Photo Gallery:
2013 Toyota Sienna

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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This week I’m the cool kid in town, rockin’ the minivan! Okay, I feel anything but cool this week, but my tester – the 2013 Toyota Sienna SE – does honestly look cool… for a minivan.

But don’t let the fancy body kit, large wheels and Altezza lights fool you, this is no sports car in sheep’s clothing – it’s a minivan, a vehicle with tons of cargo space, a smooth highway ride, and ironically, it is anything but mini! The price really isn’t very mini either with my tester being an SE model starting at $37,205.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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Of course you could opt for the base Sienna if you just want to get into one of these vehicles for $28,140 but that’s still not what I would call inexpensive by any means – and that $28,000 Sienna is pretty darn basic, the power plant a four-cylinder engine.

On to the merits of a Sienna in SE trim. The SE features eight-passenger seating, automatic climate control (with rear passenger settings), power sliding side doors, power tailgate, a power sliding moonroof and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels with chrome finish.

Of course we cannot forget that the SE model features a sport-tuned suspension – perfect for the weekend warriors.

MSRP as tested (including destination): $37,205

For more information on Toyota and the Sienna visit Toyota Canada

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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Hey I’ll be honest here, I do not drive very many minivans. I don’t shop or know much about them, save for a little research I need to do to write an article. So this week is a little difficult for me — but keep the comments coming, there is a lot of very good information in the forums from a lot of minivan owners for those reading this!

Like most “minivans” these days, the Sienna is absolutely enormous both inside and out. That means there is a ton of space for storage behind the third row, especially with the large void where the third row folds into.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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Seating in all rows is easy to get to as well, and sliding doors on both sides with sliding and folding middle row seats makes getting into the third row easy peasy.

The second row in the Sienna is a little odd, with two large captain’s chairs that are comfortable, but calling that middle spot a seat is a little bit of a stretch — it’s more like an armrest.

From the driver’s seat the gauge cluster is really easy to read with a very large speedometer dead centre. The radio and HVAC controls are a little difficult to reach — but the large buttons make up for the fact that you may have to lean over to reach them.

The ability to shut down the rear HVAC system for days like today when it was below forty Celsius sure are handy. I wanted every last bit of engine heat I could muster, but even after a 20-minute drive heat was barely adequate in such a large vehicle.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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So the Toyota Sienna SE, it has a sports-tuned suspension — so is it “sporty”? It may actually be… well, sportier than the non-sports-tuned Sienna at least. And if I’m perfectly honest, when the temps are well below zero like they have been all week, all suspensions feel “sporty” — or at least as stiff as wood.

That’s right, I’m kind of calling the Sienna sporty. Surprisingly it seems to corner rather flat and I certainly can hustle it around highway on-ramps. The power from the 3.5-litre V6 is no slouch either, so it too adds a certain sportiness to the package.

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews

There is no way to completely get around the gigantic open box that makes a minivan a flimsy wet-noodle (except perhaps by fitting a roll cage inside) so some flex is expected, but the Sienna feels solid, rides comfortable and has some sense of steering feel. It really is not completely void of all feeling, though the colder temps may be helping it some.

For me minivans shine around town cruising at 60 km/h; out on the highway they are okay, but the large echo-chamber does make for some resonant tire noise that isn’t too bad with the Sienna, but a bad tire choice could result in a horrible experience.

Visibility is good all around when going forward, but the backup camera is pretty much a necessity as the large C-pillar at the rear is so far back it really blocks your view rather badly when reversing.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
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A week behind the wheel of a minivan sure makes you notice the amount of minivans being driven around the city. This week it seemed like every second vehicle was a minivan during my commute — although that may be a bit of an exaggeration, there certainly seem to be many Dodge Grand Caravans and Toyota Siennas around here.

Despite the insanely cold weather this week I averaged a reasonable 11.9 L/100 km in a vehicle with a lot of power and a ton of cargo space, which is mighty impressive. Around town the average hovered around 12.8 L/100 km but out on the highway fuel consumption dropped drastically.

There is no question that this type of vehicle, despite the stigma, is still the king of cargo and people hauling and Toyota makes a rather nice offering with few compromises.

2013 Toyota Sienna SE
Acceleration Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Handling Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Comfort Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Interior Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Audio System Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Gas Mileage Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews
Overall Day by Day Review: 2013 Toyota Sienna SE toyota car test drives daily car reviews

*Rating based on vehicle’s classification
MSRP as tested (including destination): $37,205

For more information on Toyota and the Sienna visit Toyota Canada

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About James Bergeron

James Bergeron is an Ottawa-based automotive journalist. He is also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).