Despite the hubbub over crossovers and SUVs, minivans still rule the roost when it comes to practical family transportation. The 2020 Toyota Sienna is a case in point – it can seat eight, return decent gas mileage, haul home nearly anything, and still fit in the garage. Those shopping for the utmost in suburban practicality can look again to the Sienna.
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2020 Toyota Sienna Overview
What's New for 2020
The Sienna enters 2020 unchanged.
Choosing Your Toyota Sienna
The common denominator of every Sienna trim is a 3.5-liter V6 which puts out 293 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission normally routes this power to the front wheels, but all-wheel drive is available on most trims. The Sienna is the only minivan offering such a drivetrain; the competing vans from Kia, Honda, and Chrysler are all exclusively front-wheel drive.
Opt for a front-wheel-drive model and gas mileage checks in at an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 combined – not a bad showing for a vehicle that tips the scales at 4,300 pounds. Mileage drops to 18/24/20 mpg (city/highway/combined) with all-wheel drive.
Since 2018, Toyota has been putting their suite of active-safety and driver-assistance packages in all their vehicles, and the Sienna is no exception. Every trim gets the full helping of safety technology, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams.
The Sienna is available in eight trims:
With lots of variants and hardly any available packages, its all about picking the right trim with the 2020 Toyota Sienna. We're partial to the SE, as the extra bit of verve added by the sport-tuned suspension and steering should make this breadbox more enjoyable to drive. If that's not your thing, the XLE is the way to go, as it is chock-full of useful features and yet doesn't break the bank.
2020 Toyota Sienna Review
Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.
You can interpret our ratings in the following way:
5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.
4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.
3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.
2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.
1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.
- Smooth V6
- Standard auto emergency braking
- Decent fuel economy
- Only minivan offering AWD
- Starting to seriously feel dated
- No hybrid option
- Still no Android Auto
An old-school approach. Some may call minivans old-fashioned. The 2020 Toyota Sienna would be inclined to agree. It hasn’t changed much in the decades it’s been on sale, but it still offers stolid minivan practicality.
Plunk a 2020 Sienna next to one from 2005 and it would be easy to see the family resemblance. The shape has changed little, and the interior is starting to feel dated as well. Up against stylish (well, stylish for a minivan) rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica and the Honda Odyssey, the Sienna looks like yesteryear.
But the Sienna’s fundamental mission hasn’t changed, and that means impressive carrying ability and a long list of features. Again, the Sienna is a traditionalist – you won’t find the built-in vacuum of the Odyssey or the stowable seats of the Pacifica, but you will find healthy standard features and enough customization to suit most buyers.
Plentiful power, but gas only. One of the Sienna’s main virtues is its heart. Under the hood is a refined 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 296 horsepower of smooth power. Paired with a competent eight-speed automatic transmission, it’s willing and unobtrusive.
It gets decent mileage for a minivan, too. The EPA estimates that the Sienna will do up to 19 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 combined. That’s on par with competitors.
But given Toyota’s powertrain expertise, we’re surprised to not see a Sienna hybrid variant. Chrysler offers a hybrid version of the Pacifica, and Toyota themselves offer a hybrid Highlander.
All-weather versatility. Where the Sienna is the undisputed champ is in inclement weather. It’s currently the only minivan on the market that offers all-wheel drive. The system is available on six of the seven trims, and it readies the Sienna for mountain excursions or wintertime commutes.
The Sienna’s other superlative is interior space. The cabin boasts a staggering 164.4 cubic feet of space with the seats removed. Even with all three rows in place, the Sienna can hold 39.1 cubic feet behind the seats. That’s a feat few three-row SUVs can match, and it makes a difference with a car full of baseball gear.
The third row is even large enough to seat adults. The rest of the seating isn’t shabby either, with optional second-row captain’s chairs that recline and come with footrests. It’s not the most modern interior, but it's comfortable.
The seats can be removed, but it takes some labor to do so. Many buyers will never need it, but there are times when we’re grateful for stowable rows like those in the Chrysler Pacifica.
Half the safety story. Like the rest of Toyota’s lineup, the Sienna benefits from comprehensive technology. A 7-inch touchscreen controls infotainment and offers Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. A plethora of USB ports keep devices charged, and a dual-screen entertainment system with a BluRay player is optional. The only regrettable absences are Android Auto and onboard wi-fi.
Safety tech is plentiful as well. All Siennas roll off the line with a full suite of active safety features including automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Oddly enough, it’s the fundamentals where the Sienna falters. It received decent but uninspiring scores from IIHS crash testing, leaving it short of the Top Safety Pick category (which both the Odyssey and the Pacifica earned).
Final thoughts. The 2020 Toyota Sienna ticks most of the boxes minivan buyers care about, with one big ace up its sleeve. All-wheel drive is a trick no other minivan can match, and that alone may win the Sienna a following. Exceptional interior space and a strong powertrain don’t hurt.
But the Sienna’s competition is stronger than ever, and the Toyota isn't without flaws. The Pacifica proved that minivans don’t have to look boring, and the Odyssey offers a more modern package. In a car intended for family duty, middling crash scores are a liability (though standard safety tech helps).
The Sienna makes sense for the right buyer. For families in snowy climates or those who value cavernous space, it’s a compelling choice. For everyone else, the Sienna deserves a look, but don't be afraid to shop around.
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