The Camry of minivans

Avto 19 February, 2018
  • Photo courtesy, Toyota
    The Toyota Sienna is a model of versatility. It can carry up to eight people, or a huge volume of objects and baggage of all kinds.

    Jacques Welcome

    Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:47

    Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:47

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    For travel by family and long trips, a van is second to none. And in this area, with the Sienna, Toyota offers a wide range of models and powertrains that are able to meet a multitude of needs.

    It is sometimes called the Camry of minivans, a metaphor that aptly describes the style, the cabin and the reliability of the Sienna. A vehicle that is much more popular than we think. Because, it was beautiful laughter of the vans and give them all kinds of pejorative labels, they are still popular.

    By 2017, 87 335 Canadians have opted for this kind of vehicle. This represents a decrease of 2 % compared to sales of the previous year, I agree. Nevertheless, although today, very few manufacturers offer vans, all but one have seen their sales increase over the past few years, and this on both sides of the border.

    This is the case, among others, the Toyota Sienna, the vehicle that we test. Between 2010 and 2017, sales of this van in Canada have increased by 55 %. During this period, consumers have also bought 30 % more than Honda Odyssey and 48 % more vans Chrysler (Pacifica and Town & Country combined), while sales of the Kia Sedona have literally jumped an impressive 327,3 % ! By contrast, the decline in sales of the Dodge Grand Caravan, amounted to 15 %, consistent with the decline in the scale of the niche ; a decline which continued in 2017. Nevertheless, the popularity on the scale of the niche confirms that the vans still have their place on the market.

    More practical than an suv

    Just use a Sienna for a week to be convinced, that this is to bring the scouts of the family and their friends (up to 8 people) to their weekly meeting or to carry those heavy furniture they find at a good price at the antique shop.

    A utility vehicle as large as, for example, a Toyota Highlander (the… Camry utilities !) might be as handy to carry as many passengers (up to 7) or a cargo bulky. At least, at first sight, because the Sienna and its rivals have a cabin that’s much larger, but also more versatile and more easy to access.

    Consider, first, the ground clearance of both vehicles. In the case of the Sienna, it is 161 mm, while that of a Highlander reached 203 mm. This explains that it is so easy to get on this van, especially for children or older people.

    Then there is the free height of the threshold of the trunk, a factor which has a direct influence on the ease of loading of the packages. One realizes this particularly when it is necessary to lift and manipulate heavy and bulky items. Gold, the threshold of the trunk of a Sienna is located at 620 mm from the floor, whereas it is 762 mm in the case of the Highlander. Ouch, the back !

    Photo courtesy, Toyota

    When the rear seat is in place, by lifting the tailgate, we discovered a cavity convenient, which allows you to load a lot of luggage.

    The useful volume of the trunk also helps the van to Toyota. It can vary from 1007 to 4248 L, dimensions, justifying the adjective gargantuan ! Compared to that, the trunk of a Highlander, the volume of which can be modulated from 390 to “only” 2370 L, seems all of a sudden lilliputian. The back of the trunk of the Sienna has a cavity, serving to accommodate the rear seat when it is lowered. It can accommodate an impressive amount of luggage, while carrying 7 or 8 people on board. You can also drop the baby stroller without having to sacrifice the back seat. The manufacturer has even planned practices small hooks in the storage space to hang grocery bags so they do not flush rolling.

    Let us mention, finally, the doors sliding side of the Sienna, a strong point of vans, which is often enough to convince buyers. In effect, they emit a wide opening, no door space-saving, which facilitates the boarding of passengers occupying the central squares, it goes without saying, but also those who must play the gymnast to reach the back seat. Besides, if I had to take a seat on a back seat, I would like to be in a Sienna. With the 922 mm of clearance there is for the legs, compared to the meager 702 mm that provides the back seat of a Highlander, for a young child, it is a big luxury, whereas an adult will find it endurable for a short ride. Note, finally, that its large sliding doors also provide a side access handy to place all of the packages placed in the trunk.

    Fun to drive

    It is interesting to note that these two vehicles – the Sienna minivan and the Highlander – share their platform and their engine. Moreover, this powerful V6 3.5 L, which is paired to an automatic transmission with 8 reports, book 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque to the van. This explains his enthusiasm since, despite his two tons, and his vocation eminently family, the Sienna can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a little over 7 s, which is as fast as the Highlander. This is not a sports car, of course. Its suspension is rather soft has settings prioritizing clearly the comfort above all. But the braking, which is easy to modulate, together with a road behavior predictable, helps to convey a sense of security desirable for a family vehicle.

    One could also easily imagine a vehicle as large or unpleasant to drive especially in the city. However, this is not the case of the Sienna. Its power steering has variable assistance well-proportioned. In addition, although it is slightly longer than a Highlander (5.0 million vs. 4.9), its turning radius, lower (11.3 m compared to 11.8) makes it more agile, which comes in very handy in parking lots.

    Photo courtesy, Toyota

    The appearance of the dashboard is rather arbitrary. On the other hand, we found it easily and its design comes in handy.

    In addition, motorists looking for a vehicle with awd to compensate for the winter road conditions are less favourable will be pleased to learn that the Sienna is the only minivan offering this kind of device. In addition, among the six versions of the Sienna offers Toyota (base,, 4WD, SE, XLE 4WD and Limited), two of them have four wheel drive.

    With its many storage spaces, a staffing particularly expanded to the SE, XLE and Limited, and a cabin well-insulated (Kia, however, better with the Sedona) and versatile as no other, the Sienna is second to none, within the range Toyota. It is the ideal vehicle for frequent travellers, but also for those motorists who give priority to the comfort of their passengers.

    Toyota i-Tril : the city of 2030

    Photo courtesy, Toyota

    Concept car Toyota i-Tril.

    Toyota presented a golf cart, futuristic, visitors to the auto Show in Toronto, which opened its doors Friday. Called i-Tril (a contraction of “TRIple” and ” Lean “), this small car three-seater embodies a means of urban transportation as we will see in 2030, says the japanese manufacturer.

    Unveiled initially at the Geneva motor Show in march of 2017, i-Trill has been designed by Toyota Motor Europe in collaboration with its design centre ED2 established in Sophia-Antipolis, near Nice.

    This cart weighs 600 kg and measuring only 2.8 m (a Yaris 3-door 4 m). It has a cabin-type “1+2” with a place before central and behind a bench two-seater designed for young children.

    Powered by a rear motor, it has a central hinge joining the rear axle to the passenger compartment. This allows the body and front wheels tilt into the curve, so that the rear-wheel drive remain constantly perpendicular to the plane of the floor.

    The i-Tril offers an opportunity to conduct autonomous and communicates with the driver using a device activated by voice recognition. If Toyota is right, this kind of city continues to circulate in our cities, in fifteen years !

    Toyota Sienna

    Base price

    • 34 690 $ (base) ;
    • 38 090 $ (8p) ;
    • 40 890 $ (7 p 4WD) ;
    • 41 590 $ (8p) ;
    • 46 090 $ (XLE 7p 4WD) ;
    • 50 690 $ (Limited 7p).

    Transport and preparation

    1 785 $


    V6 DOHC, 3.5 L, 296 hp at 6 600 rpm, 263 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm. Automatic transmission with 8 reports. Front-wheel drive (7 p, 8 p and) or all-wheel drive (THE 7 p and XLE).


    Independent Suspension to the front wheels ; torsion bar with stabilizer bar at the rear. Disc brakes to all four wheels. Anti-lock braking system series. Tires : P235/60R17 (7 p and THE base) ; P235/50R19 (SE) ; P235/55r18 tires (Limited and LE/XLE 4WD)


    Wheelbase : 3030 mm ; length : 5 085 mm ; width : 1 985 mm ; height : 1 795 mm. Weight : 2 084 kg. Tank Volume : 75 litres. Trunk Volume : 1 107-4 248 L. towing Capacity : 454 kg (basic and XLE 4WD models) ; 1 585 kg (other models). Average consumption (test ; 2WD) : 10.7 L/100 km.


    Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona


    • Comfortable interior
    • Safety deposit box gargantuan
    • Fun-to-drive

    Weak Points

    • Consumption important
    • Perfectible soundproofing
    • Design any dashboard