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2011 Toyota Sienna LE Specification Suspension Rebates Color Price Top Speed and Review

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The minivan’s advent in the ‘80s was sparked by Chrysler’s Caravan and Voyager twins, and they were powered by a 4-cylinder engine. Young and not-so-young families scooped up the 7-passenger, K-car derived wagons like hot cakes, despite its 96-horsepower mill. Competitors soon followed.




And then, it happened. Like every other vehicle segment, minivans got bigger. And bigger. And bigger, to the point where even a 3.0-litre V6 engine seems overworked. Soccer Moms probably got tired of paying for $50 fill-ups, because the minivan had gotten big to the point where they could hardly be called mini. Oh yeah, we also fell in love with SUVs which, ironically, also required $50 fill-ups at the time.

And despite the size increase, a minivan still carries 7 passengers, sometimes 8. The latest-generation Sienna, introduced last year, is two feet longer than the ‘80s Toyota Van and one foot longer than the ‘90s Previa. One thing it has in common with its predecessors—at least the specific Sienna I’m driving this week—is that it’s powered by a 4-cylinder engine.

You’re kidding, you say? Nope. Obviously, a V6 is still the way to go for most buyers, but Toyota is trying to prove that you can get decent fuel economy out of a minivan. The 2.7-litre four develops 187 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, and it’s managed by a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode.

Off the cuff, I must say that I was expecting the 4,189-lb weight of our Sienna tester to take its toll on straight-line performance. I was wrong. We clocked a 0 to 100 km/h time of 8.5 seconds which, ironically, is quicker than the V6-powered minivans entered in the AJAC’s 2011 Car of the Year competition, the 248-hp Honda Odyssey (9.2) and the 266-hp Sienna (8.8).


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