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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Toyota Sienna
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17 City / 24 Highway
James FlammangJames Flammang, Contributing Editor -

Toyota’s Sienna remains one of the more popular minivans. Like rival minivan makers, Toyota continues to challenge the long-standing stigma of an unexciting vehicle made for transporting kids around suburban neighborhoods. That stigma, which emerged as SUVs, then crossover models, began to attract families, appears to be easing a bit lately. Whether that’s true or not, the Sienna demonstrates that minivans still rank among the most spacious and accommodating vehicles on the market. Toyota has one particular feature in its favor, too: Sienna is the only remaining minivan to be available with all-wheel drive.

What's New for 2016

Last year, the Sienna got a mild facelift. For 2016 it’s a carryover, with no significant changes except for an upgraded multimedia system with Siri Eyes Free mode. A new Connected Navigation Scout GPS App Link for Entune Audio Plus works with a smartphone to provide navigation functionality.

Toyota Sienna Side

Choosing Your Toyota Sienna

All Siennas contain a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque, driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Most are front-wheel drive models, but all-wheel drive is an option on LE, XLE and Limited trim levels. Seating capacity may be either seven or eight passengers, depending on trim level and chosen options. With the second-row seat stowed and third row removed, you get up to 150 cubic feet of space, sufficient to carry 4x8-foot plywood sheets.

Eight airbags are standard. With the standard Tow Prep Package, a Sienna can pull a 3,500-pound trailer, but it’s not the thriftiest. Fuel economy is estimated at 18 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive reduces each figure by 2 mpg.


Starting at $28,850, base L trim should appeal mostly to cost-conscious buyers, but it includes such desirable features as three-zone automatic climate control, a backup camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a satisfying list of power amenities. Seating for seven is provided. In keeping with its budget mission, however, no factory options are available.


The second-rung trim level steps up to features such as eight-passenger seating, dual power-sliding doors, and a 7-inch touchscreen radio display with HD radio and satellite radio. All-wheel drive, with 18-inch wheels, is available starting at this trim level.


SE trim stands out as something of a sporty package, designed in part to remove some of the stigma from minivan ownership. To that end, the SE adds 19-inch alloy wheels, a lowered sports suspension, smoke-look trim, and a unique body kit with side skirts, low-profile headlights, and distinctive rear light treatment. Also standard are LED running lights, sports instruments with a 4.2-inch color display, and black leather upholstery with heated front seats. A power moonroof is optional. So is an SE Premium Package that bundles blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and pushbutton start, a moonroof, and a high-resolution touchscreen for Entune Premium Audio with navigation and apps.


XLE boasts a few more convenience features, including leather upholstery, keyless entry and start, a fixed center console with woodgrain accents, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-path detection. In addition to the all-wheel drive option, a Premium group includes Blue-Ray rear-seat entertainment, rear parking assist, Driver Easy Speak, and Entune navigation and apps.


The top-trim Sienna Limited adds a dual moonroof, lounge-style second-row chairs, and front/rear parking sensors. Available extras include all-wheel drive, rear entertainment, and a technology package with radar-guided cruise control and a pre-collision system.

Premium editions of SE, XLE and Limited trim levels, with additional features, are available. An Outdoor Package includes roof-rack crossbars, all-weather mats, mud guards, and door sill protectors

CarsDirect Tip

Periodic upgrades have kept the Sienna competitive in the minivan category, despite a handful of rivals that are arguably nicer in appearance or road behavior. The SE version is an interesting choice in terms of bypassing the “uncool” factor that still marks these vehicles. For many buyers, though, an XLE with all-wheel drive is a comfortable all-weather machine that would score well against most crossovers in terms of both space and slick-pavement traction -- along with overall value, considering what’s included.

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