2013 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD

An efficient people mover

By Durhl Caussey Created: October 30, 2012 Last Updated: October 30, 2012
Related articles: Life » Autos
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2013 Toyota Sienna. (Courtesy of Toyota)

2013 Toyota Sienna. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The Sienna is a minivan designed for parents and kids, with a capacity for either seven or eight people. Its streamlined profile and stylish performance helps it look and handle like a “people mover” is supposed to.

Sienna’s efficient 3.5-L V-6 engine gives you the power you need for the fast lane, while the expansive windows encourage everyone to slow down and admire the world and all her pageantry.

The dual overhead cam (DOHC) 24-valve VVT-i power plant delivers 266 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque, all supported by a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Advanced technology will impress the younger ones, while the grownups will enjoy the cabin comfort. Plus the Sienna is assembled right here in America.

The Sienna is offered in 5 model lines: L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited, with various configurations and options packages on top of those. The XLE was the model I test drove, and it was offered in AWD.

Once inside, you will immediately notice the wood-grain style accents and the XLE-exclusive options package with enhanced audio and Display Navigation with Entune.

Entune is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services integrated with certain select Toyota vehicles. This includes a 6.1 inch high-resolution touch-screen with split-screen display. The Sienna comes with three years of complimentary access to apps and data delivered via most smartphones and some feature phones.

I really like the streamlined shape of the Sienna—quite a departure from the bread box vans of old. The craftsmanship will definitely reduce drag. The Sienna averages 21 combined mpg (18/city, 25/hwy), but mileage must be improved by Toyota engineers to remain competitive.

Inside the Sienna. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Inside the Sienna. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Sienna is available with a panorama camera. When in reverse, what the camera sees is displayed on the DVD navigation screen. Choose a 180 degree wide angle view or a regular view and see the image in any of three modes: projected path, parking assist, or distance guide.

Roomy Interior

Inside, the second row features adjustable ottomans and armrests for both captain’s chairs. The third row seats split 60/40 to adapt to your needs. Just push two buttons and the seat folds down and retreats into the cargo storage compartment. To serve the sliding second row captain’s chairs, the center console slides rearward, so cup holders stay within easy reach of passengers.

The power liftgate on the XLE can be operated with the remote key fob, the Smart Key System, or with a switch on the overhead console. Both the sliding side doors and the liftgate offer jam protection.

Cargo space is abundant. Depending on how you have the seats configured, it will hold anything from just above 39 cubic feet all the way to 150 cubic feet.

My kids have long ago outgrown car seats, so I have no need for space to haul strollers and playpens, or to transport a baseball or drill team to competition.

But I do have fishing gear and some old fishing buddies. These buddies now occupy space once held by the children. Tackle boxes, smelly rubber boots, and an inflatable raft are the current precious cargo.

Toyota has numerous safety features that are standard on all Sienna models. These include the Toyota STAR safety system, seven airbags, front seat belt pretensioners and force limiters, and active front headrests. XLE models add Anti-Theft System to that long list.

A national hamburger chain once announced that you could have a hamburger “made your way.” Well, the 2013 Sienna is like that, offering you numerous accessories for your vehicle. BLU Logic Hands Free System, mud guards, trailer ball, and wheel locks are a few of those features. With these and others you can build your Sienna “your way.”

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $33,360 for the base XLE FWD. The AWD model is listed at $35,800. An additional $4,000 gets you the XLE Navigation System.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or

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