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2011 Toyota Sienna Preview

2011 Toyota Sienna Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Toyota SiennaCritical Knowledge:
  • All-new redesign for 2011
  • 266-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Available new 187-hp, 2.7-liter, inline 4-cylinder engine
  • Front- or all-wheel drive (FWD or AWD)
  • Standard 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Five different models
  • Up to 8-passenger seating configurations
  • New SE model tuned for a sporty ride
  • Available Dual View Entertainment Center with 16.4-inch widescreen image
  • Available Panorama Camera rear monitor
  • Available Pre-Collision System
  • In showrooms February 2010
Introduction
Toyota introduced its first minivan in 1984. It was a significant year in the history of the minivan; automakers were still attempting to perfect the new family-oriented class of vehicle. Ford and General Motors were promoting truck-like rear-wheel-drive vans, while Chrysler had just introduced the Plymouth Voyager lineup with its unique front-wheel-drive platform. In a markedly different move, Toyota mounted the engine in its van, the Previa, in the middle of the chassis. Although this design improved handling, it lent to very unconventional styling and, with only a 4-cylinder engine, many considered the van to be underpowered. The second-generation Toyota Previa, arriving in 1990, followed its predecessor's mid-engine configuration, but added an AWD powertrain and a supercharger to boost power (a 6-cylinder engine simply would not fit).

In 1998, Toyota switched to a conventional front-engine, front-wheel-drive platform with the introduction of the Sienna. Sharing platforms with the Camry sedan, the Sienna was still smaller than the competition's offerings, but it offered V-6 power for the first time. The second-generation Sienna arrived in 2004. Still built on a modified Camry platform, the Sienna was now "full size," holding up to 8 passengers and able to compete directly with offerings from Honda, GM and Chrysler. In addition to standard V-6 power and available AWD, the Sienna could be optioned with a flat-folding third row, retractable side windows, and voice-activated navigation.

The 2011 Toyota Sienna is the all-new third-generation model. Completely redesigned, it is decidedly more modern and advanced in appearance, with a sporty profile and distinctive windows, says the automaker. According to Toyota, the new Sienna features a low drag coefficient of .306 (impressive for a minivan) contributing to low cabin noise and improved fuel economy. The Sienna is offered with front- or all-wheel drive and a choice between 4- or 6-cylinder engines. With five available trim levels, including a sporty SE model for the first time, the 2011 Sienna is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms during February 2010.

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2011 Toyota SiennaModel Lineup
Toyota will offer five different models of the 2011 Sienna: Sienna Grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. The standard powerplant is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine, with a 3.5-liter V-6 optional. All models are offered with a FWD powertrain, but AWD is offered on the LE, XLE and Limited models equipped with the V-6 engine.

The Sienna Grade and LE models include standard cruise control, tri-zone air conditioning, 6-way adjustable driver's seat, power windows with jam protection, and an AM/FM/CD audio package with 4 speakers. Opting for the LE V-6 model adds dual power-sliding doors and a power rear liftgate. Other additional equipment includes a backup camera, electrochromatic rearview mirror with HomeLink, and Bluetooth audio streaming capabilities. The XLE builds on the LE by adding leather upholstery, moonroof, alarm system, keyless entry, and heated front seats among other items. The flagship Limited model is laden with standard equipment. It includes standard second-row lounge seating, dual moonroofs, HID headlamps, and rain-sensing wipers in the standard equipment list. Other options include a Pre-Collision System (PCS) and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

The SE model, new for 2011, is designed for those seeking a sportier ride. An aerodynamic package gives a more aggressive appearance to the front fascia, while side skirts give the appearance of a lowered suspension. The suspension has been tuned for quicker feedback and better handling, and the wheels are upgraded to 19-inch alloy as standard equipment. In addition, the rear tail lamps are smoked dark and the interior features special instrumentation and unique upholstery.

Standard safety equipment on all trim levels is Toyota's "Star Safety System," which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA), vehicle stability control (VSC), and traction control (TC). A tire-pressure-monitoring system (TPMS) is also standard.

2011 Toyota SiennaHardware
While the outgoing model was offered solely with a V-6 powerplant, the new 2011 Sienna is available with a choice of powerplants, including a new, fuel-efficient 4-cylinder model. The standard engine is a 187-hp, 2.7-liter 4-cylinder unit. According to Toyota, it earns EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The optional engine on the new Sienna is a 266-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with EPA-estimated ratings of 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The Sienna V-6 models are rated to tow 3500 pounds. All engines are mated to an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission.

Technology
Toyota is offering its innovative Dual View Entertainment Center on the 2011 Sienna. The system uses two displays, located side-by-side, to create a seamless 16.4-inch widescreen image from a single video source. Used in this manner, the screen is large enough to easily be viewed from the third row, Toyota says, and operation via remote control is possible from that seating position as well. The screen may be split into two separate screens for individual viewing, each offering inputs for separate sources such as a video game or a second DVD via auxiliary inputs.

The 2011 Sienna minivan is also available with a Panorama Camera rear monitor. The system offers two views behind the vehicle, including a 180-degree panoramic view. Back-up guides overlay the image on the screen, further assisting drivers when reversing or backing out of parking spaces or driveways.

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