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2012 Toyota Sienna

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2012 Toyota Sienna Review

Continues to be segment leader

Reviewed by Automotive on

Debuting in 1997 as a 1998 model, the third-generation Toyota Sienna minivan underwent a significant redesign last year. The current Sienna is longer and wider, but with a low stance that makes it easier to enter and exit than most crossovers and SUVs. The Sienna looks more like a crossover, with the front grille echoing the Toyota Venza crossover, and the sculpted rear corners soften and separate the Sienna from its boxy minivan competitors.

Inside, Toyota engineers expanded interior room, but the distance between the front and rear tires remains unchanged from the previous-generation van. Roominess continues to be the Toyota Sienna's forte, making it easy to configure the cabin to hold seven and eight seats, cargo space, or both. The second row captain's chair, for example, can slide up to 23 inches to create legroom while the second-row center seat can be removed in eight passenger models to maximize cargo space.

The 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan is available in five models and is powered by either a 2.7-liter I-4 or a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sienna can be configured with either front-wheel (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

The Range

Body style: Minivan
Engines: 2.7-liter I-4; 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic
Models: Sienna Base, LE, SE, XLE, Limited

What's New

There are few changes for the 2012 Toyota Sienna, which underwent a major redesign for model year 2011. For 2012, Toyota introduces Blue Harmony audio to the Sienna LE, SE, and XLE trims. Automatic on/off headlights and power passenger seat are now standard features on the Toyota Sienna XLE. Buyers of the 2012 Toyota Sienna SE now get dual-view rear-seat entertainment with the moonroof option.


The redesigned exterior carries over virtually unchanged into the new model year. While the 2012 Toyota Sienna has a traditional minivan shape, but the new grille, headlights, taillights, as well as the front- and rear-end treatments (especially the bumpers) give it a more crossover-like appearance.


We continue to find the 2012 Sienna to be comprehensively equipped, especially in XLE and Limited models with premium leather and faux wood. Seating is plush, and the Toyota Sienna can be configured to offer 150 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seats moved aside and the third row stowed

Performance & Handling

The 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine offers adequate prep for most owners' needs while being smooth and fairly quiet. However, we found power wanting if the 2012 Toyota Sienna was fully loaded with either passengers or cargo (or both) or we had to quickly maneuver through traffic or up a hill. Not surprisingly, the 2012 Sienna equipped with the 3.5-liter V-6 provided more power with similar fuel economy to its four-cylinder sibling. Steering and handling are typical Toyota: competitive with the steering slightly disconnected from the road.


The 2012 Toyota Sienna, like all current Toyota vehicles, comes standard with the Toyota STAR safety system which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), brake assist, Smart Stop (SST), traction control (TRAC), and vehicle stability control (VSC). Also standard include dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, dual front knee airbags, and front and rear roll-sensing side curtain airbags. Other safety systems on the 2012 Sienna include a pre-collision system (PCS) for the seatbelts; vehicle dynamics integrated management (VDIM) to proactively monitor braking. The driver side knee airbag is new to in the Sienna.

EPA Fuel Economy

2012 Toyota Sienna: Inline-4 with FWD: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway
2012 Toyota Sienna: V-6 with FWD: 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway; V-6 with AWD: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Cargo space
  • Powerful engines
  • Comfortable seven- and eight-passenger seating

You Won't Like

  • Pricing especially with options
  • Polarizing design

Sum Up

Continues to be segment leader

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia Sedona
  • Volkswagen Routan

See the New 2015 Sienna.

Front & Driver Side View