The Toyota Sienna continues to impress and remains one of the best-selling minivans. This accomplished people mover provides room for seven or eight and is an excellent alternative to an SUV. The Sienna offers superior cabin space, versatility, and is equipped with the latest technologies.
While each of its competitors offer front-wheel drive only, the Toyota Sienna provides optional all-wheel drive, making it an ideal upgrade for people living in the Snowbelt.
What's New for 2017
The current and third-generation Toyota Sienna was introduced in 2011 and was significantly updated in 2015. The big change for 2017 is the addition of a direct shift eight-speed automatic transmission along with a new 3.5-liter V6 engine. The result is an approximate 10 percent boost in overall performance along with a slight increase in fuel economy.
Choosing Your Toyota Sienna
All 2017 Siennas are powered by a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 296 horsepower and 263 foot-pounds of torque. It comes paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the previous six-speed.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available on the LE, XLE and Limited trims. Stow the second-row seat and remove the third row and you’ll have generous room for carrying your yard sale finds. Visit your local home improvement store and you’ll find ample room to haul 4x8 plywood panels.
All models are equipped with eight airbags, including a driver’s side knee airbag. Toyota also provides a suite of standard safety features under its Toyota Star Safety System umbrella, including smart stop technology. This model pulls up to 3,500 pounds. Its fuel economy comes in at an EPA-rated 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, an improvement of 1 and 2 mpg, respectively over last year.
Additional features in the SE, XLE, and Limited levels are bundled under a premium package. Available accessories include an on-board vacuum, a dual USB power port rear seat charge station, and a DVD system for non-moon roof vehicles.
In the Sienna, Toyota also offers a line of mobility vehicles. The auto access right middle row seat pivots and moves outside the vehicle, providing ease of access to a walker or a wheelchair. Unlike some competing models, the mobility upgrades are handled at the factory level.
The 2017 Toyota Sienna takes on a few key changes, including a more powerful engine and an eight-speed auto transmission. While these are welcome improvements, is this enough to remain relevant against newer rivals from Chrysler, Kia, and Honda?
Pricing and Equipment
With a starting price of $30,710, the Sienna's base price is a little higher than some, but it rewards buyers with standard features, like:
Seventeen-inch alloy wheels
Tri-zone climate control
Siri Eyes Free
Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
3.5-liter V-6 with 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque
The base L trim only comes in a seven-passenger variety. The eight-passenger variety starts in the LE trim, which starts at $33,500.
While hybrid engines make their way into the minivan realm, the 2017 Sienna stays the course with a traditional gasoline engine, albeit an improved one.
Gains 30 horsepower — with 296 ponies, the Sienna effectively outguns Chrysler and Honda.
The standard eight-speed transmission shifts smoothly.
It’s the only minivan with available all-wheel drive, giving the Sienna an advantage over the competition in areas where the roads get slippery.
The Sienna’s chassis delivers a great ride.
The Sienna’s handling suffers due to its high center of gravity.
All-wheel drive drags the fuel economy to just 17 miles per gallon city, 25 highway, and 20 combined.
The SE trim's tighter suspension and larger wheels are likely to fall on deaf ears.
Plenty of standard equipment, even in the base model.
Easy-to-access third row that also has room for adults.
The removable second row reveals 150 cubic feet of cargo room.
Plenty of storage for small items.
The second row doesn’t fold into the floor like some competitors.
Road noise finds its way into the cabin.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
A lot of research went into designing the interior. The seats are extremely comfortable, there's plenty of cargo space, the dash is nicely laid out, and the controls are angled toward the driver.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
With a base price starting from $30,710 and the range-topping Limited reaching $44,900, the Sienna isn't a cheap proposition.
The Bottom Line
The Toyota Sienna delivers plenty to its owners, including a potent V6 engine, a great ride, plenty of features, and a cavernous cargo area. However, its pricing is a little prohibitive, and its lack of a fold-in-floor second row may deter some buyers.
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