2011 Toyota Sienna XLE

Nothing comes close to a real minivan for successfully combining people comfort and cargo carrying ability but, as evidenced by General Motors and Ford dropping their minivan offerings, most Americans think that the uncoolness of minivans outweighs their utility. I guess I'm not most Americans because I'm not the least bit embarrassed or apologetic about my fondness for the minivan and after driving the Toyota Sienna for a weekend I can see why it's one of the segment leaders.

Around town, the Sienna is smooth, quiet, and comfortable. To me, the 3.5-liter V-6 seems like overkill, but I'm guessing it's necessary once all the seats are full and the cargo area is loaded to capacity. Unfortunately, the interior is a bit of a disappointment in this new Sienna. It looks nice from a distance but get a little closer and most surfaces look and feel plasticky, though most of the controls-radio, nav, and HVAC-feel nice and have a good weight to them.

The rearmost seats are a cinch to flip down into the floor and the sliding second row seats move forward enough to make the cargo area cavernous. But I did notice a few negatives. Because the headrests are fixed, the flipped down third row seats don't create a continuous, even surface. This made it difficult for me to slide large, heavy boxes across the cargo floor. Another problem is what to do with the shoulder belt for the 1/3 rear seat when it's stowed. I couldn't find a place to secure it out of the way so I had to work around it when loading.

Jennifer Misaros

I am shocked to say that "yes" I would absolutely buy this ride!You need to actually know me a little to understand why this is a personal shocker lol.

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