- Written by Wilson Calvert
What it is: Toyota's popular minivan, the Sienna, is back and taking names in its all-new 2011 iteration. The minivan has been looked down upon in recent years by trendy moms looking to the crossover utility vehicle segment for their child-toting needs. Toyota is trying to change our minds with fun new ad campaigns promoting the Sienna as a "Swagger Wagon" and hip looking young parents gushing about the appearance, luxury and even sportiness of the Sienna. Besides revised visuals, Toyota also offers a new 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine that provides 19 mpg city and 24 highway mpg that provided plenty of pep to get the 8-passenger van going. The ride quality was a great balance between smooth and having good control with the steering. Most of the time when you drive a van, it feels like there is a disconnect or "floating" feeling with the steering wheel, but the Sienna felt right on, more like a sporty sedan than a minivan. This is probably no accident as Toyota no offers an SE trim with a much sportier appearance by changing bodywork, bigger wheels and updated brake lights. They also added in a sportier suspension to the SE trim for the driving enthusiast that is locked into choosing a minivan in the form of several school-dwelling money pits. (To be fair, I have no children, so they might actually be worth it). Price: Starts at $24,560 for "Sienna" trim and goes up to $38,800 for the Limited trim. $29,503.00 as tested. Upsides: Revised appearance and great gas mileage. Comfy for up to 8 occupants. Downsides: Second row doesn't fold flat and that's about it. To be fair, the second row seat is comfier than the ones that fold flat from other manufacturers. Summary: I held high expectations for the "Swagger Wagon" and I wasn't disappointed. Toyota proves again why they sell 100,000 minivans year-in and year-out. They offer a very attractive package for the parent with lots of kids and stuff to haul around at a price point that is right in line with their competitors. The Sienna was enjoyable to drive and it might even be possible that Toyota has made the minivan cool again.