Toyota revises the Sienna minivan to emphasize tech and sportiness.
Tags:A Review of 2011 Toyota Sienna Minivan,2011 car reviews,2011 car tech,2011 toyota models,2011 Toyota Sienna Car Review,car tech innovations,2010 detroit auto show,2011 Toyota Sienna Review
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2011 Toyota Sienna Review
I know. I know. It bothers you, Cooley in a minivan. Doesn't make me real comfortable either, but we are in the new Sienna, which has got a pretty good load of tech starting with that thing. That's a monitor that is 16.4 inches diagonal, and, like, what is that? Like a 20 by 9 ratio or something. It's huge. The reason it looks like that is you can put a single source up there, really kind of stretched I would imagine, but big enough for even the third row to see, or you can run two different sources into that, and it will electronically bifurcate into source one and source two. So it's, like, a little control room. You can have two sources up at once, and be watching the one you’ve got audio to or glancing it, the one that's being played to someone else. I've never seen that before in a car.
Now, these are available with seven or eight seats. I'm in an eight-seat configuration here, and they have all kinds of ways to reconfigure these, really pushing the whole seating flexibility thing to its nth degree. Another visual technology like that is a panoramic rearview camera, and it's going to give you a 180 view out the back, and it will also do auto sensing of objects you're about to hit, highlight those on the screen when you're in reverse. Plus, this car has two screens in front. Notice the one for the main head unit, your typical NAV space, but also another helper screen above that in the eyebrow of the dash, which will be there on any trim of Sienna to give you at least some kind of LCD interface with the vehicle.
Now, a 2.7 liter inline four is the base engine on one of these. Not much to get excited about there, but if you go to the EC, you not only get the upgraded three and a half liter V6 but also a sportier lowered suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, and different paint and trim to kind of make it look like a bad boy. You know, it's not exactly going to be your canyon carver, but if you're stuck having to get a minivan in your life, better than not trying, right?
No pricing yet on the new Sienna, but it's set to come out February of 2010. And check this out. Toyota is the first automaker to put what they call the auto access seat into a vehicle from the factory. Now, I'm just holding down one button here, and it's actually a built-in seat with its own power mechanism. The arms, the rails, the whole thing that operates this seat, you saw how we turn the corner. It's bringing me out, and it's going to lower down as low as 19 inches seat height. This is not for the profoundly disabled person. It's somewhere in the middle. For a person who needs some help getting in and out of the vehicle, but it doesn't replace the vehicles that have an aftermarket ramp system installed.
Another nicety is this key fob. Again, a nice factory-looking piece that allows you to wirelessly operate this, whether you're the helper or the assistant of the person, or if they just want to have it in their own pocket, it mirrors what happens here on the seat, but again, it allows someone else to get in there and help operate this whole mechanism. Now, this is going to be an option on Siennas, just the standard Sienna lineup. The SE or the XLE, it'll be coming out in March. The pricing is not set yet, but it definitely bridges an interesting gap. For the first time an automaker offering assistance like this that can be had right alongside all the other factory features.