The 2012 Toyota Sienna received one of the highest Total Car Scores in the Minivan category. This heavyweight contender has remained near the top of this segment since its inception almost 15 years ago.
The Sienna received an abundance of positive feedback centered around three main characteristics: its flexibility of seven- or eight-passenger seating, its all-wheel-drive capabilities (unique to the minivan segment), and its spirited V6 engine offering. Reviewers also noted the Sienna’s smooth ride, roomy and quiet cabin, abundance of cargo space and long list of innovative features. Its versatile second and third row configurations were also marked as pluses.
However, the Sienna was criticized for lackluster handling and low fuel economy when equipped with a V6 and all-wheel-drive. And its four-cylinder engine is generally considered underpowered and a bit noisy during hard acceleration. Other negatives were the Sienna’s use of some cheap interior plastics and the lack of fold-away second-row seats. One reviewer called the Sienna too pricey (despite its luxury amenities) in its most uplevel trim.
The Toyota Sienna was completely redesign for the prior model year. Changes for 2012 are specific to its XLE model, which receives a few new standard features like a power-adjustable front passenger seat.
The 2012 Toyota Sienna is a seven- or eight-passenger, front- or all-wheel-drive minivan available in five trim levels: base, LE, SE, XLE and Limited.
The seven-passenger-only base trim brings standard 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, three-zone air conditioning, a telescoping steering and a four-speaker stereo with CD and auxiliary input.
Moving up the chain, the seven- or eight-passenger LE provides standard eight-way manually-adjustable driver seat, heated exterior mirrors and overhead consoles. When equipped with the a V6 engine, the LE upgrades with power-sliding doors, a roof rack, power lumbar adjustments for the front seat, a rear-view camera and a six-speaker stereo with USB/iPod connectivity.
The eight-passenger-only SE adds a firmer suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels and some sporty body upgrades. Also standard is a power rear liftgate, leather steering wheel and tri-zone climate control.
The seven- or eight-passenger XLE is basically the LE with some higher-end amenities like a sunroof, leather upholstery, automatic headlights and heated, power-adjustable front seats.
At the top of the model range is the seven-passenger Limited trim which comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, dual sunroofs, push-button start, parking sensors, power-folding third-row and a premium 10-speaker audio system.
Stand-alone and packaged options across the Sienna line include such features as xenon headlights, navigation and a rear DVD system.
In terms of safety, all Siennas are equipped with standard ABS, stability control and seven airbags including three-row head curtains and one at the driver’s knee. The Sienna received very high crash test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the highest possible ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
The Sienna is powered by one of two engines: a 2.7-liter inline-4 producing 187 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque or a 3.5-liter V6 making 266 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are managed by a six-speed automatic transmission and feed either the front or all wheels, depending on the model.
EPA-fuel economy for the four-cylinder equipped Sienna is 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined. The V6 ratings are almost identical at 18/25/21. All-wheel drive models yield 17/23/19.
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