- Smooth and powerful V6
- Available all-wheel drive
- Seven- or eight-passenger seating
- Expensive option packages
- Uninspired handling even for a minivan
If you're searching for a high-quality minivan, you don't have to go any further than the 2010 Toyota Sienna. It's reliable, easy to drive and simply a solid choice when it comes to family haulers. Although the Sienna is unchanged from last year, it remains one of the best minivans you can buy. Budget-minded shoppers will like the low-priced Sienna CE that has room for up to eight passengers. Those who can spend considerably more will appreciate how the Sienna Limited comes off like nothing less than a Lexus minivan.
All Sienna trim levels come with Toyota's familiar 3.5-liter V6, an all-star engine renowned for its smooth power and high fuel efficiency. Another feather in the Sienna's cap is the fact that it's currently the only minivan to be offered with all-wheel drive, so if you live where ice and snow are common, the Sienna has a decided advantage over its rivals.
There are a few downsides, though. The 2010 Toyota Sienna lacks some of the high-end entertainment features that are available on the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan twins. And the Sienna is neither as slick nor as responsive to drive as the Honda Odyssey. Of course, no minivan is going to be purchased for its corner-carving ability, but it is worth noting that piloting a Sienna is about as bland as it gets.
One might also be concerned about the Sienna's pricing -- Kia's Sedona delivers much of the same utility as the Sienna but for less money. But the aforementioned strengths as well as Toyota's high resale value and strong reputation for reliability will likely be enough for many shoppers to choose this minivan. Overall, the Sienna is an excellent van, with many compelling features and options. We wouldn't buy another minivan without trying the Sienna first.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2010
The Toyota Sienna remains unchanged for the 2010 model year.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2010 Toyota Sienna minivan comes in four trim levels -- CE, LE, XLE and Limited. The CE and LE come in seven- and eight-passenger configurations; the upper trims are seven-passenger only. All but the CE offer a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive; the CE is front-wheel drive only.
The base Sienna CE includes 16-inch steel wheels, dual sliding rear doors with power-down windows, front and rear air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, a telescoping steering wheel and full power accessories. The LE adds privacy and solar-energy-absorbing glass, a roof rack, heated side mirrors, a CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a folding front passenger seat, cruise control and upgraded instrumentation.
The Sienna XLE features alloy wheels, power-sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, automatic headlamps, tri-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood grain interior trim, a trip computer and a removable center console. The plush Limited adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver memory settings, a leather-and-wood steering wheel, an upgraded 10-speaker JBL surround-sound audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth, rear window shades and a windshield wiper de-icer. All-wheel-drive Siennas receive 17-inch wheels, run-flat tires and the wiper de-icer.
Options on the Toyota Sienna are grouped into packages that vary based on buying region, and they can get rather pricey. You'll need to study them carefully to ensure that the Sienna you pick has the options you want. Notable items include xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system (with a back-up camera), a power-folding third-row seat and a pair of 115-volt power outlets.
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The Sienna's cabin is handsomely fitted with high-quality fabric on lower trim levels and leather and faux wood on the higher-end models. The various controls are simple to use, storage space is plentiful and the seats are plush. Seven-passenger Siennas allow the second-row captain's chairs to be pushed together to create a bench seat. The eight-passenger version uses a 40/20/40-split second-row bench whose center section slides 13 inches closer to the front seats for easier access to the little one seated there. The Sienna provides a cavernous 149 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. In Limited trim, the Sienna's interior looks and feels as if it came straight out of a luxury car.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and a full complement of airbags (including front-seat side and full-length side curtain) are standard on all Siennas. The Limited also comes with front and rear park assist; it's optional on the XLE. If you opt for the navigation system, you'll also get a rearview camera.
In government crash testing, the 2010 Toyota Sienna earned four stars (out of five possible) for driver protection in frontal impacts and five stars for the front passenger. It also received five stars across the board for side-impact crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Toyota's minivan a "Good" rating (the highest possible score) for its performance in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
All Siennas come with a 266-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine that's matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. This refined combination provides brisk acceleration (we timed an AWD version of the XLE from zero to 60 mph in just 8.0 seconds) as well as respectable fuel economy. EPA estimates come in at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models; the AWD versions are rated at 16 city/21 highway and 18 combined.
Although the 2010 Toyota Sienna's automatic transmission is calibrated more for fuel economy than performance, there's no denying the refined potency of the van's V6. When you step into it, acceleration is spirited, yet the engine delivers its power in a smooth and unobtrusive manner. Ride quality is plush, but the Sienna offers minimal steering feedback and considerable body roll during cornering. Braking distances are class-competitive, but the brake pedal has an overly soft feel.
Roomy, comfortable and well-built, the 2010 Toyota Sienna minivan is an excellent choice for larger families.