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2004 Minivan Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Toyota Sienna
Toyota Sienna minivan

When Toyota completely revamps one of its vehicles, it doesn't do it halfway. Accordingly, the all-new Sienna is the new standard by which other vans will be measured, offering not just newfound style, but innovative new features, strong performance and of course, Toyota's trademark quality.

Whereas the outgoing Sienna was sort of on the small side next to standard-bearers like the Honda Odyssey and the long-wheelbase Chrysler vans, the new Sienna is now playing in their not-so-little league. Nearly every dimension has increased, yielding more room for people and things. New interior features include dual glove boxes, seating for up to eight and an available second-row bench with a center section that slides forward to put parents closer to a child safety seat. The third row bench both splits 50/50 and folds flat into the floor. The new gauge cluster is easy to read and the center stack controls highlight just how talented Toyota is in the art of ergonomics. A handy navigation system is offered, as three-zone climate control and a family-pleasing rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Power for the new Sienna comes from a 3.3-liter V-6, which now makes 230 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque-right in line with the leaders in the segment (which make 240 hp and 242 lb-ft). Like the Chryslers and the GM vans, the Sienna is offered with all-wheel drive as a worthwhile option for families who keep on the go when the weather says "stop." Starting at about $23K and rising up to over $40K for a cushy XLE Limited with all the boxes checked.