By Cars.com EditorsDecember 18, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Toyota Sienna. It competes with the Chrysler Town & Country and Honda Odyssey.
(upbeat music) <v Narrator>Cars.com auto reviews. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com.
The Minivan segment is something of a shrinking one, but Toyota thinks it's set to see a comeback and it hopes it can snag a bigger chunk of those buyers with its redesigned 2011 Sienna. We have a video from the LA auto show where this was introduced, talking about some of the Minivan's interior aspects. We're going to take you through some of our initial driving impressions and talk about cargo room. Toyota will offer the outgoing Sienna's 3.5 liter V6. There's also going to be a four-cylinder engine, which is pretty rare for a Minivan. We've driven both of them. They matched to a six speed automatic transmission, which kind of has a tendency to hunt for gears a little bit. Fortunately, the V6 has enough power to overcome that. There's really passing power at any speed and the engine has a nice early exhaust node. Quicker, I think than the 3.5 liter Honda Odyssey. As quick, as perhaps the four liter Chrysler Town and Country. The four-cylinder comes from the Highlander Crossover and the Venza wagon. Actually, there's enough power around town. It's a burly little engine. It does sound a little raspier, not quite as refined as you're revving hard. The only time we really felt like we wanted more power though, was on the highway where high speed 60-70 miles per hour passing kind of runs the engine out of steam. Like in the last Sienna, ride quality here is really excellent. A few things we aren't crazy about. The brake pedal does seem a bit mushy. And we did notice some road noise on the highway. There also seems to be a little bit too much power steering assist at highway speeds. The steering feels a little bit loose. It takes a few too many corrections to kind of stay on course. There's a sport tuned S E model, which has different steering tuning. And that might address some of those issues. Third row seats fold flat into the floor. No magic there. Minivan seats have been doing this for quite a while but we are impressed by how well these do them. I mean, this is all pretty easy. There you go, you got a flat load floor. If you need more cargo room, the second row seats go up like this and they lock into place and sort of a forward anchored position. They're also removable. Toyota says maximum cargo volume is about 150 cubic feet. It's pretty impressive, even for a Minivan. So the Sienna comes through on utility and it remains one of the more comfortable minivans out there. If you can get past the stigma of owning a quintessential Mom mobile, it certainly is worth a look. [Narrator} For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.