Bring It On: 2011 Toyota Sienna makes it debut at the LA Auto Show

Article by Christian A., on December 2, 2009

The favorite minivan from Japanese carmaker Toyota – the third generation Sienna – is making its debut. The latest generation of the Sienna minivan – known for providing comfortable yet efficient solution for moving people and cargo – was unveiled during a media conference at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show.

To better serve its role as an effective people-cargo mover, the new Sienna underwent a transformation and became more expressive and more dynamic. Now, the Toyota minivan dons a stronger profile and high shoulder characteristic and boasts of a more responsive handling.

In fact, the latest-generation Sienna can be mistaken for a sedan with its looks, comfort ride and handling capability. However, it still successfully retains its cargo- and load-handling capabilities. Thus, the Sienna is a minivan that satisfies both the driving and cargo needs of consumers.

When it becomes available, the Sienna can be purchased in different versions including a sporty SE and a four-cylinder powertrain. Also, customers can choose to avail of the all-wheel-drive option, which makes the Sienna the only minivan to offer such system.

Customers can choose from any of the five available grades, all featuring the same unique visual direction.

Sporting a more sophisticated aggressive design, the Sienna is afforded with distinctive window shapes. Designers of the Sienna collaborated closely with Toyota engineers to create a wide and high shoulder to help conceal the door slider within the window graphic.

Thanks to its high shoulder as well as unique fender flares, Sienna’s wheels are visually emphasized. On the front, Sienna features an aggressive and confident face marked by headlamps that are angled higher than the grille.

Meanwhile, the Sienna distances itself away from conventional box shapes of minivans by featuring a well-sculptured rear corner that surrounds its elegant LED taillights. On the other hand, the Sienna minivan features an interior that is both elegant and functional.

For those wanting a Sienna minivan with sportier looks and performance, they could opt for the new SE grade. Among all five grades of the Sienna, the SE has the most aggressive front looks and is equipped with a lower side profile.

Its standard 19-inch alloy wheels are particularly tuned for sportier handling and have benefited from aerodynamic sculpting. One of the distinguishing features of the SE is its prominent smoked tail lamps. Likewise, the Sienna SE sits on a sport-tuned suspension for faster feedback and better handling. Among all grades, SE is unique as it has its own exclusive instrumentation and distinct interior colors and trim.

Interior Design

The cabin seems spacious thanks to the unique swept shape of the IP, the sleek design of the seats, and integration of the central climate and audio controls into a single graphic element. The cabin is now also more than two inches longer.

Interestingly, since the seats now feature longer ranges of travel, passengers and even cargo with varying heights and sizes can now be comfortably accommodated. Likewise, the steering wheel of the Sienna now has a less upright position, allowing drivers to go into more a comfortable driving posture.

Additionally, the driver's instruments and controls are now more concise while the cabin is now wider, giving more space for the front occupants. On the seven-seat version of the Sienna, the second-row captain chairs could slide 23 inches rearward to provide more legroom for the tallest occupants and to allow easier ingress and egress.

The second row seats could also be moved forward to provide easy access for third-row passengers. Thus, the interior of new Sienna is now more capable of providing ample room for people and cargo alike. The cargo-handling ability of the Toyota minivan is further bolstered by a number of storage bins, cupholders and cargo spaces that are all strategically located inside the cabin.

When available, the Sienna can be availed in either a seven-seat or an eight-seat cabin version. Each of these versions can be configured to suit the needs of the customer. For instance, a customer may choose to configure the Sienna for passengers only or for cargo only.

A customer may also choose to configure the Sienna to accommodate both passengers and cargo. For convenience and storage needs, the sliding center console (available only on the XLE all-wheel-drive and Limited grades) can be shared between the front and second row occupants.

Amusingly, the Sienna features a conversation mirror integrated into the sunglass case in the overhead console. This feature allows the driver to have visual contact with passengers on the minivan’s posterior. Likewise, thanks to wider fields of vision, even occupants on the rearmost part of the minivan can see forward much better.

Since the Sienna is carefully designed, it only has a Cd of 0.306, which helps make the cabin quieter and also reduces fuel consumption.


At the heart of the Toyota Sienna minivan is any of the two responsive DOHC engines available -- a 3.5-liter V6 or a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. These powerplants are both blessed with advanced lightweight technologies like the Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), and the Acoustically Controlled Induction System (ACIS).

The engines also feature roller rocker arms. In terms of performance and fuel efficiency, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine could already be considered as a winner as it develops 187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and delivers EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 19 mpg city/ 26 mpg highway.

On the other hand, the 3.5-liter V6 produces 266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and delivers EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. When complemented by an AWD system, this engine returns 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway.

The 3.5-liter V6 also features a 3,500-pound tow capacity. For a smoother transfer of power from the engine to the wheels, Toyota uses electronically controlled six-speed transmissions with sequential shift. Toyota specified the Sienna’s suspension with front MacPherson struts, which when combined with rack-and-pinion steering, results to a suave, linear steering feel.

When piloting a Sienna minivan, drivers would experience a more solid direct on-road feel thanks to the Electronic Power Steering (EPS) feature. Likewise, its wide stance means a more direct steering feel. While the third-generation Sienna features the same wheelbase as its predecessor, it is slightly shorter and wider.

Press Release


Toyota unveiled the all-new, third-generation Sienna minivan at a media conference today at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show.

The Toyota Sienna is well known as a transportation solution for moving people and cargo comfortably and efficiently. The third-generation Sienna will look and drive more like a sedan, conform to new ideas about personal comfort, easily accommodate cargo, and handle big loads.

The 2011 Sienna has been reinvented to handle these needs as it shifts to a more expressive and dynamic vehicle with a stronger profile, high shoulder character and responsive handling. With state-of the art features and rewarding driving dynamics, it is a vehicle that car-lovers will find satisfying to drive. Sienna will offer new models, including a sporty SE and a
four-cylinder powertrain, as it continues to be the only offering in the segment with an all-wheel-drive option.

"The all-new Sienna is an example of Toyota's commitment to lead the marketplace as it anticipates consumers' needs and changes in lifestyle," said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. The third-generation Sienna combines a contemporary style with features not previously seen in a minivan, and a fun-to-drive spirit that will surprise many, along with the flexibility, spaciousness and features that have defined the segment.

The Sienna was designed by Toyota's Calty Design Research and developed at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., with assembly being accomplished at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana.

Visually Intriguing
The Sienna will come in five conveniently configured grades, all sharing a distinctly new visual direction and features. The third-generation Sienna explores a more modernly advanced and bold design. The sportier profile is complemented with distinctive window shapes. Working closely with engineering, Sienna designers were able to create a high and wide shoulder to embed a deliberately hidden door slider within the window graphic.

The strong high shoulder and distinct fender flares visually emphasize the wheels. Dimensionally, the new Sienna rides on the same wheelbase as the prior generation, but it is wider and slightly shorter overall.

In the front is a bold face design. Sophisticated headlamps angled higher than the grille lends a confident front presence. The sculptural rear corner separates the Sienna from boxy minivans as it surrounds the functional yet elegant LED taillights.

The interior features upscale quality and elegance, yet every element are logical and functional. The distinctive swept shape of the IP creates the perception of increased personal space for both driver and passenger. Careful attention to the details adds extra value to each component. Sleek seat designs add flexibility and roominess while central climate and audio controls are integrated into a single graphic element.

Overall, the new Sienna has a sportier, classier appearance. A Cd of 0.306 is the result of careful design work and is a contributing factor in maintaining a quiet cabin and providing excellent fuel economy.

Power, Plus Efficiency
A choice of two responsive DOHC engines will be available: a 3.5-liter V6 or 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. Both engines offer the latest in efficient, lightweight technology, including Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), roller rocker arms and an Acoustically Controlled Induction System (ACIS) that changes the length of the air-intake pipe to supply more torque on demand.

The 3.5-liter V6 makes 266 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, with expected EPA-estimated mileage ratings of 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway (16 mpg city/22 mpg highway on AWD models). It also has a 3,500-pound tow capacity. With 187 horsepower at 5,800 rpm, the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine produces responsive power that exceeds some competitors V6 performance,
while delivering expected EPA-estimated fuel efficiency ratings of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Both engines are matched with state-of-the-art, electronically controlled six-speed transmissions with sequential shift that provide smooth gear-shift feeling, quiet performance and a lightweight, compact size.

The suspension uses front MacPherson struts, combined with rack-and pinion steering for smooth, linear steering feel. Electronic Power Steering (EPS) delivers a more solid direct on-road feel. With a wider stance, the new Sienna has a more direct steering feel. Under-body aero parts also contribute to dynamic performance.

Models and Features
The Sienna will come in five grades: Sienna grade, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. All-wheel-drive is available with the V6 on LE, XLE and Limited models.

With five distinct model choices, the new Sienna can be tailored to a wide range of purposes and pocketbooks. The Sienna can be configured with seven- or eight-passenger seating, in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, with a range of prices and features to accommodate different mixes of practical needs and high aspirations.

The Sienna and LE grades are available with either the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or the 3.5-liter V6. The value-driven Sienna grade and popular LE are equipped with an array of standard features that include: cruise control, Daytime Running Lights with manual on/off feature, tri-zone air conditioning, six- or eight-way-adjustable driver's captain's chair, power windows with auto up/down and jam protection, AM/FM CD player with four speakers, XM compatibility, auxiliary jack, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and three 12V outlets, among other amenities. The Star Safety SystemTM, which includes Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), and Traction Control (TRAC), is standard on all models.

The LE V6 model is upgraded with even more features including dual power-sliding doors and power rear door, a power driver seat with power lumbar support, electrochromatic rearview mirror with Homelink™, backup camera, rear window sunshades, AM/FM/MP3 CD player, integrated XM® satellite radio (subscription required), auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology, and steering wheel audio controls. These features can be added to the four-cylinder model as a package.

The XLE builds on the LE, adding features such as leather-trimmed seats, moonroof, and an anti-theft system with engine immobilizer, remote keyless entry, and heated front seats. Select optional XLE equipment includes a 10-speaker JBL® premium sound system with voice-activated DVD Navigation and Panorama rear camera with integrated back-up guides, XM®
NavTraffic (subscription required), rear-seat Dual View Entertainment system, and an auxiliary audio jack and USB port with iPod® connectivity.

The Limited is designed for customers who want all the features with more luxury. The standard equipment list is extensive, including new second-row Lounge Seating and a power 60/40 Split & Stow third-row seat, front and rear parking sonar, dual moonroof, Smart Key, and Safety Connect™. Select options include those available on the XLE plus HID auto high-beam auto-high beam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, and Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

New Sporty SE
Given its upgraded engineering, every Sienna will ride well and track cleanly through corners, but none more so than the newest addition to the line: the sporty SE.

The SE is designed for those who appreciate an even sportier design with responsive performance. The front has a more aggressive appearance and the side skirting visually lowers the vehicle. Aerodynamic sculpting hugs the standard 19-inch alloy wheels, which are specially tuned for sportier handling. Separating the SE further from other grades, the smoked tail lamps create a visually prominent statement. The SE sits lower, on a sport-tuned suspension for quicker feedback and better handling. Additionally, the SE is built with exclusive instrumentation and unique interior colors and trim

Comfort Remains Key
The cabin of the new Sienna represents a conceptual leap forward, blending options for more individual space, better cargo capacity, and improved group interaction.

The interior is more than two inches longer, and the seats now have longer ranges of travel, making it possible to comfortably accommodate a wider range of heights and sizes.

The front seats have more rearward travel, and the steering wheel has a less upright position, so the driver can adopt a comfortable driving posture. The driver's instruments and controls are clear and concise, and the greater cabin width helps create extended personal space for both driver and front passenger.

Numerous storage bins, cupholders and cargo spaces have been strategically placed in convenient locations. A conversation mirror, integrated into the sunglass case in the overhead console, allows visual contact with rear seat passengers.

Throughout the cabin, there is an open field of view to create an airy, roomy ambiance. With wider fields of vision rearmost passengers can see forward more easily.

Both seven- and eight-seat cabins can be configured for a full contingent of passengers, a load of cargo, or a convenient mix of both. In seven-seat cabins, the second row captain chairs slide 23 inches, moving to the rear to create legroom for the tallest passengers and easier ingress and egress. They can be moved forward close to the front seats to make it easy to care for a child passenger, while also allowing easy access for third-row passengers.

A sliding center console on the XLE all-wheel-drive and Limited grades can be shared between the front seats and second row passengers. The illuminated console slides into the second row area to provide convenient access for both rows, so the need for storage and passenger comfort can be equally served.

For even more passenger comfort, there is standard second-row lounge seating on the Limited grade, which includes leg and foot support. Second-row captain chairs on all grades have dual armrests, and a one-motion release mechanism in case the seat needs to be removed.

On eight-passenger models, the second-row center seat can be removed and stowed in the left side of the rear-storage area. When the center seat is stowed, a cupholder and storage tray is revealed. The eight-passenger interior can easily be optimized for seven passengers, and quickly reconfigured back for eight.

The second-row seats also feature a Tip Up and Long Slide feature, allowing them to slide forward and back on extended rails, making more room for people or cargo as the need arises. All second row seats, regardless of configuration, move out of the way with one touch to gain easy access to the third row seats.

The 60/40 Split and Stow third-row seating folds flat with one motion manually, with the Limited front-wheel drive receiving a power feature. The third row has been moved about two inches rearward for enhanced comfort. With the third-row seat in use, there is enough storage for five golf bags or four large suitcases. Four handy grocery hooks, with two in the back and two in the second row seatbacks, add storage convenience.

It is easier than ever to load the Sienna, thanks to wider doors and one-touch second-row seats. By sliding the second-row seats all the way to the rear, a walk-in aisle is created, making it easier to enter, exit, install a child seat, or place a child in a seat. The second-row seats can be moved all the way to the front, just behind the front row, to maximize rear cargo capacity, especially with the third-row stowed flat.

With the third row seat stowed and the second row seat removed, the cargo area is approximately eight feet long and four feet wide. The back door opening is broad and spacious, set at a height that makes loading and unloading easy.

A cabin air filter is standard along with an air-conditioning system that controls the temperature of three separate zones.

Innovative Technologies
A Toyota first rear-seat Dual View Entertainment Center is another innovative option. The system uses two displays side-by-side to create a seamless 16.4-inch widescreen image from a single source. When two separate entertainment options are called for, the system can split the screen into two individual screens, each with input from separate sources. Used as a single screen, it can be easily seen from the third row, and it can be operated from any seat via remote control. Used as two screens, the system can accommodate the preferences of two separate passengers who might want to play a video game or watch a second DVD simultaneously via auxiliary inputs.

Other technological upgrades include a Toyota-first Panorama Camera rear monitor. It provides two views behind the vehicle including a 180-degree view, and on-screen back-up guides, helping drivers to reverse out of parking spots or driveways.

Safety for All
An enhanced version of Toyota's Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is standard on all 2011 Sienna models. VSC coordinates the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist with Traction Control (TRAC) and Electric Power Steering (EPS), to help provide a the driver a better-integrated, controlled vehicle in the event of an emergency maneuver.

A Pre-Collision System (PCS) with pre-collision seatbelt system is an available option on Limited, as is the latest in advanced vehicle control technology: Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM). The VDIM system coordinates brake control with engine output and steering inputs, allowing all the control and safety systems to cooperate seamlessly. Unlike reactive traction systems, VDIM operates proactively. During normal driving, the system works smoothly to enhance control even before the vehicle reaches its limits.

Seven airbags are standard equipment, including dual-stage front and seat-mounted side airbags for driver and front passenger, plus a new driver's side knee airbag. Side curtain airbags cover the length of the cabin, from the front seats to the third row.

The new Safety Connect™ telematics system is standard on Limited and optional on XLE. Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. A complimentary one-year trial subscription is included.

In case of airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision, Automatic Collision Notification is designed to automatically call a response center. If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to dispatch assistance.

Pushing the in-vehicle "SOS" button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance needs. If a Sienna equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle.

The all-new 2011 Sienna will begin arriving at Toyota dealerships in February 2010.

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