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>> It's the forgotten vehicle - the minivan. Only the hatchback has fallen so far from grace in the U.S. market, but Toyota's just invested heavily in a redo of the Sienna. What do they know that we don't? Let's drive the 2011 Sienna Limited and check the tech.
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>> Of the Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Town and Country, the Toyota brings up the rear in terms of sales, so it's a fairly competitive race. We recently drove the Chrysler Town and Country and found the battle ground is flexible seating, cabin tech, and refinement. Well, the way SUV's and crossovers have taken over so much of the market in the last decade, decade and a half, you'd think minivans are dead, but Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota would tell you otherwise. This is the Sienna Limited, top end kind of vehicle. Notice the lines. The proportions are the same. That's what a minivan is, but they've done a lot of finessing around the various curves and angles and details to get these things to look less like a bakery truck that got turned into a family hauler, and more like a Lexus that's more cubic in its shape. Now, of course, when you buy a luxo-trim minivan these days, in case you haven't been in the market lately, they've got power everything. Lift gate's just the beginning. Both our side doors are powered, they're on the key fob also. You've got a panel of buttons right here. You can lower the third row while keeping a deep well in the back for cargo with this button. Notice how the headrests pop down automatically so that you can clear the second row. I like that. The other button here is going to allow you to stow entirely the third [beeping] row. Then a quick flip of this little carpeted panel, and you've got a more or less flat load floor. Chrysler's more ambitious in this area, but this is a nice system itself. Now, let's go to the main star. This is the display, and that's the display. OK. We've got two. All Siennas have one of those, this multi-information deal underneath the eyebrow there. Useful information that's normally put in a simple little grey scale thing on your dashboard. So they've taken that to a new level, and it's kind of nice. But this is the optional system. GPS, DVD, navigation. So nice to have GPS. DVD is kind of stale this day and age. No hard drive, but it's OK. What's also just OK is the display. As you can see, Lexus and higher Toyota's get the good stuff. This one gets the old crunchy display where it's kind of aleist [phonetic] and, and rough around the edges. AM/FM, no HD radio. Satellite radio is XM. It comes with three months free, I believe. Disc aux is where things get fun. You've got your discs of various types. They can be CD or mp3, of course. DVD player. Bluetooth audio, A2DP streaming. USB aux is down here. That means you can plug in an iPod with the standard white Apple cable, or stick a USB thumbdrive in there, or plug in a good old standard analog aux cable. When you go for the GPS/DVD head unit, you're also going to lose two slots in the in-dash CD. You end up with four here instead of six on the car that doesn't have navigation. Speaking of optical discs, we've also got this one down here solely for DVD. This will play on the front screen when you're in park, but that also plays on the rear screen, which is quite a treat. Let's go check it out. Now, our ride's got the premium package, four grand worth of goodies, the most notable of which is this guy, the widest, biggest honking flipdown LCD in cardom. There's a standard 4-3 DVD playing on it. Look how much real estate I've got on either side. I can bump that up, of course, and take it to some extreme levels of incorrect wideness, but you know, the kids are going to love it. They don't care if it's accurate or not. But check it out, you can also use all that gorgeous screen real estate in a split mode. So I've got my DVD running over here on the right right now, and another video source, in this case it's me, but it could be any video portable whatsoever on the other side. Now, I would find that really hard to watch two things right next to each other while I'm just listening to one or the other, but I'm not 13. By the way, the secondary AV source goes into the world's best hidden AV jacks. These require geo cacheing to find the first time. They're down here hidden under this moving piece of console. I feel them. It's really hard to see them without getting out of the car and laying on the ground outside of it.
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>> The Sienna Limited comes with the six under the hood. Three and a half liters, naturally aspirated. Just a nice Toyota motor. Two hundred and sixty-six horsepower, 245 foot pounds of torque, and delivering 18/24 MPG, which is as good or better than the other guys. There's a little eco light to remind you to go light on the pedal, and the electric power steering to reduce mileage-robbing drag on the engine. OK. Now, underway in this Sienna, you're an idiot if you think it's going to be some kind of sporting car. This is a minivan. Now, one thing that hasn't changed on minivans is they're all about transporting the family. You know, taking the boys out on a nice summer day. The ride's pretty soft and cushy. There's a sport model above this, but that's a different video and a different vehicle, and while we do have a pretty V6, we also have a pretty good-sized curb weight, 4,500 pounds on the hoof on this thing. So nothing gets up out of the way too fast even when you put the gear shift over here in the sport gate. Kind of makes a mockery of sport. So I just left it in drive. It was good enough there. OK. Let's price this Sienna Limited 2011. Front-wheel drive is about $38,300. This is the top-trim level, bear in mind. If you want all-wheel drive, add $3,800 on top of that. So we're into the low 40's already, and we're not even done CNET style. For that, you've got to add the premium package and the advanced technology package. The two of those combined, about $5,800. Basically none of this technology is available a la carte. So get ready to go chunky, but it's a pretty impressive ride when you do.
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