better than I ... Read full review

(5.0)

Amazing Minivan

by Gabe Parks from Austin, TX on June 20, 2018

This car is the most reliable car I have ever seen in my life. It can hold 8 people, so it can hold a lot of people for parties or for a big family. Overall, a wonderful purchase and is an amazing ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Toyota Sienna currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Toyota Sienna L V6 7 Passenger

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    24 months / 25,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Toyota

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, Carfax vehicle history report, travel protection and toll-free assistance line

  • Limited Warranty

    1 year / 12,000 miles

    Comprehensive: 12 months/12,000 miles from date of purchase. Powertrain: 7 years/100,000 miles from original in-service date ($50 deductible) Note: In AL, FL, GA, NC and SC, 7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty coverage begins Jan. 1 of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles. Hybrid: 8-year/100,000 mile warranty on Factory HV Battery for Toyota Hybrid Vehicles.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 85,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 160 point inspection and reconditioning.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sienna received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(second row)

A

Booster

(third row)

A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker