Do You Need an All-Wheel Drive Minivan?


The main mission of a minivan is to haul people, more so than even the more popular SUVs that account for more than 30 percent of new-vehicle sales.

Yet, whereas more than half of SUVs are equipped with all- or four-wheel drive, Toyota stands alone among minivan manufacturers in offering all-wheel drive, which is installed on about 17 percent of Siennas sold in the U.S. In contrast, about 60 percent of Toyota Highlander SUVs are equipped with all-wheel drive.

2014 Toyota Sienna Review

That percentage apparently is enough to satisfy the bean counters at Toyota, which has the all-wheel-drive minivan niche all to itself; the Sienna's main rivals seem to be in no hurry to try to crash that party.

By Rick Popely | February 5, 2014 | Comments (8)

Recall Alert: 2004-2005, 2007-2009 Toyota Sienna


Vehicles Affected: Approximately 615,000 Sienna minivans from the 2004-05 and 2007-09 model years. 

The Problem: Damage to the shift-lock solenoid could cause the shift lever to fail, allowing it to be moved out of the Park position without the driver pressing the brake pedal. If this happens, the van could roll away.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace affected shift-lock solenoids for free.

What Owners Should Do: Toyota will notify owners via registered mail. Owners can call the automaker at 800-331-4331 or visit for more information.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | September 27, 2013 | Comments (2) Reviews the 2013 Toyota Sienna


The 2013 Toyota Sienna succeeds in some meat-and-potatoes-minivan areas: It's spacious, comfortable and has seating for up to eight passengers. Its standard 3.5-liter V-6 will get you up to speed quickly when you're running late for your soccer-practice pickup. However, reviewer Jennifer Geiger says some subpar cabin materials, tricky-to-access rear rows and a noisy powertrain give up ground to competitors. That's especially true if you're spending more than $47,000 to load up on options, like Geiger's test model. Your dollar will stretch further elsewhere.

2013 Toyota Sienna Review

By Matt Schmitz | May 29, 2013 | Comments (7)

2013 Toyota Sienna: Car Seat Check

Toyota's minivan was redesigned for 2011 and not much has changed since then. We tested a top-line version of the Sienna; the Limited has seats for seven on standard second-row captain's chairs and a third-row bench seat. Click here to read how a Sienna with a second-row bench seat handled child-safety seats. In both rows, there was plenty of room for our car seats and plenty of bells and whistles to keep both Mom and the kids happy.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.

By Jennifer Geiger | May 2, 2013 | Comments (7)

2013 Toyota Sienna Video

Resist all you will, but you just won't find this sort of family-friendly versatility and comfort in a crossover. reviewer Jennifer Geiger gives the 2013 Toyota Sienna high marks for its cushy seats, abundant passenger room, surprisingly peppy acceleration and class-leading maneuverability. That's in addition to lots of cool features, particularly a second-row retractable footrest that turns the seat into a veritable La-Z-Boy. Still, a noisy V-6 engine and difficult seat-removal process for maximizing cargo space are big annoyances.

Read More About the Toyota Sienna

Which Cars Fit Three Car Seats?
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By Matt Schmitz | April 30, 2013 | Comments (1)

Toyota Recalls 600,000 Sienna Minivans

Recalls continue to mount for Toyota. This time, the automaker is recalling 600,000 Sienna minivans from the 1998 to 2010 model years because the cable that holds tight the spare tire can rust and break, allowing the tire to fall off the minivan and onto the road. Toyota says that it has no knowledge of injuries or accidents because of the defect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received six complaints of spare tires falling off of Siennas.

The recall is for two-wheel-drive Siennas in 20 “cold-climate” states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia, and in the District of Columbia.

By Patrick Olsen | April 17, 2010 | Comments (9) Podcast: 2011 Sienna, 2010 Cadillac CTS Wagon

If you haven’t overdosed on Toyota Sienna coverage yet, then this podcast is for you. editors Kelsey Mays, David Thomas and Joe Wiesenfelder discuss the all-new minivan as well as Cadillac’s new CTS Sport Wagon and the Lexus RX 450h. Surprisingly, there are mixed opinions on all three.

You can listen to the podcast by hitting the play button below or download it via iTunes here. Podcast #35

By David Thomas | December 21, 2009 | Comments (1)

Most 2011 Toyota Siennas Get Price Hike

Toyota might say the 2011 Sienna minivan costs less than the 2010, but this year’s base model comes standard with a four-cylinder versus last year’s V-6, and the 2011 starts at $24,260 versus $24,540 for the 2010 base model. None of the prices include an $800 destination charge.

Every other trim level gets a noticeable increase.

If you want all-wheel drive, you have to select the LE trim level with the V-6 engine, and it starts at $31,130 for 2011 compared with the $29,235 for the identical trim level last year.

We’re not saying the price increases aren’t justified by the all-new design and new standard features, which include three-zone air conditioning, cruise control, windshield deicer and a six-speed automatic transmission. We just don’t like to be told something costs less when all things aren’t equal.

The all-new SE trim level with a sport-tuned suspension and dark, mesh grille starts at $30,550. All trim level pricing is listed below. V-6 models arrive at dealers in February, with four-cylinders arriving in April.
Check out more Sienna coverage here.
By David Thomas | December 21, 2009 | Comments (0)

2011 Toyota Sienna Photo Gallery

Earlier this morning, reviewer Kelsey Mays delivered a terrific report on how the 2011 Toyota Sienna handles itself on the road. Then we got his video from the streets of California. But for a lot of folks, pictures say even more about a new model. Below is our photo gallery from Mays’ test drive — 52 of them to be exact.
By David Thomas | December 18, 2009 | Comments (6)

2011 Toyota Sienna: First Drive

No stranger to minivans, Toyota has thrown a lot of darts at the board with the redesigned 2011 Sienna. Features run the gamut from functional — the Sienna is the only minivan with optional all-wheel drive and is the first in a long while to offer a four-cylinder engine — to pie-in-the-sky: Loaded models can have dual moonroofs and rear lounge seats with footrests. There’s even a sport-tuned Sienna SE for parents inclined to carve corners en route to Sally’s slumber party.
It’s a good thing the minivan behind the frills stands up. Though flawed in a couple key respects, the Sienna’s fundamentals are sound. Toyota seems to think the minivan segment is headed for a rebirth. Sales indicate that the top players in the minivan segment are holding their own with three-row crossovers.

I’m skeptical a larger surge is in the cards. However, if you’re not high-tailing it out for a crossover, this particular minivan deserves a look. We had a chance to drive the Sienna in California, and we’ll have full review of the model, which hits dealerships in February, up on Monday, including our impressions of the sport-tuned Sienna SE. Below is an early take on that review. We'll have a full photo gallery and video tomorrow.
By Kelsey Mays | December 17, 2009 | Comments (14)

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