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2011 Toyota Sienna

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Got to see one of these in the flesh on Sunday, and overall I was pretty impressed, though I will point out some dislikes as well.

    Let's start with the bad.

    The mother-in-law seat is much smaller than the current 8 seat model. Sure the outer seats now have arm rests and are proper captain's chairs, but I'd say it's about 10" wide instead of the old 20" wide center seat. It's bigger than the Ody's, and they provide a great way to store it, but if you want 3 seats in the middle row all the time, the 2004-2010 model is better, period.

    We also lost the 3rd row tailgate feature. The way the seat folds has changed, and it's easier to lift and flip and fold it, but you can no longer make the seat face rearward and have the kids sit there during a tailgate party.

    The 3rd strike is the plastic dash - it's not as soft as the outgoing one. It looks OK but the tactile feel is not as plush, padded. Not a big deal, I suppose, but I like to point out any cost cutting I see.

    Now the good...

    People were crawling all over this van. If Toyota's rep is injured, you would never have known. You had to wait in line to sit in the driver's seat.

    Wow those 2nd row seats are cool. Nothing short of a Mayback or 750iL is better. Tall people won't fit, but your kids will nap there and not want to leave. Ever.

    All 2nd row models now get arm rests, too.

    The dash looks thoroughly modern. This is largely a matter of taste, but it does make the old one (and competitors) seem dated.

    The 16" DVD screen is clever because the low profile means it doesn't even block the rear view mirror as much.

    The 2nd row seats have MAJOR travel, they go way forward, and waaaaay back, basically touching the 3rd row seats. Very versatile.

    The 3rd row windows still open, unlike the Ody's which are fixed. Powered, too.

    I was pretty impressed. I've planned to keep my 2007 until the wheels fall off, and I don't think I'll change those plans, but if I were buying a new van today it would definitely make my short list.

    Honda will show a new Ody concept at the Chicago Auto Show so let's see how they respond. Here's my wish list for the updated Honda:

    * more HP
    * improved cylinder deactivation - on LX too
    * comfier 8th seat
    * AWD option
    * 3rd row windows that open
    * tailgating 3rd row
    * 2nd row that flips forward
    * fold flat passenger seat (forgot to check that on 2011 Sienna)
    * more hidden sliding door tracks on exterior
  • What was the model type? XLE or Limited? Thank you.
  • Very nice review. Thanks. Did you get any sense on price? From the other forum $1500 ovrer invoice seems standard with a low of $500 with Costco.
  • You should write for one of the car magazines, as this was one of the best pros and cons reviews I've read in some time (thank-you!). I wanted to ask a few extra questions. 1) Is there a discernible difference in space between this and the outgoing model, particularly between front seat passengers? 2) Did you sample the LE or XLE? 3) Was the USB port standard (very important for me since I can't seem to function without my iPod close at hand)? I still haven't seen the new model in my area and your sharing of information has been most helpful.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    Thanks for the review. I am looking forward to seeing one - hopefully this weekend there will be some in Chicagoland. I guess the new 2nd row seats don't really "flip over" like the old ones, but they just slide up quite far.

    Hopefully all the noise around Toyota will keep enough people on the sidelines that dealers don't get greedy with their pricing here early on.....I'll pay a fair premium over invoice (500-750 would be ideal) but I'm not going to be silly and pay sticker or sticker-plus. Plus Honda's timing is perfect - get the buzz out about the new Odyssey too so some people might decide to wait 6 months for it and not rush into the Sienna.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I sat in both. The XLE had the 8th seat. The Limited had the leg rests.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Nothing on pricing, and they were ill-prepared to even answer questions like what models get the backup cam and the power hatch.

    I think I knew more than they did about it.

    I did sign up for a brochure but they said it will take a couple of weeks! :mad:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I will try to answer all the questions, let's see.

    Space seemed fine. They had the 2nd row aaaaalllll the way back so it actually seemed bigger at first glance, but then I noticed the seat was touching the 3rd row.

    I'm guessing the "bridge", i.e. mother-in-law seat is about 10" wide now. But you have arm rests between the seats, so it's well partitioned.

    XLE, and a Limited. No LEs where there.

    Did not look for a USB port, sorry, I should have looked (Subaru Outback has one and the Legacy model does not - odd).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I didn't try the 2nd row flip-and-fold trick. So not sure on that. Keep in mind they had 4-5 people in the car at any given time. It was mobbed.

    I did get there early and took a look before everyone came. Should have spent more time. Forgot my camera (DOH) and my tape measure (double DOH).

    Access to the 3rd row is easy if you remove the middle seat, though. I guess it's like the Highlander's now.

    So you're going to the Chicago auto show? That's pretty soon, right?

    Be prepared to answer all the same questions about the new Ody (if you can get in it, I think it's just a concept).
  • mbengembenge Posts: 18
    It seems that dealers should give pretty good deals on these. It should substantially different from most new model premiers since they haven't been able to sell much of anything due to the recall. They (dealers and Toyota corp) should be itching to get these off the lot when they come in. I am a Toyota fan (owned five). I am really sorry they've had to go through this, but I sure hope to benefit. If anything I think we should see some really good incentives from go. Thoughts anyone?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think so, and here's why:

    The Sienna is one of the few models they have that they CAN sell.

    So someone comes in looking for a 3 row Highlander, and salesmen will probably try to put them in a Sienna.

    Buyers might get a Sienna because it's their only choice right now.

    That seems to be why 2010 prices have not dropped even though the 2011s are starting to arrive.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    Yeah but its a matter of days (hopefully) before all the cars are back on sale - its not months or years. And do you think there are THAT many people who just walk into a lot and say "give me a Toyota, any Toyota will do.....oh, you're not selling Camry's today, oh well, then give me a Sienna!"

    I'm not sure how much the recall thing will affect Sienna sales - I think initially the dealers will be "proud" and may try to hold to sticker, because all the people like us will be calling in excited to try out the new model. I think the prior point on incentives is, will Toyota decide to do a firm-wide "goodwill" move to kick up traffic once they've fixed their current issues - something to give people a more compelling reason to get back to the dealers TODAY - to get back on the proverbial bicycle after they've fallen off.....otherwise its just "OK so we fixed our gremlin accelerators, so we're happy to sell you a car again whenever you're ready......" not as compelling.

    Not certain they'll actually do an incentive but the above could be a rationale for one....
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Production is supposed to resume Feb. 8, so this would be a short-term phenomenon, either way.

    I don't think they'll convert people from a Camry to a Sienna, but from a 3-row Highlander to a Sienna is possible.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    Has anyone confirmed whether the whole Princeton plant is shut (ie no Siennas being born right now either??) There was mention or speculation of this somewhere on one of these boards. Or are they still running the Sienna line while the others are shut?
  • mbengembenge Posts: 18
    I was just thinking they might scoot up their incentives earlier. Typically Toyota has an incentive (esp. financing) on new models within 6 - 9 mos. (if memory serves)

    I don't think the slow down in sales is a matter of days - more like weeks. They have to fix all the cars either as they sell them or before offering them again. For sure you're not going to let someone test drive a car that might go careening out of control. I know that is not the true situation, but that is the perception.

    As a matter of discussion. IMHO a person buying a Camry is more likely to consider a Sienna. I would think most people considering a Highlander are specifically trying to avoid a minivan.

    That is a good point about the prices of the 2010's.

    I know this is all just speculating, but I like to getting other's perspectives. It will certainly help me if we considering getting into a Sienna earlier than later. We have specifically waited for the new one to come out. In the past we've always bought right at the end of a model iteration.
  • Hello All. I have been lurking for a while and have to say this is by far the most active forum community I have come across. I have founf myself here multiple times a day in the last few months.

    My wife and I are interested in the Sienna. With a 2nd child on the way it is time for me to turn in my Jeep Liberty for a more family friendly vehicle.

    One of the main reasons we are looking at the Sienna is the AWD. However I have read about a lot of issues/bad experiences with the run-flats. Is it possible to get the AWD without these?

    From what I have read on the forum about the run-flats the AWD does not come with a spare so I will need to purchase this as well. Do the AWD models have a space for the donut spare and could a full size spare fit there? I am used to my Jeep having full size spares and hated driving my wife's Camry with the donut after getting a flat on I95 in MD at 3AM with our 3 y.o. wide awake in the back.

    Thanks!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    AWD mandates run-flats.

    The driveshaft runs where the spare normally goes, so you'd have to toss the donut in the well in the back (there is still tons of room, but it may be a nuisance to keep moving it out of the way).

    Another option would be a FWD model with a set of snow tires.

    With 2 kids I strongly recommend power sliding doors. You will love them.
  • dbtdbt Posts: 298
    This generation of run-flats is supposed to be better, but you might want to wait to see longer term experience before going full in.

    In many instances, snow tires on FWD work just fine (and in some instances like stopping better than AWD on all-seasons), but it depends on your circumstances.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    This all reads as if having a flat tire is more common than my life's experience would indicate, my more recent life's experience, say the past 20 years, even moreso. Were it me I would go ahead and buy the F/awd model with the RFT's but once they wear out I would convert. Might not even make allowance for a spare.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    RFTs generally seem to be a pain - they're harder, stiffer, noisier, way more expensive, don't last nearly as long, and not nearly as available when you need them. If you're driving in the middle of Iowa and have a flat, good news you can drive 50 miles to the next little town, and then find out that the local bubba doesn't have your size of runflat anyway. In most instances, if you have a flat in a normal tire, you can drive on your spare and get it fixed. The only real benefit of a RFT is that you can avoid stopping on a highway in the cold and having to change to a spare. That is a benefit but unfortunately it comes with many "costs" too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    More unsprung weight as well.
  • Thanks for the information everyone. Makes me thinks that I don't need the AWD. My current Jeep Liberty is not even a full time AWD, just part time. This winter so far I think I have thrown it into AWD twice. I live in the suburbs of NYC and if it snows over night by the time I leave for work the streets are decent.

    I guess having the AWD was a nice "back of the mind" kinda thing know it was there if needed when in fact I don't use all that often. I don't like the way the Jeep handles when in AWD. Everything is stiff.

    I have another basic question I hope someone can assist with. I keep reading about cars that have a USB connection of mp3 players and most refer to the iPod. I own a Creative player. Can these connections scan any external drive, find music and what not, and play it with tag info and all or are they set to only recognize the iPods? I would think they would work with all types of external storage.

    Again, thanks everyone for your help.
  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I think a lot of people think they need AWD when they really don't. I drove my Sienna in Telluride Mountain Village in the winter time with FWD and stock tires and didn't have any problems. And I think the entire concept behind run-flat tires is flawed. Try to find a replacement when you need one. Chances are, you can't.
  • Just discovered it a few minutes ago; thought you folks might like to know. I'm stoked! See 'ya, gotta go check it out in depth! :)
  • mlocamloca Posts: 15
    I had a 2001 Town & Country and it was FWD and it was FINE. I live in NH and the thing made it through all kinds of weather. That said my wife now has an Audi Q7 and she feels much more confident in that she can get moving from a stop without wheel spin or concern. We are now looking at the 2011 Sienna and will get the AWD version just because we go skiing most weekends and live in the "tundra".

    I drive an AWD BMW with runflats. I have 42K miles on them which seems reasonable for a performance tire. The negative is when you hit a pothole it will take out fillings in that the sidewalls are so rigid. Not sure if that's the tires, the car, or both.

    If I were in MD I would get the FWD version. There are about 3 days/year you will need AWD and on those days I would not want my family on the road in that area (we lived in Northern VA for 5 years and they do not handle the snow all too well and ice is no match for AWD or FWD).

    Spare or no spare I think all cars should have runflats. They can save lives as they do not blow out like traditional tires. I would bet in 10 years it won't be an option. I would replace traditional tires with them regardless if the car has a spare tires. The risk of a blow out or changing a tire on the beltway is far worse than spending a couple hundred dollars more on a set of replacement tires. The price of run flats is not much more that a decent traditional tire. There are just no inexpensive run flats. For me it's about my family's safety which trumps ride quality, road noise, tread life, and price.
  • hogan773hogan773 Posts: 255
    "Spare or no spare I think all cars should have runflats. They can save lives as they do not blow out like traditional tires. I would bet in 10 years it won't be an option. I would replace traditional tires with them regardless if the car has a spare tires. The risk of a blow out or changing a tire on the beltway is far worse than spending a couple hundred dollars more on a set of replacement tires. The price of run flats is not much more that a decent traditional tire. There are just no inexpensive run flats. For me it's about my family's safety which trumps ride quality, road noise, tread life, and price. "

    Unless they improve the technology, I hope you're wrong. In certain situations they are better. But in all my years of driving, I've never had a tire "blow out" (knock on wood). I've had many slow leaks and nail punctures which can be fixed for $10-20 at any tire store. I'm not even sure they'll allow you to patch a runflat.

    Too expensive, not a comfy ride, bad treadwear. If they are so great, how come manufacturers are moving away from them in some cases (like making them OPTIONAL again in certain vehicles)? Remember the automatic seatbelts? What a great invention - makes sure people wear their seatbelt, and saves our lazy butts from having to extend our arms to reach a belt. Where are they now?
  • Hey, just found out that Toyota.com is finally up with 2011 Sienna info. Go and check it out...
  • Is it me or is the Build page wrong? Under the Trim section if you pick FWD you can only choose Sienna 7-Passenger, LE 8-passenger and Limited 7-passenger, no XLE trim can be chosen.

    Edit - you can pick the XLE 8 and it has the reduction in price since it is really FWD. You just have to not change the Drive.
  • mlocamloca Posts: 15
    Blow outs only kill 700 people per year and cause 25,000 injuries.

    Any technology that is embraced is improved upon. That's always been the case.

    In my analysis, which is a study of one, I am happy with them. They are no more expensive than a QUALITY traditional tire. I have over 40K miles on them on an AWD car. My guess is I get over 50K perhaps 60K miles which is good for any performance/sport tire. My wife's car, also AWD, got 20K miles out of regular tires which makes me think it's the car (heavy AWD cars eat tires alive). Not to mention the price of all season tires for upper end SUVs.

    I would guess manufacturers are making them an option to make more money which is fine. I know that a lot of cars that have them do not have space for spare tires which make them more of a necessity. It seems like the cars that have them are AWD vehicles which is an option onto itself. The space used for a spare is allocated to the rear drivetrain.

    The use of runflats in AWD vehicles makes it easier for the manufacturer to design the driveshaft. The additional weight of the AWD system is somewhat offset by the reduction of a spare tire, housing, jack, compartment to put it in etc.

    The concept of runflats makes perfect sense. In my experience they have been fine other than them being a little less forgiving on pot holes. In general runflats are used on AWD cars which emphatically wear quicker than FWD or RWD vehicles. Add to that the fact that AWD minivan's and SUV's are very heavy further decreases the life of the tires.

    Over 50K miles if a set of tires costs me an extra $25/tire or $100 it's a small price to pay to never have to have my wife (or myself) use a jack on the interstate or wait 45 minutes for roadside assistance.
  • My local dealer received its first 2 units today, an LE and XLE. And they are willing to deal on these Sienna despite the newness because their overall sales figures are dismal at best due to all this recall business. But I'm holding out for a fully-equipped Limited AWD.
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