What's the best way to test the 2013 Toyota Sienna minivan? We decided to load it up with kids and take it out for a whole day to see how it feels and performs.
When you first get behind the wheel of the Sienna, it's easy to see that it offers lots of space for cargo and interior room for kids. The Sienna seats up to eight passengers, unlike some minivan rivals which offer only seven seats. But Toyota didn't sacrifice room for comfort. In fact, the Sienna has more cargo space than any other minivan on the road.
It's also easy to climb in back. That's because Toyota installed a sliding second row. The seat cushion folds up against the driver's seat to make it easier to get in and out of the third row. Unfortunately, the second-row seats don't fold all the way into the floor. But the third row does fold completely flat, which helps when carrying large objects.
The Sienna also offers power sliding doors on each side. Both can be activated by a button on the keypad. And both doors come equipped with power windows.
Shoppers can also choose from a wide range of technology upgrades and options. There's Bluetooth for hands-free calling and streaming audio, and Toyota's Entune infotainment system that lets you access online apps right from the dash. The Sienna also offers navigation, a backup camera and a JBL sound system with steering wheel-mounted audio controls. In back, there's a huge split-screen monitor which allows passengers to watch two different things at the same time. Rear seats even get their own climate control and an available moonroof.
For 2013, the Sienna's old 4-cylinder engine is gone. That makes a 266-hp 3.5-liter V6 the standard engine. Fuel economy is 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive, unavailable on the Honda Odyssey or Nissan Quest, is optional on the Sienna. All-wheel drive is a great choice if you live in areas that regularly experience bad weather or drive on dirt or gravel roads.
The Sienna also offers numerous safety features, including blind spot monitoring and an "SOS" system that provides crash detection and stolen vehicle recovery. The Sienna also offers dynamic radar cruise control, which automatically maintains a set distance from vehicles in front -- even if they slow down.
For those who enjoy driving, the 2013 Toyota Sienna SE even offers sport-calibrated steering, which makes owning a minivan a little more fun than you might expect.