2009 Toyota Sienna Expert Review

You'll Like The 2009 Toyota Sienna If...

If you're comparing minivan comfort and convenience, you'll find the 2009 Toyota Sienna borrows many of the best ideas from each of its competitors and combines them into a strong, well-built platform. The Sienna is the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive.

You May Not Like The 2009 Toyota Sienna If...

The Sienna can get pricey as you move up the trim range, but the same can be said of the competition. About the only reason not to like this van is if you are not partial to the styling or interior layout.

What's New

For 2009, the Sienna adds new optional 17-inch wheels and some upgrades to the LE trim's available option packages.

Interior Features

A look inside the Sienna clearly shows that Toyota is a player in the upscale van market. Trim levels include the CE, LE, XLE and Limited, and each has a great standard equipment list. The Sienna's seats take full advantage of the van's roomy interior, with wide seat bottoms as well as firm back rests. Second-row seating is either a set of captain's chairs that can be slid together to form a two-person bench, or a three-person split-folding bench seat with a sliding center section that can move forward by as much as 13 inches. The sliding center section makes an infant in a child safety seat more easily accessible to the front-seat passenger. Like the Honda Odyssey, the Sienna's rear seat can fold flush into the floor and features a 60/40 split. Cargo space behind the third seat has been improved thanks to the Sienna's long wheelbase.

Exterior Features

The Sienna is smartly styled but offers nothing radical in the way of exterior features or design. The current Sienna is bigger than previous generations, with a long wheelbase and a wide cabin with over 45 cubic feet of volume. The wide cabin permits three-passenger seating without cramping. Generous hip and shoulder room, a noticeable shortcoming on previous models, is a thing of the past. Clever features, such as the available Dynamic Laser Cruise Control and the option of part-time four-wheel drive, help the Sienna stand out in what has become a very crowded field.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Toyota Sienna's 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers where it counts, and it performs beautifully in both city and highway driving. The Sienna pulls quickly from a dead stop and power is masterfully managed by an electronically controlled five-speed automatic that makes the most of the engine's torque curve before seamlessly shifting to the next gear. The Sienna's wide stance and long wheelbase make for an extremely smooth ride and further bolster the Sienna's already rock-solid stability. Some drivers may feel the steering effort to be somewhat heavy for a minivan, but the resultant firm and direct steering makes it possible to pull off highly accurate maneuvers not usually attempted in a vehicle of this sort.

Pricing Notes

The eight-passenger Sienna CE's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $25,000, while the all-wheel-drive LE starts close to $30,000. The luxury-oriented all-wheel-drive Limited starts closer to $36,500 and, when fully loaded, tops out around $42,000. Before you buy, be sure to check the most recent Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Sienna. Remove the luxury frills and you can find a comparably equipped van from Hyundai or Kia for a lot less money, and Dodge's Grand Caravan offers a far more versatile interior. But the Sienna is expected to retain a high resale value, far better than that of rivals Dodge Grand Caravan, Hyundai Entourage and Kia Sedona, a few points higher than the Nissan Quest, but not as good as the Honda Odyssey.

Notable Equipment

The Sienna CE includes a V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), 10 cup holders, rear defroster, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, dual sliding side doors with power windows, power door locks, illuminated remote keyless entry, power liftgate release, AM/FM stereo with CD, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows, full wheel covers and a rear wiper.

Notable Options

Options vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, power seats, leather interior, heated front seats, cruise control, dual power sliding side doors, JBL audio with ten speakers and Bluetooth technology (standard on Limited), power-folding third-row seat (Limited), four-wheel disc brakes, power lumbar support, DVD rear-seat entertainment system and alloy wheels. The Limited trim offers Dynamic Laser Cruise Control, while the Limited and XLE offer optional navigation.

Favorite Features

Sliding Side-Door Power Windows

Sliding side-door power windows allow passengers to enjoy as much fresh air as they like.

Split Flush-Folding Third-Row Seat

The Sienna's split flush-folding third-row seat allows you to carry both additional passengers and cargo.

Under the Hood

There is only one engine offered with the Sienna: A robust new V6 offering strong off-the-line acceleration, quiet operation and decent fuel economy.

3.5-liter V6

266 horsepower @ 6200 rpm

245 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (FWD), 16/21 (AWD)

Editors' Notes

The 2009 Toyota Sienna is considered one the best minivans on the market today. Although not as big as the Honda Odyssey or Dodge Grand Caravan, the Sienna is still a sizable family hauler with room for up to eight persons. An attractive feature you won't find on any other minivan is the optional all-wheel drive, a must-have for many families who live in snow-frequented climates. Known for its solid build and a reputation for reliability, the Sienna quietly retains one other noteworthy quality: A strong resale value.

Road Test Video Reviews

2009 Toyota Sienna Owner Reviews

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A cup holder for everyone!

2009 Toyota Sienna

I love this vehicle! It has so much room for running errands--especially for gardening supplies and home improvement projects. I also love the fact that I can pop up three extra seats and carry a car load of friends to a meeting or event. And there is a cup holder for everyone as well! In addition to the sup holders there is door storage, seat pockets and hooks for coats and purses. There is a seat warmer for both front seat which is great for winter driving--and the heater and air conditioning is adjustable for each passenger! The only problem with the sound system is that the very rear seat cannot control the volume in their section. I like the volume and station control on the steering wheel for safety. I just wish they had 'bumper' strips on the side of the vehicle to protect the doors from other cars--the ones on the sides are too high to do much good. If they added bumper strips to the sides this vehicle would be a 5!

- Terry E

Good car. My kids love the rearview mirror in the interior of the car.

2009 Toyota Sienna

Great car for family of 5. We removed the car seat in the middle row to make more floor space -- easier in and out, more storage on the floor. My complaint about the car when we first got it was that there was no good place to change a diaper! How could this be-- it is supposed to be geared to families. I would suggest in the back trunk area having a pull out 'table' to lay baby on. Because it didn't, we ended up taking the seat out so I could lay baby on the floor of that area (where the sliding door of the van is. ).

- Megan E

Long- lived and reliable!

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

We purchased our sienna expecting that a Toyota would be a long-lived, reliable vehicle. It has 100% met those expectations. After 9 years and nearly 120,000 miles, my sienna has a small oil leak into the oil pan, has had a recall regarding the shift lever (which Toyota fixed), and a failure. If the sliding door motors. All other work has been maintenance only. I personally think that is pretty good for a 10 year-old vehicle with over 130,000 total miles. It even still looks good!

- Kim B

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