2007 Sienna New Car Test Drive
A minivan might be the perfect vehicle for growing families, and the Toyota Sienna remains one of the best minivans going. It has all the elements that make minivans so useful, with good performance, an abundance of feature choices and excellent finish and function.
For 2007, the Sienna has more power than ever, with a larger, more powerful 3.5-liter V6 under its hood. The new engine gives the Sienna class-leading power, without a significant reduction in EPA mileage ratings. We found the 2007 Sienna offers impressive acceleration and just seems to have more driving excitement about it than last year's model.
The Sienna is big and roomy, but it doesn't drive bulky and it's not hard to park. It's smooth, responsive and quiet, and compared to sport-utility vehicles with comparable functional capability, it's more fuel efficient. It will switch from eight-passenger mini-bus to cargo hauler in minutes, with room for full sheets of plywood, 10-foot ladders and significantly more cargo space than most full-size SUVs. It will tow a family camper or small watercraft, and it doesn't look odd in the line for valet parking.
This family van is available in a wide range of trim-levels, making it accessible to a wider range of buyers. The base Sienna CE starts below $25,000 well equipped, with a full compliment of power features, air conditioning with separate controls front and rear, and a six-speaker CD stereo with a jack for MP3 players. The line-topping Limited easily breaks $40,000, equipped with leather memory seats, high-intensity headlights, active cruise control and rear-seat DVD entertainment. Yet all models have the same flexible seating arrangements, the powerful V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission.
Sienna also offers all the important safety equipment, and then some. Front passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin head protection airbags and a sophisticated anti-lock brake system are standard. Electronic stability control, or Vehicle Stability Control as Toyota calls it, is available on all models. An optional rear-view camera helps the driver spot objects or children behind the vehicle when backing up, augmenting an audible park-assist system. All-wheel drive is available for those who need it, though the standard front-drive Sienna works just fine for suburbia in the Snow Belt.
It's easy to identify traits that make the Sienna a great minivan, but some of its strengths are more subtle and less tangible. Small conveniences contribute, including hooks in the just the right place or seats that fold with one hand. Almost everything works as people expect, without struggle or confusion. The Sienna removes family transport as a source of stress and pleasantly fades into the background until its time to go.
The 2007 Toyota Sienna is offered in four trim levels, from relatively inexpensive to true luxury grade. Prices increase nearly $20,000 from bottom to top, and each model adds more comfort and convenience features. All share a new 266-hp 3.5-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission. All come configured for seven passengers, though the lower-trim CE and LE models are available with eight seats. All but the base CE are available with all-wheel drive.
The Sienna CE ($24,155) is the least expensive, but it comes with nearly all the essentials, including dual-zone (front and rear) air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors, sliding doors on both sides, keyless entry and AM/FM/cassette with six speakers, single CD and an auxiliary jack for MP3 players. The upholstery is vinyl/fabric combo and the wheels are 16-inch steel with hubcaps. Second-row captain's chairs and a 60/40 Split & Stow third-row bench seat are standard. A second-row three-place bench seat ($150) is optional on the CE and LE.
The Sienna LE ($25, 680) is the most popular model. It adds nicer cloth fabric and several key features, including audio controls on the steering wheel, cruise control, heated mirrors, a roof rack, privacy glass, illuminated vanity mirrors and a fold-flat front passenger seat.
The LE AWD ($29,295) adds Toyota's fulltime all-wheel-drive system. Like other all-wheel-drive Siennas, it comes with 17-inch alloy wheels and run-flat tires, rear disc brakes (instead of drums), and daylight running lights (DRLs).
Sienna XLE ($30,125) and XLE AWD ($33,330) are more luxurious still, with yet another level of upgraded fabric, standard power sliding side doors and power liftgate, tri-zone automatic climate control (driver, front passenger, and rear), an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, JBL Synthesis 360-watt audio with 10 speakers and a six-CD changer, rear seat audio controls, an overhead console with trip computer and universal garage-door opener, fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The front-drive XLE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels.
The Sienna Limited ($35,465) and Limited AWD ($37,655) are equipped like a full-on luxury sedan, adding leather upholstery and features such as dynamic Laser Cruise Control, second- and third- row sunshades, high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, heated front seats with memory, front and rear park assist, auto-dimming electrochromic mirrors and side mirrors with puddle lamps and integrated turn signals. The front-drive Limited comes with the 17-inch alloys and DRLs.
Options are clustered in many packages that make it impossible to buy most extra features separately: electronic stability control, heated seats or rear-seat DVD, for example. The packages are trim-level specific, and vary in price depending on model. On the LE, they range from LE Package no. 1 ($780), with a power sliding passenger-side door, overhead console and universal garage opener, to LE Package 4 ($5,530), with the features in Package 1 plus the eight-way power driver's seat, power driver's door and rear hatch, premium JBL audio with CD changer and rear-seat DVD entertainment.
Safety features include front-impact airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags and curtain-style airbags designed to provide head protection for outboard passengers in all three rows of seats. All models are also equipped with a tire-pressure monitor and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, which together help the driver minimize stopping distance and maintain control when braking and swerving to avoid an accident. Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) skid-control system is standard on the Sienna Limited and all AWD models, and optional on the others.