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.

Best Value

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

Performance

Toyota Sienna

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.

Style

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?

Toyota Sienna

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.