Now you know why they're appliancesAnd, believe it or not, there are situations where you might want to drive the new Sienna aggressively. In an apparent attempt to appeal to younger buyers, Toyota is offering a distinctly sporty, V6-only SE model. It includes firmer dampers, springs, and antiroll bars along with nineteen-inch wheels (seventeen-inch aluminum wheels are standard). Sienna chief engineer Kazuo Mori, a go-kart racer on his own time, adds that he personally took charge of retuning the SE?s electric power steering for better feel and precision. Topping it all off are sporty fender skirts and front and rear fascias that make the van look a bit like a plus-size Mazda 5.
Charging up the Ortega highway, with sharp dropoffs to one side and motorcycles buzzing by on the other, the SE demonstrates remarkably good body control. Some minivan buyers might not appreciate the slight ride penalty, as the stiffer dampening exposes the torsion-beam rear axle?s difficulty articulating over imperfect surfaces. The SE-specific power assist however, is perfect for this application, and it makes us wonder why other Siennas are still saddled with completely lifeless, numb steering.
?The Toyota way,? offers Mori with a wry smile, explaining that some higher-ups still feel that Toyota?s family vehicles should offer pillow-soft rides and finger-light steering.
I don't know, Mori is able to tune suspension properly, but he also makes some godawful styling choices.So essentially Toyota can be saved by putting this Mori fellow in charge of everything.
It's really no worse than say, a Honda Odyssey, which could be considered its main competition. Besides which, suspension tuning and better steering could do a LOT to make Toyota more interesting.I don't know, Mori is able to tune suspension properly, but he also makes some godawful styling choices.
When it comes to sporty minivan-like vehicles, I much prefer the aesthetic (and drivetrain) choices of the Flex Ecoboost and the Lincoln MKT. I'm no loyal Ford fanboy, but both of those look great, go like stink, and I suspect can handle at least as well as a Sienna SE.
You won't see me defending ANY styling job Honda has done for the past few years (motorcycles excepted).It's really no worse than say, a Honda Odyssey, which could be considered its main competition. Besides which, suspension tuning and better steering could do a LOT to make Toyota more interesting.