It’s been a while since the Toyota Sienna saw a redesign, but it’s still a capable (and popular) minivan. The 2018 model brings some technology and safety upgrades along with a few cosmetic tweaks. A huge range of prices and features are available, which mean the Sienna can be everything from a budget buy to a tech-savvy palace.
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2018 Toyota Sienna Overview
What's New for 2018
While the innards remain the same, the 2018 Sienna gets a few styling changes that bring it more in line with the rest of Toyota’s models. The nose features an enlarged lower grill, and the sculpted gills formerly found on the SE trim are now standard on all models.
Internally, the cabin is now supposedly quieter, and all trims launch with new infotainment systems. 4G LTE wifi is now an option, plus a handful of USB ports and streaming capabilities on relevant models arrive for 2018. Perhaps most significantly, all models now come standard with Toyota’s “Safety Sense P” package, which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.
Choosing Your Toyota Sienna
Powering every Sienna is Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, which puts down 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is new to the Sienna as of 2017, and it brought welcome increases in both acceleration and fuel efficiency.
The Sienna also remains the only minivan on the market to boast available all-wheel drive. Go with the standard front-wheel drive, and the Sienna returns an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. The all-wheel-drive variant drops to 18 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined.
The 2018 model retains its old trim structure, which ranges from basic to extremely luxurious.
Minivans are fundamentally about carrying people, and they often get a little beat up as a result. Because the main safety features are standard on all models, there’s no reason to go too crazy on the options unless you need the convenience. We think the LE trim is the sweet spot, and it still gives you the ability to add AWD if you need it.
2018 Toyota Sienna Review
Eight years into its current generation and following a new V6 offering last year, the 2018 Toyota Sienna comes to market with a new front fascia and a slew of additional standard active safety features. But it lacks the Pacifica's stowaway second row, the new design touches are graceless, and fuel economy is hardly class-leading.
The 2018 Sienna ranges in price from $31,745 for one in base L trim to $49,610 for a range-topping all-wheel-drive Limited Premium model. A 3.5-liter V6 paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission is the only powertrain offering. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional on all but the base L trim. Advanced standard safety features include a rearview camera, pre-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
We'd skip the L and LE trims and head straight for the SE with its slightly better handling and easier-to-clean front perforated leather and second- and third-row leatherette seats. The SE also builds on LE upgrades (power sliding doors, privacy glass, power driver and front passenger seats) with dual power sliding doors and liftgate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, acoustic windshield glass, Bluetooth hands-free phone and voice command, remote keyless entry, 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED taillights, and daytime running lights.
Here's how we'd build it:
- Model: 2018 Toyota Sienna SE
- Engine: 3.5-liter V6
- Output: 296 hp / 263 lb-ft
- Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- MPG: 19 City / 27 Hwy
- Options: Preferred Package ($2,835, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, keyless push-button start, chrome outside door handles with touch lock/unlock, moonroof, driver easy speak rear speaker voice amplification, premium audio, satellite radio, navigation, Siri Eyes Free).
- Base Price:$37,985 (including the $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$40,820
The V6 offers decent acceleration with the eight-speed automatic featuring smooth, barely perceptible shifts. The steering is accurate and the Sienna tracks nicely, even at highway speeds. SE models handle a bit more firmly, but the ride remains composed, while AWD – a boon where the snow flies – improves winter driving, but not much more than FWD models equipped with winter tires.
At the same time, AWD models have no extra ground clearance, and fuel economy, though respectable, is hardly class-leading, while a hybrid model isn't offered.
The Sienna's revised sheetmetal is wrapped around a comfortable, configurable, versatile cabin with seating for eight adults in comfort and an additional 39.1 cubic feet of cargo. There's a low beltline for excellent driver visibility, a dashboard with big, intuitive buttons and knobs set close to the driver, and storage solutions that include a deep center console, twin glove boxes, and small car organizers galore.
At the same time, the new front fascia looks awkward from nearly every angle. Unlike the Chrysler Pacifica the heavy middle seats don't stow, and, while they fit together nicely, the interior materials fall short of its Honda and Chrysler rivals.
The Best and Worst Things
A long list of standard safety features across the entire lineup can't be matched by competitors. We only wish its "new look" wasn't so awkward.
Right For? Wrong For?
The Sienna's blend of comfort, versatility, and advanced safety features make it a compelling choice for most families.
At the same time, the Sienna is still a minivan, so we'd expect singles and empty nesters to stay away from it in droves.
The Bottom Line
Despite its odd new look and lack of a hybrid model, the Sienna's advanced safety features, versatile, roomy interior, and smooth transmission make it a solid choice in the minivan class.
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