Toyota Sienna Reviews – Toyota Sienna Price, Photos, and Specs – Car and Driver
Car and Driver
Tested: two thousand seventeen Toyota Sienna AWD
2017 Toyota Sienna AWD
- Nov 2016
- By DON SHERMAN
- Photography By CHRIS AMOS
The minivan has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the auto world for most of its 33-year existence. Theories abound as to why the minivan never gets the respect it is worth despite being the world’s most versatile transportation appliance. Could it be because the “mini” appellation no longer fits, especially for the 200-inch-long Toyota Sienna reviewed here? Some blame the sliding doors. Others insist the beveled-shoebox form is sexless.
In spite of fond trip-to-the-zoo memories and joyous soccer expeditions, modern parents and kids tend to shun minivans. Sales are hardly above half what they were in 2005, in large part due to the seemingly inexorable rise of crossovers. Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, and Mazda all have abandoned the category. That said, six brands still fight for their share of the minivan activity, presently around 600,000 sales per year.
While Chrysler’s Pacifica is the greatest news in this category, Toyota hasn’t been twiddling its thumbs on the sidelines. The Sienna’s fresh four-cam Trio.5-liter V-6 (collective with the Toyota Highlander) is tooled with both port and direct fuel injection, boosting output from two hundred sixty six to a husky two hundred ninety six horsepower and torque from two hundred forty five to two hundred sixty three lb-ft. Variable intake and harass valve timing yield a 4700-rpm torque peak and a power curve that doesn’t crescendo until six thousand six hundred rpm (on its way to the 6750-rpm redline), which is fairly racy for a family hauler. The combination of Atkinson-cycle operation during cruising, an 11.8:1 compression ratio, and a fresh eight-speed wide-ratio automatic transmission boosts EPA mileage by one to two mpg (albeit the Sienna still trails the Pacifica by four mpg in EPA highway ratings). Keeping budgets in mind, this engine is glad with regular-grade fuel, and it’s impeccably behaved whether you’re running vapid out to hit the school bell or cruising to church on Sunday.
Despite carrying a few hundred more pounds than the competition (attributable to the segment-exclusive all-wheel-drive option on this test car), the two thousand seventeen Sienna moves to the head of the class in acceleration. The seven-second-flat run from zero to sixty mph and the 15.Four seconds and ninety two mph we measured in the quarter-mile for this Sienna Limited Premium flagship are records in our minivan ledger, if only by a few tenths of a 2nd. And only the Honda Odyssey matches this Toyota’s Three.8-second 30-to-50-mph passing acceleration. Alas, the fresh Sienna falls behind the Kia Sedona, the Nissan Quest, and last year’s Sienna in 50-to-70-mph passing because of the fresh automatic’s reluctance to kick down expeditiously. (Pressing the well-hidden ECT PWR button, which instructs the electronically managed transmission to rev higher before shifts, might help.)
Cornering and braking grip is core to every vehicle’s capability to avoid doom—assuming the driver has the skill to react decisively under duress. In this category, the improved Sienna runs at midpack, stopping from seventy mph in one hundred seventy seven feet with some fade evident after repeated brake use. While the 18-inch Bridgestone Turanza EL400-02 run-flat all-season tires dangle on reasonably well, the stability-control system intervenes to halt the cornering joy at 0.77 g, well below the Chrysler Pacifica’s 0.83 g. Treating aficionados might do better with the Sienna SE, which has a sport suspension and 19-inch wheels and tires as standard equipment.
We didn’t expect much driving enjoyment baked into the Sienna’s soul, and that’s precisely what we found. The steering wheel is a arm rest, not a communication conduit to the pavement. Except for tire noise, the rail is placid, as the Sienna mimics the Toyota Camry’s dedication to isolation.
Features and Options
Basic safety aids like stability and traction control, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, automatic headlamp high-beam control, a wide-angle backup camera, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are included with the top Limited Premium trim. More advanced features such as lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist will have to wait for the fourth-generation Sienna, due next year as a two thousand eighteen model.
On-demand all-wheel drive is a confidence builder for those who contend with snow and ice, but consider cautiously before checking that box, because it adds $1140 to the sticker and lowers the EPA combined mileage rating by two mpg.
Every minivan’s primary mission is serving as the school bus/cargo hauler that fits in your garage. This Sienna carries five in its two rearmost rows in spacious accommodations. (Other Siennas can seat as many as eight.) Entry through the large doors, past the second-row lounge chairs, is a snap, and the back bench is roomy enough for strapping high-schoolers. The middle seats slide fore and aft through twenty three inches of travel to maximize legroom when four adults are aboard.
Toyota’s reaction to Chrysler’s ingenious Stow ’n Go second-row seats is a third row that splits and drops into a floor well with ease. The second-row thrones are effortless to unlatch but strong to liquidate in prep for maximum cargo hauling. In that mode, the Sienna’s interior offers one hundred fifty cubic feet of space (nine more than the Pacifica) and enough clear floor space to haul four-by-eight-foot sheets of building material plane with the hatch latched.
Unluckily, this Sienna’s interior falls brief in other areas. To counter the competition’s surprise-and-delight features such as vacuum cleaners and beverage coolers, the Sienna offers a wide-angle mirror to monitor misbehavior and a means of scolding the kids through the audio system’s rear speakers. That’s not almost enough to cope with today’s child-rearing tribulations. While the Sienna’s fourteen beverage holders are adequate, the number of electrical connections—three 12-volt DC sockets, two 120-volt AC outlets, three auxiliary jacks, two USB ports, and one SD-card slot—won’t keep up with rising connectivity needs.
More disappointing is the low-grade interior in this $49,049 Sienna Limited Premium flagship. The seven chunks of wood-grain trim were obviously harvested from plastic trees, and the upholstery is leather leaning decidedly in the vinyl direction.
As always, the clever shopper has options. Pick a sub-$40,000 Sienna such as the SE to love Toyota’s well-earned reputation for safety and longevity without the Limited Premium’s exorbitant sticker. Go with the Honda Odyssey or the newer Chrysler Pacifica. Or wait a few months to see what Toyota’s U.S.-based design, engineering, and manufacturing team has contrived for the redesigned two thousand eighteen Sienna. Let’s hope it’s a top-flight minivan worthy of wholehearted admiration.
Highs and Lows
Accomplished family hauler, added power, improved fuel economy, segment-exclusive all-wheel drive.
It`s a minivan, not a journey to Hollywood.