POSTED: Monday, April 26, 2010 - 7:42pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 26, 2010 - 7:53pm
The Toyota Sienna is a great minivan. I know, that’s like saying great root canal. But the fact is, if you are looking for practicality and quality, it’s one of the league leaders.
That wasn’t always so. Until 1999, Toyota offered up the Previa in the minivan segment, a sort of mid-engined, egg-shaped piece of silliness that looked like the girlfriend of an AMC Pacer.
But then they went conventional and began to give the segment leading Chrysler products a run for their money. Now, along with the Honda Odyssey, these three vehicles are the best of the best.
Inside the Sienna it is all about space and storage. The two rear seats fold cleverly into a well in the floor that serves for storage when they are upright. The design is futuristic but won’t make you feel like the space shuttle commander. Twin powered sliding doors have become essential in this segment and they are handy when you have an armload of groceries or toddlers and need to dive in out of the rain.
Under the hood nestles a 2.7-liter inline four cylinder engine with 187 hardworking horsepower. Now the whole thing weighs over 4000 pounds, so the 19 miles per gallon city and 26 highway make sense. Nothing is free including weight.
But if you want to carry 7 people comfortably, along with their collective stuff, this is a great vehicle for the job. Starting at just over 25-grand, you can take the price of the Sienna north of 40K and to Lexus levels of luxury, if that’s your idea of a minivan.
It isn’t mine, but then again, having now dutifully tested the Sienna for my friends at Toyota, I await my reward, a little Lexus 250 sports sedan. I mean, fair is fair.