Sienna must seem like a national treasure. It has earned
a following with precision, price and perceived excellence,
despite a variety of competitive minivans nipping at its
heels. This is not a Toyota for its native Japan. Rather,
the U.S.-designed and built current model that debuted two
years ago and aimed straight at the hearts of American buyers,
with many responding.
the 2006 model year, Toyota has invested in refinements
rather than anything radical. Among noticeable exterior
changes are the grille, headlamps and fog lamps of the redesigned
front fascia (a vehicle's "face"). Rear lamps
also get an update. Power folding outside mirrors with turn
signal and puddle lamps on the Limited edition should keep
driver and passengers from stepping out into sloppy surprises.
Color key sonar warns of unseen items when backing up.
cabin changes are subtle, with all designed for maximum
comfort. Among them are entertainment enhancements, including
a large rear entertainment screen for LE, XLE and Limited
models, and a mini-port jack. CE and LE models get silver
toned interior trim. Among goodies, depending on trim level,
are an engine immobilizer, windshield wiper de-icer and
manual side window sunshades.
some of its competitors that remain two-wheel drive only,
Sienna comes in both front- and all-wheel-drive configurations,
with eight distinct versions to choose from. Both drives
pair with five-speed automatic transmissions. Fuel economy
ranges from about 19 city/27 highway for front drive to
18 city/24 highway with AWD. All-wheel-drive models get
runflats instead of spares.
Base prices range from the high 20s to mid 30s.
bit the bullet in a couple of areas in recent months. In
July, it announced a voluntary recall of some '04 and '05
Sienna models to repair a mid-row seatbelt, an item presumably
corrected for '06. And despite a potential for confusion
that could last awhile, the company jumped in early to retest
and restate powerplant numbers before many of its competitors
to meet new industry-wide engine testing protocols. The
Sienna's V-6 powerplant is a carryover, but horsepower ratings
now are listed as 215 at 5,600 RPM and 222 lb. ft. of torque
at 3,600 rpm, changed from 230 and 242 respectively.