Normally, a manufacturer announcing that it will drop a four cylinder model in favor of a six-cylinder variant would lead to wailing and gnashing of teeth, to those of a green disposition.

With the 2013 Toyota Sienna minivan however, it's no big deal losing the unpopular 2.7-liter four-cylinder, as the 3.5-liter V-6 already made the same 21 mpg combined.

Few buyers are likely to care then, particularly as the V-6 was also a better highway car, at 25 mpg, 1 mpg better than the four-banger. And with 266 horsepower, it's always had the advantage when it comes to hauling people and their luggage.

With the four-cylinder gone, buyers can still enjoy the option of all-wheel drive, the new easy-clean fabric seats, three-zone climate control and other features. The Sienna range kicks off at $26,450.

Still, there'd be even more to shout about if Toyota introduced a truly fuel-efficient model to the Sienna range, to fill a glaring efficiency hole in the minivan market.

Both small-car buyers and wagon buyers now have Prius models to cut their gas bills, so why not an even larger model? It's not like there are no engines to choose from, with 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter six-cylinder hybrid drivetrains in the Toyota and Lexus ranges.

Still, if Toyota can drop its smallest engine without dropping gas mileage, then we can't complain too much...


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