Her and His Reviews

September 2012

2012 Toyota Sienna SE 3.5L

There are always two sides to everything, right? Well, the truth is there are many more than that! To keep our car reviews innovative and well-rounded, we are providing you with not just one, but two points of view on the same exact vehicle – Her and His perspectives.

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate,women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

MSRP: $35,659 MSRP: $35,659
Swagger wagon, indeed. This vehicle sports a 3.5 liter, six cylinder engines and there is nothing shy about it with 266 horsepower. Excellent pick up, great acceleration and superior comfort for the 'Queen of Mommy Like Minivans.' The AWD optimizes drivability and safety in all weather conditions. Riding high on 19" alloy wheels. Surprisingly brisk with the 3.5 liter V-6. It really could scoot on the highway. Ride and handling are all top notch, particularly for a minivan. One very important thing to know about the SE: It feels dramatically different from the other Siennas, because it has a sports-tuned suspension, and heavier, sharper steering that feels much more firm and centered than in the other models. The SE only comes with the 3.5 liter V6 that produces 266 horsepower, and carries a mileage rating of 18/25. The overall result is acceleration that feels more responsive and handling that feels far crisper than you'd expect in a Sienna. The Sienna SE is the minivan of choice for those who thought they'd never like or want a minivan.
Fuel Economy
18 city and 25 highway. 18/25. Annual fuel cost is listed as $2650, and the feds say you'll spend $650 more in fuel costs over five years compared to the average new vehicle.
The Car
The Sienna is a great buy. Recommended by the major reporting companies, this minivan is excellent in so many categories. The Sienna is strong in comfort in all areas, including the 2nd row captain's chairs which recline, and, get this - has foot rests to reduce leg fatigue on longer trips. I also score it high in entertainment value showcasing split view DVD's that will mitigate the ?when will we be there' call outs from the back of the vehicle. Not able to get a price on the 16+" screens, so many children and young people have their own iPods and hand held devices ? even cell phones?I wonder if the DVD's are necessary. Probably if you have toddlers. Roominess for gear and cargo is impressive. The third row which secures the 7th and 8th seat stow away easily. The drivers and passenger's part of the car ? are roomy and like all the adjustability to get to that ?perfect' fit, so driving, and being in the driver's seat, suits the individual, regardless of one's size. When hands are full, the ability to push a button to open/close the two side doors or the trunk is effortless. The Sienna has plenty of things to recommend it. I was very impressed by the greatly upgraded quality of the materials in the interior. There were striking looking dark charcoal "sport fabric" seats with white stitching around the edges, and there was plenty of room in the glove boxes?the top one had nicely divided spaces and the bottom one was cavernous. The interior even looks hand-crafted to some degree, especially the dash, which has some tasteful curves and character lines and well-done chrome bezels around gauges and other places, all of which help the panel to look interesting rather than one long slab of beige. There was also a ton of room everywhere for stretch out space, and the second row seat cushions tip up and the whole seat moves all the way forward, making entry into the third row a snap. Too, when the third row seat is upright, you have a huge storage compartment instead, and you can get covers and dividers as accessories to make use of this space effectively. With the Sienna SE, there's also carbon fiber trim, a leather trimmed steering wheel and black lettered on white background gauges to add to the sporty effect. Outside, you get smoked LED trimmed taillights that really look sharp and expensive, and a honey-combed, performance oriented grille and front end. If I was buying a Sienna?and it's a terrific enough product that it would have to go on my "consider" list?I'd go with the SE hands-down because it's more involving, is absolutely beautiful, and doesn't have the LE's wood trim inside. But to each his or her own. You can't really lose either way.
The Sienna gets good or excellent safety scores from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are tons of safety features including 4 wheel Anti-Lock Brakes, Disc Brakes, Passenger Air Bags, Side/Rear and Head Air Bags, including Driver's knees airbag. Active headrests and LATCH with anchors for children. Star Safety system enhanced vehicle stability control and traction control, anti-lock brakes,, electronic brake force distribution, lots of air bags, etc.
For the many folks in the car and their temperature preferences, the Sienna has a tri-zone climate control ? very nice, so all can self regulate. The dual sliding doors are a plus for in and out. Rear view camera assist. Power lift gate, adjustable seating and telescoping steering wheel. AM/FM/ MP3 player and 6 jam speakers. Also a 3 month trial with SIRIUS radio. Our Sienna SE topped out in price at about $35,000, and came with a long list of standard equipment including traction and stability control, three-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories like steering, brakes, windows and the like, cruise control, dual power sliding side doors and power lift gate, rear spoiler, perforated leather steering wheel with tilt-telescoping feature, anti-lock brakes and a host of other items.
Aesthetics & Styling
In a downsized minivan market, the Sienna is a styler. How else would it be tagged 'Swagger Wagon'? The roomy and very comfortable interior, the organization of the dash, and the spaciousness make it a winner in the class. In case you haven't noticed, the Sienna is one good looking minivan?hands down, the best looker in the segment. And the SE is the best looking Sienna of them all. It's a bit lower than the others, has a ground effects body kit, and really butch-looking smoked aluminum wheels. Our tester was done in a dark turquoise Blue shade called south Pacific Pearl. Color does matter on the Sienna SE?I'd strongly recommend a dark rich shade like the South Pacific Pearl or Black or Predawn Gray Mica. Other shades save for the red tend to look a bit washed out
3 years, 36,000 basic warranty. 3 years, 36,000 basic warranty.