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Toyota Pulls Wraps Off New Sienna

Automaker opts for online unveiling.

by on Jul.17, 2014

Working with three social media-savvy parents, Toyota launched its 2015 Sienna minivan on the internet.

It isn’t a good time for minivan fans. Two decades ago, they were the hippest things on wheels, just about every maker racing into the segment with new products loaded up with the hottest new features, whether juicebox holders, stowaway seats or rear entertainment systems. But with demand sliding, a growing number of makers are pulling out or trimming their minivan lines, Chrysler soon set to abandon the Dodge Grand Caravan model.

But don’t count Toyota out of the market. Quite the contrary, the maker revealing an updated version of the popular Sienna mom-mobile that introduces an intercom system so parents won’t have to scream at the kids battling in the back seats.

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In what might be a telling move, rather than reveal the 2015 Toyota Sienna at an auto show or some other traditional event, the Japanese maker pulled the wraps off digitally, with an online unveiling that showed off its potential, the maker explained, “through the eyes of three creative, social media-savvy parents. In a series of custom videos, these parents bring to life the everyday and sometimes unexpected adventures possible in and around the Sienna.” (more…)

Typo Triggers Toyota Recall

Misprint will impact 200,000 minivans.

by on Dec.06, 2011

Toyota recalls 200,000 Sienna minivans.

It’s been a tough couple years for Toyota, the maker being slammed by safety issues as well as production shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March.

But just as the maker was hoping to get things back to normal — with factories pouring out the product and Toyota’s latest line-up landing on the top of the quality charts – it seems the maker will have to recall yet another 200,000 vehicles.

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But the latest problem is the result of a typo rather than a specific defect with the 2011 and 2012 Toyota Sienna minivan line, reports the Detroit News.


First Drive: 2011 Toyota Sienna SE

All minivan and proud of it.

by on Dec.10, 2010

The 2011 Toyota Sienna SE has a sporty vibe. Will it encourage would-be crossover shoppers to consider a minivan?

Maybe they’ve gone too far, this time. In the never-ending attempt to make the minivan cool, Toyota has taken the Sienna over the top.

At least it doesn’t look like a minivan trying to look like an SUV. Nope, this box is minivan through and through. But hung on that box are all sorts of air dams, spoilers, creases and shapes. The result is a minivan that looks like it had a makeover by one of those TV vehicle makeover shows.

To be fair, this is the SE  – sport edition in Toyota nomenclature. It’s meant to be sportier and edgier. For those buyers who can’t see themselves driving this hipstermobile, Toyota offers three other trim levels – base, LE and XLE – which have less razz matazz.

At least Toyota is making an effort. Minivan sales have lagged for years while buyers opt for sexier SUVs and crossovers. But for most buyers, minivans would actually make the most sense because they offer more space, cost less, handle better and some get better fuel mileage.

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SE or not, Toyota has given the new Sienna added visual interest with arcing creases, a shapely grille and bigger wheels.

For the core group of minivan buyers, exterior styling hardly matters. They care about what’s inside. On that front, Toyota made some interesting choices, some good, some not so good. More in a moment.

First Look: 2011 Toyota Sienna

Making the minivan cool?

by on Dec.02, 2009

Toyota launches its 3rd-generation Sienna minivan and aims to make gains in a market other brands have abandoned.

Toyota launches its 3rd-generation Sienna minivan and aims to make gains in a market other brands have abandoned, including GM and Ford.

Soccer Mom wagons, rugrat haulers, the minivan may be one of the most functional and efficient forms of transportation on the market, but it just doesn’t get much respect.  Now, Toyota is out to change that with the third generation of its Sienna people mover.

Based on the radical F3R concept that first debuted in Los Angeles two years ago, the 2011 Toyota Sienna doesn’t disguise its purpose, as some manufacturers tried, in years past – recall the unloved Pontiac Montana?  But it’s a cleaner, more stylish vehicle than the classic two-box family hauler, with some nice detailing like the virtually invisible rails for the van’s sliding doors.

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Some question Toyota’s commitment to what they see as a dying segment; other makers, notably Ford and General Motors have pulled out.  But that, insists the Japanese maker, is precisely why it expects to do well.

“While the minivan segment is shrinking, other manufacturers are leaving the segment,” says Bob Carter, general manager of the Toyota division, “and that’s why we see an opportunity.”