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2010 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD Review


The Auto Page
John Heilig

Model: 2010 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD
Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 266 hp @ 6200 rpm/245 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 201.0 x 77.4 x 68.9 in.
Tires: P225/60R17
Cargo volume: 43.6/94.5 cu. ft. (behind third row/behind second row)
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway/19.5 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 20.9 gal.
Sticker: $35,940 (includes $800 delivery, processing and handling fee and $4,855 in options, less a $2,200 Extra Value Package discount)

The Bottom Line: The Sienna is a typical Toyota product; it is a very nice, versatile package with some great features.

We're a family that grew up with a full-size Chevrolet van. As a result, my wife and children never really learned how to pack efficiently, although there have been some exceptions. So any time I'm asked to test drive a van of any size, it brings back memories.

The Toyota Sienna brought back a lot of memories. Even though it's a good deal smaller than our Chevy, we still carried three children back from our daughter's house for a week with Grandma and Grandpa. Of course we had all their luggage as well as our own to carry, as well as all the paraphernalia that three children need for a week's stay.

I was pleasantly surprised to note that all the luggage f it nicely behind the third row seats. there's a well back there that adds a couple of cubic feet to the cargo capacity (43.6 with the third row seats up, 94.5 with them down). Since we had only one passenger in the third row bench seat, we folded the 60 side of the 60/40 folding seat forward to give us extra room. It also provided a table for some games that were brought along.

A feature I also liked, but didn't take advantage of, was the removable center console. In our van we had no center console, so we could move easily from the front seats to the back of the van. While the console is useful, it's also nice to be able to remove it for easier movement.

My wife commented on the beautiful well-designed interior. It's also functional with sensible placement of cup holders (including one hidden in the dash itself). There's a double glove box and a nice cubby in the center stack that's ideal for cell phones or iPods. The top of the center console has a small clipboard and a place to put a pen. She also liked the purse clip that folds out from the center stack.

The children liked the fact that the windows in the sliding doors "rolled" down. They also liked the fact that they could reach the rear temperature control, although we soon discovered that they had the temperature way too high for a hot summer day.

They also took advantage of the sunshade in the back that kept the passenger back there cool. The rear vent windows can also fold out from a switch in the cockpit.

The HVAC "mistakes" in the back can be overridden in the front. We liked the efficiency of the cooling on some really hot days when the exterior temperature readout went into three digits.

In general, the HVAC system acquitted itself well in some blistering heat.

There's even a "spy mirror" where the sunglass holder normally is placed so that we could check the grandchildren in the back. Now why didn't we have one of those with our kids?

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 266 horsepower, more than enough for the Sienna. The engine drove all four wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel drive feature is probably the cause of the disappointing 19.5 mpg test mileage.

The ride is smooth, thanks to the long 119.3-inch wheelbase. Visibility all around is very good with no serious blind spots.

This was my first experience with Bluetooth, and once I figured out how to make it work, it worked beautifully. This is a great technology for hands-free cell phone use.

We also had sonar alerts to warn the driver if he or she was getting too close to cars in front, in the rear, or at the side. The sonar can be turned off, but we missed the comforting "beep" when it was off.

There are those who say that minivans are too large, and that a family needs no more than a compact sedan. Our family, however, thinks no vehicle is too large, and they can fill up anything you choose to throw at them. While my wife and I both remember family vacations with nothing more than a sedan, traveling is much better in a great family "car" like the Toyota Sienna minivan.

© 2009 The Auto Page Syndicate