2013 Toyota Sienna Review and Prices
The 2013 Toyota Sienna is the best minivan for you if you’re wise enough to recognize the advantages of a minivan, self-confident enough to drive one, and drawn to Toyota’s versatile and comfortable design.
The 2013 Toyota Sienna won’t get any major changes but could migrate some standard or optional features among trim levels and might get a new color choice or two. The 2013 Sienna will still be a fresh overall package, as minivans go, having been fully redesigned for model-year 2011 and carried over for model-year 2012 with expanded infotainment tech as its only notable change. The 2013 Sienna is likely to remain the only conventionally sized minivan available with a fuel-saving four-cylinder engine, as well as all-season-capable all-wheel drive. And along with the Honda Odyssey, it should still be the only minivan capable of seating eight passengers.
Should you wait for the 2013 Toyota Sienna or buy a 2012 Toyota Sienna? If you need a minivan now, buy a 2012 Sienna. The 2013 is highly unlikely to change enough to warrant delaying your purchase. Sienna styling alterations would still be a couple model years away. And no new direct competitor is on the horizon to give you buyer’s remorse. The 2012 Sienna has more than enough comfort, connectivity tech, and powertrain choices to satisfy most any minivan requirement. And by buying a 2012 Sienna, you’ll avoid the almost-inevitable new-model-year price hike.
2013 Toyota Sienna Changes back to top
Styling: Aside from a possible new color choice or two, the 2013 Toyota Sienna’s appearance won’t stray from the shape and details established in the 2011-model-year redesign. The 2013 Sienna will continue to eschew flourishes for a confident look that employs soft curves, an aero-inspired nose, and gently pumped wheel arches.
The 2013 Sienna will remain smack-dab at the minivan mean for exterior size and continue to use its interior space quite efficiently. Several trim levels should continue to offer eight-passenger seating via a removable cushion between the second-row buckets; a similar arrangement is likely to keep the archrival Honda Odyssey the only eight-seat competitor. The 2013 Sienna will again furnish admirable room in all three rows on more-than-adequately padded seats. The second-row seats will again slide fore and aft to customize rear legroom, and up to 12 beverage holders and numerous bins, pockets, and crannies will remain at your disposal.
The three-passenger third-row bench will again tumble neatly into a rear well. Thanks to the space created by that well, the 2013 Sienna will retain a generous 39.1 cubic feet of cargo room even with all three rows occupied. For ultimate cargo versatility, however, the 2013 Sienna – and every other minivan – will continue to trail the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. They alone are likely to continue with second-row seats that fold into their floor wells of their own. On most minivans -- Sienna included -- the second-row seats flip or tip forward but it requires their cumbersome removal to take advantage of full cargo capabilities.
Expect the 2012 Sienna lineup to again consist of six trim levels: base models, which should remain available only with the four-cylinder engine; the CE, which essentially is a base model with the V-6 engine; and four other V-6 models -- the volume-selling LE, sportier SE, upscale XLE, and luxury Limited.
Visual identifiers should continue to include wheel type – 19s on the SE, 18s on Limited and all-wheel-drive LE and XLE models, 17s on the others. The 2013 Sienna SE and Limited models will again be differentiated by slightly different grille appearance, with the SE further signaling its sporty intent with body-side skirting, smoked taillamp lenses, and unique instrumentation and interior trim.
Mechanical: The 2013 Toyota Sienna will carry over with a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines. The four-cylinder, a 2.7-liter, should again be restricted to the base model and is almost certain to retain ratings of 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It’ll again furnish adequate acceleration for medium-duty work with the invaluable assistance of Sienna’s sole transmission, an exceptionally smooth and quick-shifting six-speed automatic.
Better suited to Siennas that regularly huave most seats occupied and most cargo space filled will again be the 3.5-liter V-6. It’ll likely keep its 266-horsepower rating and be standard on all but the base 2013 Sienna.
Like every other minivan, Siena’s basic powertrain layout employs front-wheel drive. Front-drive places the mass of the engine and transmission over the tires that also propel the vehicle. This benefits wet-surface traction as well as interior packaging. The 2013 Sienna, however, will remain the only minivan available with all-wheel drive (AWD). The system automatically transfers power to the rear wheels if the fronts begin to slip. It’s not meant for off-roading and AWD Siennas don’t get raised ground clearance.
A 2013 Sienna of any specification will continue to excel as a stable highway cruiser and as a well-controlled vehicle on undulating surfaces. But you’ll probably need the SE model and its handling-tuned suspension, steering, and tires if your fancy is fast driving through sharp turns. And AWD Siennas probably will continue to come with run-flat tires, which have rigid sidewalls that contribute to a far less cushy ride than you’ll enjoy in a front-wheel-drive Sienna.
Returning standard safety features will include antiskid stability control and traction control for maximum adhesion in turns and take-offs and four-wheel antilock disc brakes for optimal control in emergency stops. For model-year 2013, we urge Toyota to expand availability of its Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system beyond just the Sienna Limited models. This optional safety upgrade is designed to anticipate an impending collision and respond by cinching seatbelts and triggering early engagement of the antilock braking and antiskid systems.
Features: No major addition to Sienna’s roster of features is expected for model-year 2013; indeed, no major addition is needed. Except for second-row seats that stow beneath the floor, the 2013 Sienna will continue to offer every amenity one could ask for in a minivan.
Infotainment is a high point, with Toyota’s Blue Harmony connectivity available for voice control of the audio unit and myriad software systems. Blue Harmony is hands-free based but works in combination with a dashboard touchscreen to provide turn-by-turn directions, read email messages and allow elementary email answers, and tap the Web for Pandora Internet radio, Facebook, and Flickr photo sharing.
Most minivans offer some type of rear-seat video entertainment but the 2013 Sienna will again be cutting-edge thanks to Toyota’s Dual View Entertainment Center. It consists of a 16.4-inch video widescreen that folds from the ceiling and can project images from two sources – a video game and a DVD, for example. It’ll probably return as an option on 2013 SE, XLE, and Limited models.
The 2013 Sienna is also likely to remain the only minivan available with sumptuous second-row bucket seats that recline like those in a commercial jet’s business-class cabin. Toyota calls it Lounge Seating and it’ll return on the 2013 Sienna, though again as an exclusive standard feature on the top-of-the-line Limited model. No rival offers quite this level of opulence, although when fully reclined, the footrest-equipped seats drastically intrude on third-row leg room.
A navigation system with a wide-angle rearview camera will again be available, and Toyota ought to consider expanding availability of its Safety Connect telematics system for model-year 2013. It provides automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, an emergency assistance button, and roadside assistance. For 2012, it was standard on the Sienna Limited and optional only on the XLE.
2013 Toyota Sienna Prices back to top
Prices for the 2013 Toyota Sienna had not been released in time for this review but are not expected to stray much from the 2012 Sienna’s base price range of $25,780-$41,380. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fees; Toyota’s fee for the 2012 Sienna was $810.)
Expect the 2013 Toyota Sienna base model with its four-cylinder engine to start around $26,000 with seating for seven, around $27,000 with seats for eight. The 2013 Sienna SE should basically remain a seven-seat base model with the V-6 engine. Its estimated base price is $27,400. Cruise control, tri-zone manual climate control, power windows with automatic up/down in the front doors and the sliding side doors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, and three 12-volt power outlets are expected to continue among standard features on the 2013 Sienna base and CE models. They’ll also likely retain a four-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary iPod jack.
We’d like to see Toyota extended to the base and CE models availability of other features that have become family-vehicle essentials: a USB iPod interface and, especially, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity for cell-phone and music streaming. So far, these features have been standard only on Sienna LE, SE, XLE, and Limited models.
Estimated base price for the 2013 Toyota Sienna LE model is $31,000 with front-wheel drive and $33,000 with AWD. An LE will likely be the top value in a 2013 Sienna because it will again come standard with a host of indispensable minivan features. These include dual power-sliding side doors, rear window sunshades, and a rearview backup camera that displays on the inside mirror. Also included will be a power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, Homelink garage-door control, and steering wheel audio controls.
Estimated base price for the 2013 Toyota Sienna SE is $35,000. The SE should continue to include the LE’s equipment, plus the sporty exterior and interior trim, the handling-tuned suspension, and 19-inch wheels and tires in place of 17s.
The 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE base price is an estimated $34,500 with front-wheel drive and around $36,500 with AWD. Standard equipment on the 2013 Sienna XLE will again include leather upholstery, heated front seats, power moonroof, and remote keyless entry.
Expect the 2013 Toyota Sienna Limited to start around $41,000 with front-wheel drive and $41,700 with AWD.
As it analyzes buying patterns for the 2012 Sienna, Toyota could adjust some standard- and optional-equipment strategies for the 2013 models. For example, it could expand availability of Lounge Seating and of the power-folding third-row seat, both of which were exclusive to the Limited model for 2012. Also available only on the Limited for 2012 were front and rear parking sonar, dual moonroof panels, and keyless pushbutton ignition. Toyota could also liberalize availability of its voice-activated DVD navigation system and Dual View Entertainment beyond just the XLE and Limited.
2013 Toyota Sienna Fuel Economy back to top
Fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Toyota Sienna were not released in time for this review but don’t expect them to change much from the 2012 Sienna’s ratings.
This means the four-cylinder 2013 Sienna should again have EPA ratings of 19/24 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined city/highway. That would again put it among America’s most fuel-efficient minivans though the margin is slight, so bigger savings will come in terms of purchase price, not at the gas pump.
Expect the 2013 Sienna with the V-6 to again rate 18/24 mpg city/highway, 20 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 16//22/18 with AWD.
2013 Toyota Sienna Release Date back to top
Expect the 2013 Toyota Sienna to go on sale by late-summer 2012.
What's next for the 2013 Toyota Sienna back to top
A midcycle facelift around model-year 2015 is the next significant change to expect for this third-generation Toyota Sienna. Its next full redesign is likely for model-year 2018.
Beyond minor trim alterations and some features juggling, possible changes during this generation’s life cycle could include measures aimed at improving fuel economy. These include technology that idle the engine when the Sienna is at a stop or, on V-6 models, shuts off two or three cylinders during low-demand cruising. A turbocharged four-cylinder is a possibility, too.
Toyota has pledged that each of its model lines will have a gas-electric hybrid model by model-year 2020 or so. Odds for a hybrid Sienna are slim during this generation, but the company could tap the hybrid-V-6 powertrain from its Highlander crossover SUV for duty in the Sienna.
2013 Toyota Sienna Competition back to top
Honda Odyssey: With import-brand appeal to a similar demographic, this is Sienna’s closest rival and a tough competitor by any standard. Odyssey appeals with road manners that top the class for response and control. It also has a wonderfully accommodating cabin that’s spacious, airy, and well-finished. Odyssey’s styling is of the sporty, swept-back school. Its zig-zag rear side-window-sill not only is a visual distinction but gives third-row occupants more daylight and better outward visibility. Seats for up to eight will continue and the only engine is likely to remain a 3.5-liter V-6 with some 250 horsepower and fuel-saving cylinder shut-off. The highest priced 2013 Odyssey models probably will return with a six-speed automatic transmission and again challenge for best-in-class fuel economy at 19/28 mpg city/highway, 22 combined. Less expensive models will likely stay with a five-speed automatic and rate 18/27/21. Estimated 2013 price range is $30,000-$45,500, with no factory options available. No major changes are expected for model-year 2013.
Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan: Despite an effective model-year 2011 freshening, these qualify as the oldest minivans in our group. They nonetheless acquit themselves well on the road, compete solidly for room and features, and are hard to beat on price. That last asset is especially true of the Grand Caravan, which is aimed at minivan buyers looking to spend under $30,000 or so. The 2013 Town & Country will remain essentially the same as the Grand Caravan beneath the skin but feature upscale trim and luxury amenities to justify its $30,000-plus starting prices. Both employ a V-6 that should perform stronger than its 282-horsepower rating suggests. But ride and handling are admirable. Fuel economy should remain 17/25 mpg city/highway, 20 combined. Model-year 2015 could see Chrysler Group shelve either the Grand Caravan or Town & Country, though one could be reconfigured as a crossover SUV.
Nissan Quest: Nissan knows it isn’t going to challenge Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, or Dodge for minivan sales leadership, so it’s free to appeal to non-traditionalists with the Quest. Actually, this front-drive seven seater doesn’t break any basic minivan rules but it does go its own way with spaceship styling cues, seats that fold into but not beneath the floor, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of a conventional automatic. The result is a very refined and rather fun-to-drive rig. The seat-folding strategy creates a load floor that’s flat, but higher off the ground than most. The CVT works with a 260-horsepower V-6 to deliver responsive acceleration and laudable fuel-economy ratings of 19/24 mpg city/highway, 21 mpg combined. And Quest is priced competitively with similarly equipped rivals, at roughly $29,000-$43,000. As for the styling … it grows on you.