2008 Toyota Sienna Interior
With passenger space for seven or eight and plenty of configurable cargo room, the Sienna, reports U.S. News auto reviewer Rick Newman, has "a variety of seating options" that "accommodates nearly any mix of kids, grandparents, pets, teammates, sports gear, musical instruments, and science projects."
The Sienna can seat either seven or eight passengers. Configured for seven, the second row consists of two captain's chairs. Configured for eight, it consists of a bench. Throughout the cabin, says MSN, the seats offer "decent cushioning and good support." NewCars.com reports, "Taller drivers will substantially enjoy the extra head room in the Toyota Sienna's front cabin compared to the average minivan." From the cockpit, "the seating position in relation to the driver's surrounding is excellent," according to The Auto Channel.
Both second-row configurations offer convenient features. The three-way split bench "allows you to pull the middle seat 13 inches closer to the driver to provide an easier reach to a pint-sized child safety-seat occupant," writes Edmunds, while the captain's chairs "can be pushed together to create a bench seat." "Bench or buckets," decides Consumer Guide, the second-row "seats seem long-haul comfortable." MSN asserts, "There's plenty of room for eight adults with a middle-row bench seat, or for seven with second-row bucket seats."
Even the third row is accessible and accommodating, reviewers find. Consumer Guide says that the "firm third-row bench is kid-size but reasonably accessible," thanks to second-row seats that "double-fold to open" a "fairly wide passage." Edmunds reports, "Third-row seat room is a little tight, but even adults won't be completely unhappy back there on short trips."
Reviewers find the Sienna's interior to be feature-packed no matter the trim level. At higher trim levels, however, the features list "approaches Lexus-like," according to Automobile Magazine. Kelley Blue Book claims, "Each trim receives a great standard equipment list." As for options, Forbes points out, "A host of advanced features are available, some of which were previously seen only on high-end luxury cars," but cautions, "The Sienna's price can quickly run well into the luxury-car range if you pile on the bells and whistles, especially since many are offered only in costly option packages." Consumer Guide likes the "clear gauges" and "guess-free minor controls," but also notices that "a few switches are scattered out of easy reach." Reviewers particularly like the side-door power windows, standard on the LE, XLE and Limited trims but unavailable on the base CE trim, that, as Kelley Blue Book puts it, "allow passengers to enjoy as much fresh air as they like." U.S. News auto reviewer Rick Newman notes one annoyance, a key fob that "allows you to remotely operate the electric side doors and the automatic tailgate -- but evidently only when a bunch of other settings are just so. I got frustrated pushing the buttons and wondering why nothing was happening."
Stereo and Entertainment
The Sienna's base stereo is a six-speaker system with a single-disc in-dash CD player and MP3/WMA capability. XM radio is available, as is a stereo "with ten speakers, including a dedicated center channel for imaging and a specialized dual voice subwoofer for deep smooth base response" that The Auto Channel claims will "fill the Sienna with rich sound." In the back, reports MSN, "An optional DVD rear-seat entertainment system with two wireless headphones and swing-down screen can keep rear occupants occupied."
The Sienna's navigation system, unavailable on the CE and LE trims, draws mixed reviews. Consumer Guide finds that the "navigation absorbs most audio controls, complicating what should be simple adjustments." Edmunds concedes, "We didn't travel any great distance using the nav system," but claims, "We did allow it to guide us around town and found it easy to operate with simple controls." A reviewer for The Auto Channel, on the other hand, reports, "I'm not fond of this Toyota navigation system. We tried over and over to get it to accept the address of a B&B we wanted to check out. Twice we had the wrong region selected but had no way of knowing that. Once we had the right region we put in the address successfully but when we asked the system to guide us there it selected a different address without so much as a 'pardon me.'"
However, there are plenty of portable GPS navigation systems that get good reviews for accuracy, ease of use, and great convenience features. Check out our GPS reviews to learn more about the best stand-alone systems.
The Sienna offers good cargo space -- 148.9 cubic feet with the back rows folded down. With just the third row down, it offers 94.5 cubic feet, and with all seats up it offers 43.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row. Edmunds writes, "Whether it's soccer gear or science projects, the Sienna can accommodate." Consumer Guide points out that the "hideaway third-row seat is split for versatility," but notes that "folding the third row can be difficult for shorter passengers." MSN concurs: "The mechanics to make the seating fold down are different, with the Sienna requiring a bit of 'oomph' from me to get the seat down."
Small storage spaces are scattered generously throughout the cabin. U.S. News auto reviewer Rick Newman says, "There's a cupholder near virtually every surface you could conceivably rest your arm on. I tried to count all the storage compartments, but they're tucked away in so many unannounced recesses -- inside the door-mounted armrests, underneath the passenger seat -- that I was sure I'd missed a few." Edmunds reports, "We found the two gloveboxes, the large removable center console box and the 10 baggage hooks to be just the beginning of the hidden treasures found in the Sienna's nooks and crannies, and even noticed the handbag hook that designers placed on the side of the center stack in the passenger's footwell to prevent an unlatched purse from spilling its contents."