Several manufacturers dropped out of the minivan market over the past decade, but Toyota remains a steadfast competitor with its Sienna. The only U.S. minivan with the option of all-wheel drive, the Sienna confidently defies the stigma of suburban minivan ownership, which has declined substantially but hardly disappeared.

Pricing and Equipment

Prices start at $28,850 (plus destination charge) for the budget-priced L edition, which is surprisingly well-equipped, including three-zone climate control and a rearview camera. Sienna comes in four additional trim levels: LE, a sportier SE, XLE, and top-of-the-line Limited. Except for upgraded multimedia features, the Sienna is unchanged for 2016, following a mild facelift last year.

Seating either seven or eight occupants, depending on second-row seat choice, the Sienna has a 3.5-liter V6 that develops 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission couples to front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available for three trim levels.

Standard Sienna L (base model) equipment includes:

  • Manual sliding side doors
  • Power windows, locks, and mirrors
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Tilt/telescope steering column
  • Automatic headlights
  • Touchscreen radio
  • Foldaway third-row seat
  • Eight airbags
  • Seventeen-inch alloy wheels

Performance Pros

Toyota Sienna
  • Handling prowess beats that of most other minivans, and quick steering makes for satisfying urban maneuverability.
  • With the standard Tow Prep Package, a Sienna can pull a 3,500-pound trailer.
  • All-wheel drive is available, if only on LE, XLE, and Limited trim levels. AWD is a wise choice for drivers in regions with harsh winter weather.

Performance Cons

  • Highway behavior is good, but not necessarily the best of the lot.
  • Nobody expects sporty behavior or energizing driving characteristics from a minivan, but the sport-tuned SE version feels almost the same as its mates.

Interior Pros

Toyota Sienna
  • Visibility is great through big side windows, and a nearly flat, low cowl ensures fine views ahead. Front occupants also get plenty of storage compartments.
  • Headroom is plentiful. Sliding second-row seats permit huge legroom, though getting into the second row takes a bit of a climb.
  • Large, well-marked climate-control knobs sit beneath the central touchscreen.
  • The gearshift lever is conveniently mounted right next to the climate knobs, within easy reach; and it’s simple to tell which gear you’re in.

Interior Cons

  • Short driver's seat bottoms affect thigh support, which is good but a little too obtrusive. Seat bolstering is on the mild side, too.
  • In eight-passenger models, the center position in the second row is low and narrow.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

High equipment content in each trim level is welcome news. In addition, the Sienna conveys a highly practical feel, as well a strong sense of substantial construction, in accord with Toyota’s reputation for reliability.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Nothing-special performance is easy enough to live with in a minivan, but gas mileage is nothing to boast about. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18/25 mpg (city/highway) with front-drive, and only 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. Nissan and Honda front-drive minivans are estimated at 27-28 mpg in highway driving.

The Bottom Line

In addition to being one of the most popular minivans, Sienna is among the most spacious and accommodating vehicles of any sort. With the second-row seat stowed and third row removed, you get up to 150 cubic feet of space. A choice of five trim levels means there should be a Sienna for every sort of likely customer.