by Dave and Carolyn
edited by Paul Williams

2007 Toyota Sienna LE
Click image to enlarge


Read more of Dave and Carolyn’s comments:

Week 1 |
Week 2 |
Week 4

Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Toyota Sienna LE

Unexpectedly (for a minivan), Dave and Carolyn are finding the Toyota Sienna quite light on its feet. Their expectation was that this admittedly large vehicle would prove difficult to drive and manoeuvre, but this has not proved to be the case. “It’s not something I even think about anymore,” says Carolyn, as she confidently prepares to back the Sienna out of a driveway. “The Sienna’s size is offset by its power and nimble handling, plus the good visibility I have from the driver’s seat.” Carolyn’s main complaint is the weight of the liftgate. “Hey, I work out and I’m pretty strong, but that liftgate can be a handful when you’re carrying a baby.” she says.

And dare we say that Dave and Carolyn even like the look of the Sienna? “Sleek, smooth, aerodynamic,” are some of the adjectives they used to describe the look of this vehicle. “It’s deceptive, really, because this is not small minivan,” says Dave. “But the way it’s designed gives the impression that it’s lower and longer,” he adds.

“You make quite a dramatic entrance when you pull into a friend’s driveway in one of these vehicles,” says Carolyn. “We’ve had very positive comments from people we know. They like the look, too.”

Dave and Carolyn’s comments about the power of the Sienna’s 3.5-litre V6 engine are in line with most reviews of Toyota vehicles that use this engine. Making 266 horsepower, this is a lively powerplant indeed, versions of which are found in Toyota’s RAV4 Sport and Camry V6. Its five-speed automatic transmission is geared for quick acceleration from standstill, and low engine speeds on the highway for good fuel economy.

Both Dave and Carolyn, however, miss the DVD entertainment system that was standard on the Hyundai Entourage GLS. They miss some other features as well, but understand that this comparison is between vehicles with a maximum price tag of $40,000. Toyota Canada does offer a Sienna that might suit them better in the $39,900 LE Value Package. It features Vehicle Stability Control, Advanced Traction Control, power passenger seat, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, power back door, and leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter, in addition to the standard array of LE features.

A DVD entertainment system is available as a stand alone option on the LE and LE Value Package for $1,599.

From Dave:

2007 Toyota Sienna LE
Click image to enlarge

The Sienna continues to perform well for us. I drove the van at night several times recently and the visibility was excellent. On one of these occasions I encountered a severe downpour and very high winds but I felt quite comfortable cruising along the winding roads; the tires grip the road nicely and the van stops quickly in such inclement weather. While driving to King City to visits some friends recently I was, again, very impressed by the Sienna’s acceleration, especially while entering the busy 401 and 400 highways. This van really flies when you floor the accelerator and it does so in such a smooth manner that you fail to realise how fast you are suddenly moving. I realise I have mentioned the van’s acceleration and smoothness/quietness many times. I suppose it’s because I am using our (former) Volvo Turbo wagon as a comparison vehicle in this regard and I am simply surprised that a van can accelerate so quickly. Several of our friends have commented positively on the Sienna’s styling. Interestingly, nobody has mentioned that the van looks “big,” which is something we heard several times re the Entourage. Perhaps it’s because the van seems to sit lower with a lower roofline?

I should also add that our friends in King City, a professional couple like us, with one infant and one toddler, but no dog, remarked that they undoubtedly will be “moving” from their Ford Explorer into a minivan because they too often run out of room in their vehicle. Moreover, with two car seats (and, in time, two booster seats) and lots of stuff, there is no room in their vehicle for visitors (e.g., either set of parents when they visit). The idea of having their parents crawl into the third row seat of an SUV is not feasible. It is noteworthy that these individuals do not consider themselves the “minivan type.” They were, however, impressed by the power sliding doors and the stowaway seats, etc., of our test vehicles.

From Carolyn:

I am warming up to the Toyota Sienna more every day! I am finding it fairly fuel efficient and easy to handle. Another thing that struck me was that I do not mind the colour of the exterior. Maybe it’s a small thing for some buyers, but I do not normally like blue for the exterior of a vehicle. However, I must admit that the blue on the exterior of the Sienna is a rather nice shade (somewhat pearly). Works for me! (It’s Blue Mirage Metallic: ed.).

2007 Toyota Sienna LE
Click image to enlarge

I am finding that there is definitely enough room in the back to meet all of my needs. At first I felt that space was limited compared with the Entourage, but it turns out that I always have just enough cup holders and storage space. The exterior of the minivan is also visually appealing; it is sleek looking and not too big and bulky. The front seats are very comfortable and I like the way that the armrests are easily adjustable.

After driving this minivan for close to a month my biggest complaint would be the lack of a power tailgate and entertainment system. These are very important features to me as a new mom and I suppose that I would have to consider this very seriously in deciding whether to buy this minivan or another comparably priced minivan that came with these latter two options. While I love the handling of the Toyota Sienna, the practicality of owning a minivan (e.g., keeping my daughter entertained with a DVD system, power tailgate and power sliding doors) would have to come first; it seems that, at this point, practicality is still one of the main reasons why I would decide to purchase a minivan!

I understand, though, that the above features are available for the Sienna, but the one we have (Sienna LE) doesn’t have them. Could we get them in the Sienna for under $40K? (See reference to the LE Value Package in the introduction above: ed.).


Read more of Dave and Carolyn’s comments:

Week 1 |
Week 2 |
Week 4

Read all the articles in the Minivan Challenge

Photo Gallery: 2007 Toyota Sienna LE

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