For minivan lovers and shoppers it may seem like bad news that the segment is shrinking but there’s a silver lining to that grey cloud. The cream, as they say, has risen to the top and the models left are better than ever.
|Engine: 3.5L V6 Transmission: 6-speed auto Horsepower: 266 hp at 6200 rpm Torque: 245 lb-ft at 4700 rpm Fuel Economy:18/25/21 FWD mpg (city/hwy/combined), 16/23/19 AWD mpg Starting Price: $29,485 (including destination). Cargo Behind 3rd Row: 39.1 cu-ft Cargo Behind 2nd Row: 87.1 cu-ft Cargo Behind 1st Row: 150 cu-ft (with seats removed)|
That’s perhaps nowhere more evident than with the Toyota Sienna.
Updated for 2015 the Sienna delivers what you expect from Toyota, namely features like utility, reliability and safety. But it’s also made a name for itself with dramatic styling and a luxurious interior, earning it the self-proclaimed title of the Swagger Wagon.
Traditionally minivans were bought out of necessity not desire. But with the introduction of the current generation family hauler Toyota has challenged that, and for good reason. When top-level versions cost as much as a luxury sedan, shouldn’t you actually want to own one and be proud to park it in your driveway?
To help make it even more attractive the 2015 Sienna gets new taillight design on all trims but the SE, a new headlight design on SE and Limited models with huge LED daytime running light strips and unique grilles on each trim level.
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More Luxury, More Features
But the real changes come to the interior. The glove box and driver’s side upper dash are now padded and there are new metallic trim bits throughout. Another addition are new interior color options including a beautiful Chestnut brown leather.
All models now get three-zone climate control, plus those controls are actually three-inches closer in easier reach of the driver.
There’s a new driver information display between the gauges, plus every Sienna gets either a 6.1 or 7-inch screen in the center stack with the Entune apps suite. The 7-inch monitor and surround on our Limited tester looked sleek and modern.
Limited models also get a heated steering wheel, something that really ought to be available on all grades. It’s impossible to get a kid into a car seat with gloves on, and in winter that wheel would help thaw your frozen fingers. With all the high-tech and luxury features packed into a Sienna, this should be standard on more models and an option on all of them.
What Everyone’s Talking About
From sliding doors to seats that fold flat into the floor, minivans have always strived to have a new trademark feature. Honda recently introduced a built-in vacuum on the Odyssey and Toyota is hoping to catch you attention with its latest innovation: Driver Easy Speak.
Yes, the added sound deadening makes for an even quieter cabin but in case your third row passengers still aren’t listening, this new feature lets you amplify your voice with the press of a button.
On top of all these updates, the Sienna continues to have the best 2nd row of any minivan and the 3rd row seats are by far the easiest to fold up and down.
So how does it drive? Well, the engine and transmission are exactly the same but Toyota did some minor spring and shock adjustments and added 142 new spot welds to the chassis to stiffen it up in an effort to improve driving dynamics. Surprisingly, it actually feels more responsive and less like a yacht.
The ride is a bit floatier than the Honda Odyssey but there’s a strong argument to be made for it – especially when your little ones have fallen asleep in the back. This Sienna just loves the highway miles.
More Safety Equipment
Safety is easily one of the biggest factors when it comes to buying a minivan so we’re pleased to report a long list of additions.
There’s now standard blind spot monitoring and a standard backup camera on all models plus higher trims get rear cross traffic alert. And with a new front passenger seat cushion airbag, there are now eight airbags standard, the most in the segment.
Models with the dynamic radar cruise control, itself something we’ve long been asking for in a minivan, also include a pre-collision warning system that can even apply the brakes if it detects an impending crash.
2015 Toyota Sienna Review: The Verdict
Are we certain that the 2015 Sienna is the best minivan in the segment? Apologies for the cop-out but without a head-to-head shootout with the Odyssey it’s just too close to call. We can say this, however, the Sienna certainly is the best looking and most luxurious minivan. It’s also got the most swagger.