20th May 2012, 13:18
I am currently considering a 2012 Sienna, however am looking at the XLE as it's the only model to come with AWD. I live in Seattle where it rains (frequently) and cross the Cascades pass quite often, including in winter, so the AWD was attractive to me. Having a wife and 2 kids in the car, while pulled over on the side of the road, whilst laying in the snow to chain up isn't my idea of fun.
You seemed to think the the steering on the XLE was pretty bad - was it really that bad, or is the SE just that much better? Was it so bad it felt unsafe, or just not tight and responsive like the SE or Hondas?
Lastly, you said you were tall and it fit you fine; I am 6'2" and wanted to know your height as a gauge.
4th Jul 2012, 21:26
Steering on the clear had no feel and the suspension was floaty. Felt like an 80s Cadillac Seville with bad shocks. According to the dealer, any model can have AWD. If you think AWD will do anything for you in rain, think again. Maybe if you were drag racing. Just take some time to learn how to drive. Driving AWD is not without benefits, but only if you understand how to drive well or starting on glazed ice.
I am 6'2" as well.
Have had it a few more miles, still amazed by the car. So handy and comfortable. Handles so great for a van. Had the opportunity to drive a caravan recently. What a relative piece of junk. Hated it.
11th Jan 2013, 16:40
The XLE is not the only trim with AWD. The LE and Limited trims also have available AWD. We own a 2011 Limited AWD. Best van ever!
21st Mar 2015, 13:12
The issue with AWD is that there is no spare tire. Therefore, Toyota puts "run flat" tires on the AWD Sienna models. You can drive up to 100 miles with a flat, but you'll have to replace the tire at that point. You'll have fewer choices for tires, and if you read around people's comments, they don't like the way the Sienna handles with run-flats. With FWD, you can opt for tires with great traction if you wish, including ice tires like Blizzacks in the winter, and also have the standard Sienna spare tire available.