Have you ever heard of a high-performance minivan? Well, people really don’t expect carmakers to come up with a product like that. But it’s not at all unusual for Toyota. At the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, Toyota turned that possibility into a reality by unveiling a high-performance Sienna show minivan, the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept.
This concept may change how people see the Sienna as an outstanding family hauler. They would begin to think that a vehicle like this could even go faster and look more menacing. To create the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept, Toyota Technical Center collaborated with performance shop DG-Spec.
Using a stock Sienna SE “Swagger Wagon,” they added a number of elements that would surely enhance the minivan’s performance -- double-adjustable shocks with racing springs, performance tires, wheels and brakes, and a clutch-type limited-slip differential.
While the Toyota Sienna R-Tuned concept is still powered by the stock 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to the stock six-speed automatic transmission, it could outrun a 6.2-liter V8 Camaro SS on the test track.
In fact, these two vehicles were made to run the Streets of Willow Springs, a 1.7-mile sports car course. The result? The Toyota Sienna R-Tuned finished the course in 1:27, a second faster than the 6.2-liter V8 Camaro.
Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the Sienna at Toyota Technical Center, remarked that when they created the Sienna SE, they aimed to endow it with a sportier performance than what a typical family hauler could churn out.
He added that with the Sienna R-Tuned, they aimed to create a minivan that could exceed that performance even farther. Lund also disclosed the secret to how the Sienna R-Tuned was able to outrun the Camaro SS – better handling and better braking.
This simply means that while the Camaro SS has more power, the Sienna R-Tuned is simply faster on the corners. Despite being a performance-driven vehicle, the Sienna R-Tuned isn’t exclusive to professional drivers.
In fact, when everyday drivers were made to test drive Sienna R-Tuned, they noted that the minivan was very easy to drive, thanks to its better handling. For those who want to get a closer look at the Sienna R-Tuned at the 2015 SEMA Show, they could visit Toyota’s booth (#24700) in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.