Toyota Sienna Overview
Five years ago, the Toyota Sienna was completely redesigned. Since then, we've consistently praised the Sienna as a top choice in its segment, deeming it luxurious, roomy and even Lexus-like in its refinement. The 2009 Toyota Sienna is unchanged from last year, but it remains one of the best minivans you can buy. Competition is fierce in this segment, but the Sienna boasts Toyota's familiar 3.5-liter V6, an all-star engine renowned for its smooth power and laudable fuel efficiency. Another feather in the Sienna's cap is the fact that it's currently the only minivan to offer all-wheel drive, so if you live where ice and snow are common, the Sienna has a decided advantage over its rivals.
In CE and LE trim, the Sienna can accommodate eight passengers; XLE and Limited models offer seating for seven, thanks to captain's chairs in the second row. The Limited version is especially luxurious, and it wouldn't be that far off to call it the Lexus of minivans. Gathered leather on the doors, comfortable captain's chairs, a JBL sound system and the option of adaptive cruise control almost make the Toyota logo on the steering wheel seem like a mistake. When it comes to handling prowess, the 2009 Toyota Sienna doesn't offer a particularly compelling package. Of course, no minivan is going to be purchased on the strength of its corner-carving ability, but the Sienna's archnemesis, the Honda Odyssey, happens to deliver responsive handling along with a reasonably smooth ride. The Kia Sedona/Hyundai Entourage twins are also satisfying alternatives, especially for those put off by Toyota's typically higher prices. But overall, the Sienna is an excellent van with many compelling features and options. We wouldn't buy another minivan without trying the Sienna first.
The 2009 Toyota Sienna minivan comes in four trim levels -- CE, LE, XLE and Limited. The CE and LE come in seven- and eight-passenger configurations; the upper trims are seven-passenger only. All but the CE offer a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive; the CE is front-wheel drive only. The base Sienna CE includes 16-inch steel wheels, dual sliding rear doors with power-down windows, front and rear air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, a telescoping steering wheel and full power accessories. The LE adds privacy and solar energy-absorbing glass, a roof rack, heated side mirrors, a CD changer, floor mats, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a folding front passenger seat, cruise control and upgraded instrumentation.
Options on the Toyota Sienna are grouped into packages that vary based on buying region, and they can get rather pricey. You'll need to study them carefully to ensure that the Sienna you pick has just what you want. Notable items include xenon headlights, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system (with a back-up camera), a power-folding third-row seat and a pair of 115-volt power outlets. A new package for the LE combines a JBL stereo with Bluetooth and rear-seat entertainment.