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Old 12-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #1
BOY
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Default First Drive: 2011 Toyota Sienna tries to make the minivan cool



http://www.autoblog.com/2009/12/18/2...a-first-drive/

Quote:
...The SE takes the same basic components and stiffens everything up with a quick software update that makes the vehicle much more driver-oriented. Coupled with the suspension changes that make up the SE package, we can honestly say that the SE was an eye-opener. All of the new Sienna models handled and rode reasonably well with very little body roll, squat or dive. The SE, on the other hand, felt almost tossable, although bumps were less dampened. How'd Toyota pull it off? Chief Engineer Kazuo Mori is an autocrosser.

After 17 years stuck designing commercial vehicles and minivans instead of his favored sports cars, Mori-san says he finally decided to hide a sports car under a minivan to slip it past the guys at corporate. He says he had to fight to get the SE into the lineup as the higher ups didn't think it made sense. Of course, it doesn't make sense. It's a minivan with carbon fiber bits inside, a lowered stiff suspension and a body kit. And that's exactly why we like it. Even if it doesn't sell in any significant quantity, the mere fact that it exists automatically elevates the entire range. While we'd probably choose a Sienna Limited for its lounge seats, widescreen monitor, dual sunroofs and all the bells and whistles, we would still want the SE's stiffer suspension and firmer steering as an option....
Hope for Toyota! They put an autocrosser in charge of minivan development
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:10 PM   #2
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can't wait to see what they do with the rest of the line-up...
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:24 PM   #3
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Hope for Toyota! They put an autocrosser in charge of minivan development
Well.... I wouldn't go that far. It's not like Toyota recruited a renowned autocrosser to make minivans. The guy was hired right out of college, hoping to work on sports cars, and never got the assignment he wanted. After 17 years, he's still making minivans. Obviously they are using him for PR now that they have an "SE" model, but it's not like the guy wasn't around when they made all the previous super boring Siennas.
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:09 AM   #4
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You can only get the fancy body, big wheels, sporty suspension, and chubby tires with the underpowered four-banger. Weak.
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:51 AM   #5
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You can only get the fancy body, big wheels, sporty suspension, and chubby tires with the underpowered four-banger. Weak.


You can't get the SE w/ AWD, but you can, in fact, get it w/ the V6.
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Old 12-19-2009, 03:31 AM   #6
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Oh really. That's contrary to what was posted on Jalopnik when they drove it.
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Old 12-19-2009, 09:43 AM   #7
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the 4 banger actually has decent pep. It's not going to break and land speed records, but it accelerated much better than I expected with 7 adults in it.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:18 PM   #8
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Weird choice. We might think it's sorta cool to offer these things in a minivan, but I can't think of anyone I know who would want these things in one and seriously make the purchase. Then again, I have some fun memories from HS sending my friend's van airborne off dips and doing donuts in the wet grass at night.

-Mike
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:28 PM   #9
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Facepalm.

Why do this to a minivan?
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:34 AM   #10
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None of it matters. If Toyota is trying to make the minivan appeal to men, they need to remember that minivans are for men who have given up on life and are simply waiting to die.
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:45 PM   #11
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looks like it got kicked in the face

either that or it has an underbite
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:44 PM   #12
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:12 PM   #13
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None of it matters. If Toyota is trying to make the minivan appeal to men, they need to remember that minivans are for men who have given up on life and are simply waiting to die.
True. So this is currently one of the sportiest handling models in Toyota's line-up? Wow, that is just sad. I cannot wait to see the marketing campaign for this van. Who wants sporty handling in a minivan anyway? "Yeah, we had to get helmets for all the kids so mom can take corners the way she always wanted."
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:33 PM   #14
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Wow.... I didn't think this (or any) minivan would crack at the 4500 lb CW.

I'm not a minivan fan but I won't deny that the SE "looks" nice.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:50 AM   #15
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I have spent most of my life hating minivans, mostly because it was my high school ride and the suspension is like riding on jello. But I have to say that minivans probably have better potential than SUVs for performance. That and they actually have a purpose, whereas people buy SUVs for no reason whatsoever it seems. So I say bring on the performance minivans, and down with SUVs.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:21 AM   #16
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None of it matters. If Toyota is trying to make the minivan appeal to men, they need to remember that minivans are for men who have given up on life and are simply waiting to die.
And some would say that those driving sporty/sports cars are insecure in how other people view them or are striving to get back their wasted youth. I truly feel sorry for those that are defined by their automobile. It is a tool for 95% of people... nothing more.

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True. So this is currently one of the sportiest handling models in Toyota's line-up? Wow, that is just sad. I cannot wait to see the marketing campaign for this van. Who wants sporty handling in a minivan anyway? "Yeah, we had to get helmets for all the kids so mom can take corners the way she always wanted."
So, Toyota gets **** for being too vanilla, but when they try to make a car that is typically super vanilla into something that is somewhat pleasurable to drive, they get **** again? If I had 3 kids, the SE would be at the top of my list. Just because I have to choose something practical to tote the family around doesn't mean that I should be banned to driving something floaty and unresponsive.

For example, you drive a 5 door hatchback. To a Corvette driver, that isn't sporty. Why would Subaru bother making a 305 hp version? Keep the HP for a real sports car and stop wasting it on a compromised economy car.

Seeing as you are member number 12, you probably had a 2.5RS. Why did subaru bother with the WRX look when it had a ****ty Outback engine and a soggy suspension with tiny swaybars? I had a 2001 2.5RS for 4 years. It was complete rice w/ the scoops and wings and that lumpy, slow revving engine. Why bother?
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:33 AM   #17
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If I had 3 kids, the SE would be at the top of my list.
Really? REALLY? A rougher feeling minivan would be at the top of your list?

A sporty station wagon I can understand, it serves the same purpose but would take better to a tighter suspension. But a minivan? Those who buy them aren't looking for a cornering monster.

The dodge ram srt-10 makes more sense.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
And some would say that those driving sporty/sports cars are insecure in how other people view them or are striving to get back their wasted youth. I truly feel sorry for those that are defined by their automobile. It is a tool for 95% of people... nothing more.
100% dead on.

If I had a few kids, there's really no other vehicle to drive. Best cargo/passenger space, best utility in terms of egress/ingress, and usually much cheaper than an SUV with equivalent seating, and better fuel economy to boot.

But the main thing: I noticed a few years ago, but damn if they don't load minivans with outrageously incredible features for the money nowadays. Load up a premium Sienna, Quest, or Sedona. For under $35K (plus usually awesome incentives/rebates on vans) you're looking at a V6 7+ passenger vehicle with a buttload of space, leather, power everything you can think of, heated 8-way power seats, three-zone climate control, navigation+info center, automatic HIDs, moonroof, backup camera, CD/MP3/Satellite radio with bluetooth, rear DVD entertainment center, etc. etc. etc.

Seriously, the amount of tech they jam in these things nowadays for so cheap makes luxury car prices look totally stupid. I'm not saying I'd buy one over a luxury car, but if you have a family, a minivan is the place to be nowadays. But it's not "cool" anymore so retards would rather go blow more money on an SUV that's inferior in nearly every way as a family hauler.

Last edited by Skunkers; 12-23-2009 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:43 AM   #19
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Wow, looks like a Corolla humped the new Caravan.

As for ride quality, the last thing that rushed soccer moms (and dads) need is a minivan that makes them feel more confident at speed. I see enough of those damn land-yachts flying past me with the driver yammering on the phone and 150 kids in the back getting a head start on WW3. I do not need to have that driver now feeling confident that they can go that fast and more safely, because they will.

That being said, anyone who has driven the previous generation of Dodge Crap-a-van knows just how much of a marshmellow that thing was, and could be downright frightening if any sudden maneuvers were attempted. The old Sienna handled loads better though, so not really anything that a minivan needs to improve on.
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Old 12-23-2009, 07:37 AM   #20
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Really? REALLY? A rougher feeling minivan would be at the top of your list?

A sporty station wagon I can understand, it serves the same purpose but would take better to a tighter suspension. But a minivan? Those who buy them aren't looking for a cornering monster.

The dodge ram srt-10 makes more sense.
A sporty suspension doesn't necessarily mean brutally stiff. I assumed this would take it from the standard floaty suspension to something that felt a little more planted, with a little more damping, and a little thicker swaybars. A "euro tuned suspension" if you will.

A 5500 lb, 2WD, single cab, viper V10 equipped, 22" wheel'd trunk makes more sense than a minivan with a tweaked suspension?
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:48 AM   #21
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I think this will do well for Toyota and minivans. Honda has already been marketing their minivans as cool. If Toyota can make their minivans handle and feel the same as a large sedan and look sporty, it could really impact the market. Families needs space and practicality, but want sportiness and handling with decent acceleration. The minivan doesn't need to actually perform well on the track, it just needs to feel like it could perform well on the track. Throw in AWD and the minivans would give large crossovers a run for their money.

I think minivans will make a come back in the next 5-10-15 years (ppl are waiting longer to get married and have kids) when kids raised in minivans become parents themselves and appreciate the practicalness of the package. Already, the large crossover market is basically ppl who want a minivan, but don't want to be categorized as a soccer mom. Make the minivan cool and families will come back to them since they are the most practical package.

On the Mazda side, many are clamoring for a Mazdaspeed version of the Mazda5 which has the same chassis as the Mazda3 and Mazdaspeed3.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:43 AM   #22
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And some would say that those driving sporty/sports cars are insecure in how other people view them or are striving to get back their wasted youth.
And, in their oversimplification they might be trying to cover for the fact they are either stuck driving minivans or stuck loving them. Stupid retorts to stupid retorts could go on forever.
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I truly feel sorry for those that are defined by their automobile.
Not wanting to trade a modicum of performance for what is essentially a suburban box truck does not mean one is defined by his or her automobile.

I truly feel sorry for people who need to make posts like the one at http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...6&postcount=16, an obvious and weak attempt to try to turn the tables and make someone look inferior for his/her position.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:59 AM   #23
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On the Mazda side, many are clamoring for a Mazdaspeed version of the Mazda5 which has the same chassis as the Mazda3 and Mazdaspeed3.
Somebody did this already. Though I think it would be awesome with a factory warranty, but the "transplanted" model that was created from a wrecked MS3 wasn't impressive at all.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:20 PM   #24
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Not wanting to trade a modicum of performance for what is essentially a suburban box truck does not mean one is defined by his or her automobile.
Oh god you are sooooo hard core. Not even a "modicum of performance"? Really? So I expect you drive nothing less than a Caterham right?

quentin's response was to an immature tool who made the following statement.
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they need to remember that minivans are for men who have given up on life and are simply waiting to die.
Seriously? This is NOT defining people based on what they drive? Are you ****ting me?
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post

So, Toyota gets **** for being too vanilla, but when they try to make a car that is typically super vanilla into something that is somewhat pleasurable to drive, they get **** again? If I had 3 kids, the SE would be at the top of my list. Just because I have to choose something practical to tote the family around doesn't mean that I should be banned to driving something floaty and unresponsive.

For example, you drive a 5 door hatchback. To a Corvette driver, that isn't sporty. Why would Subaru bother making a 305 hp version? Keep the HP for a real sports car and stop wasting it on a compromised economy car.

Seeing as you are member number 12, you probably had a 2.5RS. Why did subaru bother with the WRX look when it had a ****ty Outback engine and a soggy suspension with tiny swaybars? I had a 2001 2.5RS for 4 years. It was complete rice w/ the scoops and wings and that lumpy, slow revving engine. Why bother?
I think you missed my point. The sad part is that Toyota has no current sports cars in their line up. (I know they are planning on the rwd cooperation w/ Subaru in the future.) To make a minivan (typically the most safety conscious and smooth riding vehicle in a line-up) the most sporty handling and market it as a performance vehicle is ridiculous. It will serve such a small market. I agree with you that anyone who wants performance and has to have a minivan would go that route, but it is such a small niche.

The new STI definitely does not look as sporty as a Corvette, but it is derived from a rally car and has excellent performance. Any Corvette driver who does a track day can attest to this.

I know you are playing devil's advocate with the 2.5RS. Obviously, Subaru was cautious with bringing that vehicle to the U.S. market and it was released in very small numbers. At the time it provided pretty good performance compared to its competitors like the Nissan Sentra SE-R and the VW GTI VR6. It ended up drawing a ton of attention to Subaru and was a big reason the WRX was such a hit and membership of Nasioc exploded.

I don't think we are going to see a huge cult following of better handling minivans that people want to tune and race like what Subaru has become.
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