Last post on Dec 14, 2012 at 2:46 PM
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Toyota Sienna, Future Vehicle, Van
#472 of 687 Consumer Reports Review...
Aug 03, 2010 (1:30 pm)
As expected, the picky Consumer Reports was not very happy with the 2011 redesign of the Sienna (Sept. 2010), Noting the following:
"...while the redesigned Toyota Sienna is a very good vehicle, it doesn't measure up to the previous model, which has been our top-rated minivan for 3 years. The Sienna is still roomy and fuel efficient and has a smooth ride, but a drop in interior fit and finish and quietness, among other things, contributed to a drop in its overall test score from 93 (out of 100) to only 80 for the redesign..."
"... Toyota's redesigned 2011 Sienna is still a good choice among minivans, but it has slipped in our ratings. Fit and finish isn't as good as in the previous model, the cabin isn't as quiet, and handling is middling. it used to compare head-to-head with the Honda odyssey; now it test score is similar to the Kia Sedona's...."
"... The Sienna corners like a big vehicle, so it's not fun to drive. Steering is vague, lacks precision, and is too light..."
About the leg rest seats on the Limited: "...That's nice, but it's like having a first-class feature in coach because there isn't enough room for an adult's legs when they're propped up.."
"... The leather seats and switchgear are well done, but some dashboard plastics are hard and look cheap. There are many rough edges and minor misalignments..."
Of course they also have some nice things to say, about the roomy, open, airy feeling, big nicely padded seats, smooth ride, good engine/transmission; still, it's unusual that CR should rate a Toyota with so many complaints.
Hopefully Toyota is already working on an improved version........
#473 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [samnoe]
Aug 03, 2010 (2:53 pm)
CR is actually dead-on with my impression of the new Sienna. I spent some time crawling through one recently while I had a service done on our '08.
The dash material is hideous to the touch. It is hard and rough. The surface pattern is similar to the Venza, however where the Venza uses plastic on the lower and soft, rubbery material on the top, the Sienna uses cheap, hard plastic all around. It seems like they were trying to do a textile pattern as opposed to the leather pattern on most vehicles, but in hard plastic it is very course and nasty to touch.
The pseudo-8th seat in the model I looked at wouldn't snap securely in place. I moved the seats around, took it in and out of place and there was no obvious damage, but it never seemed to go in right for safe travel. It was also much less comfortable, with the bolsters of the outboard seats squeezing into my sides, than the true 8th-seat of the previous generation and makes me really glad I got mine when I did.
Storage spaces are bigger, but fewer. Total storage space may be a wash with much bigger upper and lower glove compartments and a big bin in the console between the seats, but I like my '08s clever nooks to stick things into, like under armrests, under the passenger seat and the bin a the bottom of dash console- all gone in the '11. Then they take up a big chunk of the dash center with two awkwardly and uselessly placed cup holders. I also like that the center tray of our '08 will swing out of place an make a little aisle to move to the back.
The reclining seats look great in the brochures, but when I saw them in person they were just big enough for the family's 10 and 12 y/o daughters to put their feet up. This is as poorly considered a gimmick as Chrylers swivel seats.
The dash control layout did seem to work better than I feared from pictures. I have not taken any opportunity to drive the new Sienna so I can't comment on ride quality, driver experience or noise levels. But based on the poorly thought out and cost cutting interior, the '11 seems like it would be a step down from our '08. As one person commented, an OK $25k vehicle, but a lousy $40k one. It is a sign that maybe Toyota is loosing it's car making mojo.
#474 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [yatesjo]
Aug 03, 2010 (5:30 pm)
Interesting read. My impression paralled CR (for a change). And CR gave them a score of 80, and so far 52 owners have scored the 2011 Sienna 8.3 out of 10. Looks like CR and owners in tune on this one.
I think Toyota is mirroring GM. GM got big in the '80s and '90s and built poor quality vehicles. They thought they could build anything and buyers would still pay good money to own them.
That's gotta hurt, comparing them to KIA. lol.
#475 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [nobo]
Aug 04, 2010 (11:17 am)
Haven't read the whole article yet, but I saw that also. It's probably the least flattering review I've seen on the new Sienna.
I sort of expected it to drop, but 93 to 80 is a fair amount.
I was planning to keep my 07 for a long time, so it doesn't really matter, I suppose.
Funny thing is sales are much higher. I guess people like the backup cam and 3-zone climate control. Those highly visible features outweigh the lack of a soft-touch dash, I guess.
#476 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [ateixeira]
Aug 04, 2010 (3:38 pm)
It can afford to be less flattering ( and more honest) because CR doesn't accept advertising dollars.
The exterior styling does look good. Sales are much higher, as the first half of 2009 vehicle sales were in the dumpster. Any auto manufacturer that isn't seeing higher sales in 2010 vs 2009 should be thinking about getting out of business.
#477 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [nobo]
Aug 05, 2010 (6:21 am)
I prefer the new styling too, but that had little to do with my choice in minivans.
It's helping, though. That and clever marketing. Sienna outsold Ody in June, for perhaps the first time since....ever?
#478 of 687 Re: 2011 Sienna DEAD BATTERY [hellosiva]
Aug 05, 2010 (11:47 am)
I had an '04 Sienna--exact same issue--15K miles and the battery would be dead after sitting awhile. Dealer said it was fine, kept happening, I never left home without the cables. Finally replaced the battery, problem went away.
Now I have an '08 Highlander---same drill. This time I went straight to the shop, bought an Interstate, problem went away. Here's a clue--did you notice the Sienna's battery is not much larger than the one I have on my little ATV?
I just wrote Toyota a letter telling them it doesn't pay to cut corners as evidenced by the $125 battery bill I expect them to pay for.
My advice--get an Interstate and send Toyota the bill.
#479 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [ateixeira]
Aug 05, 2010 (2:44 pm)
Not surprised Sienna outsold Odyssey in June. There is just not the inventory of Odysseys available for sale.
As more prospective buyers see pictures of the 2011 Odyssey, the rest of the 2010 inventory will be in high demand.
#480 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [nobo]
Aug 05, 2010 (5:41 pm)
Very well said indeed!
I took a look at an SE and was appalled by the quality of the interior, especially the dash. The dash design was hideous too. While I suppose it makes some sense to put the door control buttons overhead, the buttons were hard to make out by my 55 year old eyes.
Most odd (and I haven't seen anyone comment on this) was that the moonroof does not retract into the roof but goes outside and above it. This reminded me of something one might see on an econobox.
Toyota seems headed down the same suicidal path that GM took.
#481 of 687 Re: Consumer Reports Review... [nobo]
Aug 06, 2010 (8:14 am)
LOL, not a fan of the lightning bolt I take it?