Struggling for a few years with an image problem due to mechanical failures caused by faulty electronic equipment and accelerators that stick, Toyota hopes to repair its long-standing, and justified, reputation in the car-making industry as a trusted company that ensures detailed levels of quality control, durability, and high-end value for modest prices. While convenience is generally what people look for in a large vehicle such as the multi-purpose minivan, safety and the same sense of control associated with smaller, sportier automobiles is what Toyota has on offer for the 2013 Sienna.
New For 2013
Toyota has discontinued the four-cylinder Sienna. A blind spot monitor is now standard on top-of-the-line Limited models. It’s offered as a standalone option on midlevel SE and XLE models.
Similar in style to their Venza wagon, Toyota’s Sienna has a wide and bladed grille, with a unique style for each trim level, such as the black mesh insert on the SE. Its headlamps resemble the Camry model, with wraparound taillights. The SE, XLE, and Limited have fog lights. All these features give the Sienna a sportier look than regular vans.
For the SE there are clear-lens taillights, lower side skirts, and 19-inch wheels. Other trim levels have 17 and 18-inch alloys.
All versions have a roof spoiler, concealing a rear window wiper, and the all-wheel drive models come with run-flat tires. Other features include projector beam headlamps and running lights, and available power moonroof, liftgate, and sliding doors.
Interior & Cargo
Toyota expressly created the Sienna’s front space so that the driver and passenger feel comfortable in their own space, and they have delivered. There are large dials for temperature control and stereo volume, and a design with lower, longer lines that separate the area for both occupants.
The cabin can hold up to eight occupants, with three rows. The captain’s chairs in the second row can slide into the third row, with an optional removable seat in the center. The removable second-row seats create a cargo capacity of up to 150 cubic feet, 39.1 behind the third row and 87.1 behind the second. To create a flat load floor the third row can be folded into a storage compartment behind it.
Cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and CD stereo are standard. Its heated leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, dual moonroofs, and electronic navigation system add to luxury, comfort, and convenience.
Perhaps the most impressive feature is the optional rear entertainment system, with a wide flip-down screen able to play two different inputs simultaneously, such as DVD’s or one DVD and a video game, with wireless headphones for passengers on both sides.
Toyota has focused much on the safety piece, as is expected from a vehicle used by families and large groups. The IIHS gave it a Top Safety Pick award, while Safecar gives it a total four out of five stars, four stars for frontal collision safety and rollover, not surprising given its wide base and low height-to-width ratio, and five stars for side crash safety.
Anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability system & traction control, active front head restraints, and side curtain airbags for all three rows in addition to the side-impact airbags for the front seats all come standard. The SE is noted for its firmer suspension system.
The optional Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system combines stability control with drivetrain components to enable better responses during evasive driving maneuvers. The Limited models have an optional adaptive cruise control system that works with a Pre-Collision System, a Toyota feature that alerts the driver and tightens the seatbelts if it detects a car ahead rapidly decelerating. It also includes an optional backup camera.
The four-cylinder Sienna, powered by a 187 horsepower, 2.7-liter engine, is discontinued. The 266 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 carries over unchanged. LE models get new front seat fabric, three-zone automatic climate control, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. XLE and Limited models get blind spot monitoring. Chrome-accented door handles are added to the SE model.
With a V-6 engine generating 245 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic, the improved engine gives the oomph needed for this 4275-pound minivan. All this power makes the Sienna stand out from its competition. The front-wheel drive versions get 18/25 mpg city/highway while the all-wheel drive versions, ideal in locations with inclement weather conditions, get 16/23 mpg city/highway. This fuel economy is fairly better than other vehicles that are directly competing against the 2013 Toyota Sienna.
The SE is built to handle like a sports sedan, while not compromising on safety. It sits lower on its sport-tuned suspension, with a steering system made for quicker feedback and handling, which accommodates more aggressive drivers. The Limited has a smoother glide, with steering assist to make parking the large vehicle easier. This feature comes in handy in crowded areas in or around the city.
Unlike its competitors, the Sienna features optional all-wheel drive, which gives it a competitive edge because of better performance and traction. It is available in five trim levels: base, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited. The SE is the racier version, though they are all sleeker compared to the previous models, before the major redesigns two years ago. Overall, the vehicle provides good value for money and has a wide variety of features that can come in handy.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Toyota Sienna
- Dodge Grand Caravan
- Chrysler Town & Country
- Honda Odyssey
- Nissan Quest