2015 Toyota Sienna Review

Best-in-Class Swagger

2015 Toyota Sienna Review

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.

FAST FACTS

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.

New-ish

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

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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.

2015 Toyota Sienna Review Interior 2There’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

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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.

2015 Toyota Sienna Review Interior 7Just hit the button on the main control screen and the driver’s voice is piped through to the third row speakers. It sounds like a gimmick, but it actually works.

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.

The Drive

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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

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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 1

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.

  • Felix James

    Looks pretty damn boring to me.

  • Sarah H

    Love the video. It really shows the Easy Speak function in action. I can’t wait to use this on my kids.

  • Greybeard

    For the record, dynamic cruise isn’t new for 2015–our 2011 has it. And I love it!

    All the improvements seem to be just that, except possibly for Entune, which folks used to the previous system seemed to think was a step backward. Maybe that was due to something that’s been fixed.

  • metaphysical

    Better looking interior than the horrific most recent version, which was a HUGE step back from the previous generation.

  • Shiratori90

    It’s a minivan, not a sports car. What exactly are you expecting?

  • craigcole

    Not a fan of the exterior styling, it looks like a mouth-breathing Grumpy Cat sans whiskers. Fortunately the interior is MUCH improved and you’ve got to love those lounge-like second-row seats.

  • Lee

    The van looks great;especially the Limited model comes with LED DRL. The only downfall is AWD Limited and Limited premium model DOESN’T have the option of having LOUNGE SEAT. Only the two front wheel Limited/Limited Premium have lounge chair (w/ reason “doesn’t want to max weight of the car) which to me is ridiculous. If the 2 wheel drive have it then the AWD should have it too since the lounge chair doesn’t weight as much and AWD model should be able to handle it. This needs to be one of the improvement for the 2016 model.
    IF LIMITED AWD HAVE LOUNGE CHAIR/SEAT IN 2ND ROW I WOULD DEFINITELY BE THE 1ST CUSTOMER TO BUY IT!!!!

  • bd

    Not that best-looking minivan means much, but the Sienna is hardly appealing to the eyes and falls way short of the new Sedona in the looks dept.

  • DLBedfordNH

    The 2nd row “lounge chairs” are a JOKE. I have the 2011 Ltd AWD, which still has them. The 2nd row really needs to be slid all the way back for them to deploy appropriately. Even so, it’s not comfortable even for my wife’s 5’4″ frame, just not enough room. What the AWD never had is the power-folding 3rd row seats. The power-folding seats are really slow, and I actually like how the the manual is fast and easy to use, but still …

  • DLBedfordNH

    how does the Sedona compare in the sales numbers?

  • DLBedfordNH

    BTW, I think our 2011 was a lemon. Just bought a 2015 Ltd AWD. The improvements — more sound deadening, structural rigidity, a decent interior more befitting of a $48k vehicle, etc — are far more important that that lounge chair feature that I used once and realized how gimmicky it was.

  • DLBedfordNH

    You clearly have not owned one. Those 2nd row lounge chairs are more gimmick than an actual useful feature.

  • JCM

    My 2007 has it – so what is new?

  • Jon

    Obviously this article was paid for by Toyota. As a loyal Toyota owner since 1984 I am not afraid to point out the positives (long term reliability of Toyotas) and the negatives (Toyota is tone deaf to their customers needs/wants).

    “On top of all these updates, the Sienna continues to have the best 2nd row of any minivan.”
    If I was in the market for a family hauler at this point it would not be the Sienna nor the Highlander (we own a 2008 Toyota Sequoia, 2009 Toyota Highlander and recently purchased 2004 Toyota Sienna) because the 2nd row is an afterthought. The middle seat is clearly meant to be removed and allow a narrow passage to the 3rd row which in the HL is a joke. If you have 3 kids in car seats the Honda Odyssey or Honda Pilot are much better vehicles.
    From 2004-2010 Toyota actually did have the best 2nd row with 3 full size seats that all had LATCH positions, for some reason they got rid of them and put in a joke of a half seat in the center instead. The reason I picked up our 2004 Sienna was for the fact that the Highlander which is advertised as a 7 passenger vehicle is truly a 4 passenger vehicle. At least the 2004 Sienna is truly an 7/8 passenger vehicle.

  • davidex

    As an owner of a 2011 Basic Sienna, I could care less about the “fabulous trim features”. I’m still waiting for them to fix the more mundane, basic irritations with the van’s user interface: a) being able to turn on the cabin lights from the front dash, b) better indication when the roof lights are on/off. I leave the car, lock it, and as the lights dim off, I see that 1 or 2 have been left on! Bah! c) being able to defog the massive front window while still putting heat into the rest of the vehicle, d) having some way to supply constant engine-off 12v accesory power to the front and rear areas. e) removing the rear area front-seat rails to allow for a perfectly flat rear area … honestly! etc. etc. etc.
    I assume that most of these UI issues are fixed in vans equipped with the computer screen interface… maybe not, but they’re a deal-breaker for me. I’ll not buy another Sienna or any other car again assuming that the most simple operating functions are a given.