Toyota’s traditional approach of sensible and sedate is an excellent match to the minivan class, where space, efficiency, reliability, and durability are king.
New for 2020: The Toyota Sienna has been on the market for a number of years now, so it sees some slight updates for the new model year. The first is an all-new Nightshade trim that adds black trim and wheels on SE and SE Premium trims.
Making getting lots of stuff and people around an easier task is the goal, and the Sienna delivers on those counts with the added bonus of extra all-weather traction thanks to the all-wheel drive system.
Adding black trim and wheels is the latest trend to be sweeping the market, and even the family-friendly minivan hasn’t avoided it. Toyota’s is called the Nightshade and it comes with a black mesh front grille, black door handles, black mirrors, black Toyota badging, and black wheels in 19-inch on FWD models and 18-inch on AWD. The package can be fitted to SE and SE Premium trims, but only with black, silver, red, and white paint choices.
The Sienna is available in no fewer than eight trims, and that’s before you count the ones that can add all-wheel drive, as well as the versions with Toyota’s spiffy Auto Access seat, a middle-row power passenger seat that can pivot and power out the side of the van to help those with mobility issues get in and out.
It starts with the base L trim from $32,760 and works up to the top-spec Limited Premium at $49,100. (Both figures include $1,120 in destination.) In between, you get more features and options, though all get a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque sent through an eight-speed automatic.
Pros/ Cavernous space / Plentiful power / AWD options
Cons/ Dated interior / Noisy / Second-row seats don't fold flat
Bottom Line/ Loads of space and safety kit in a package ready for a redesign
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2020 Toyota Sienna Review
By Kyle Patrick
I’m not ashamed to admit this review started for purely selfish reasons. Being honest is important in this field, after all.
For my better half and I, the holiday season is an especially busy one, with half a dozen families to visit. We needed something to haul people and things in comfort. The market has seemingly decided the answer for that is a crossover, but I was determined to put the real practical option, the humble minivan, to the test. The Toyota Sienna remains one of the most popular of the breed, and a week with it went a long way to explaining why that is.
Whether it’s shuttling four adults and all their gifts to the next nog-fuelled party, or getting the little ones (and their friends) to soccer practice, nothing can match the sheer usability of a minivan.
Toyota Sienna Powertrain
The Sienna comes with just one engine, a 3.5-liter V6 that offers 296 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque. It’s a beefy engine, giving this van plenty of shove, even with a full load of eight passengers and cargo.
It’s backed by an eight-speed automatic, and it has that same gearbox if you pick the option for all-wheel drive. While versions of these engines are used in Lexus models, not just Toyotas, the Toyota version is perfectly happy with regular gas.
Toyota Sienna Features and Pricing
L: Starts at $32,760
The entry L model comes with a host of appreciated features like projector-beam headlights, two sliding doors, seating for seven, three-zone climate control, a tilt and telescoping wheel, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth. It also has some you wouldn’t expect as standard in this class, like Toyota Safety Sense P that gives the Sienna pre-collision braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings with steering assist, automatic high beams, and radar cruise control. It also has Safety Connect that adds emergency assistance and stolen vehicle notification for three years.
LE: $35,580 (AWD + $2,540)
With the LE model, all-wheel-drive becomes available for $2,540. It also swaps the FWD LE’s three-seat middle row for second-row removable captain’s chairs and seats seven instead of eight. LE gets more color-coded exterior trim like the mirror caps and door handles in place of the black plastic of the L, and adds tinted rear glass. On the inside, LE upgrades the radio to a version with Scout GPS Link and Toyota Connected Services as well as adding a different seat fabric Toyota calls easy-clean. A $995 Preferred package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and proximity key entry with push-button start.
SE: $38,910 (AWD + $1,505)
Sporty SE adds a sport-tuned suspension, or at least sporty by minivan standards, as well as a sport calibration for the electric power steering. Letting you really know it’s sporty are smoked chrome trim headlights, a body kit front and rear including front fog lights, a special grille, and gunmetal finish 19-inch alloys. Perforated leather interior seats are heated and the driver gains power adjustment. All-wheel drive remains available.
For $700, a Nightshade package gives the SE a black sport mesh grille, gloss black door handles, wheels, and spoiler, and gloss back badges. A sunroof is also available for $850. Or go all-out and get the SE Preferred that adds the same features as LE Preferred but also comes with an upgraded JBL audio system with navigation and includes the sunroof. It also adds Driver Easy Speak, an intercom system that makes it easier for you to be heard by back-seat passengers.
XLE: $38,910 (AWD + $2,430)
The more luxury-oriented XLE gets leather and heated front row seats, with power adjustment for driver and front passenger. The middle row is trimmed in leather as well. XLE adds power operation to the third-row side windows. All wheel drive is still on the options list. Navigation is available for $1,410 and comes with a premium audio system. For $3,690, XLE Premium adds a twin-screen Blu-ray player and entertainment center for the rear seat passengers. It also comes with Driver Easy Speak and blind-spot monitoring.
Limited: $45,655 (AWD + $1,360)
Almost at the top of the Sienna pile, Limited adds a second moonroof to give rear-seat passengers a look at the sky. Helping out the driver are parking sensors front and rear, blind-spot monitoring, and the Driver Easy Speak intercom. Making things more convenient are power-folding third-row seats and a navigation system. That the nav comes with a 10-speaker JBL audio system is just the icing for your ears.
If you need just a little bit more coddling, the Limited Premium adds HID headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 360-degree camera view, and the Blu-ray entertainment system of the XLE Premium, for $3,520 over the standard Limited.
Toyota Sienna Recommended Trim
Since some of the best features, like the 360-degree camera, are reserved for the top Limited Premium trim, that one’s hard to ignore. But we’d pick the LE Preferred. It gets the most important safety gear, including blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts without breaking the family budget.
Toyota Sienna Fuel Economy
Sienna fuel economy ratings are simple. Pick the FWD model and there’s an EPA estimate of 19 mpg city, 27 highway, 22 combined. Our own test of this driveline returned 19 mpg, right on the city number thanks to our use of all of the available horses. The extra weight and friction of all-wheel drive mean that one is rated for 18/24/20, respectively.
Toyota Sienna vs Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler invented the minivan as we know it, and it hasn’t let that stone gather moss over the years since, with dozens of minivan firsts and several exclusives that the competition can’t match, like a middle row of seats that can fold into the floor. The competition can stow their third row, but nobody else can flatten the middle. The Sienna’s middle seats need to come out, and they aren’t light.
The Pacifica offers similar power from its 287 hp, 3.6-liter V6, and fuel economy that’s nearly the same. But the Pacifica has an ace up its sleeve here, too. There’s a plug-in hybrid version that offers 260 hp, but a 32-mile electric-only range and a 30 mpg combined fuel economy rating in hybrid mode. It also offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto where Toyota doesn’t offer the latter. Pacifica starts from $35,240 and ranges to $50,185 for a top-trim Red S Edition, including $1,495 destination.
Toyota Sienna vs Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey has middle-row seats that don’t fold flat, and that weigh close to 80 lb, which for some minivan buyers is a cardinal sin. But the Odyssey helps redeem itself with a 280 hp 3.5-liter V6 that has a delightful VTEC scream if you ever take it north of 5,200 rpm. It also has some family-friendly features like a cabin intercom and a vacuum for the rear seats. Thanks to a 10-speed automatic, the Odyssey offers one mpg better on the highway, though that’s largely splitting hairs. The $31,910 base Odyssey LX (including $1,120 destination) comes in cheaper than the Sienna, but while Toyota offers Safety Sense P, the Honda Sensing suite isn’t available until the Odyssey EX.
See Also: Honda Odyssey vs Chrysler Pacifica
Toyota Sienna vs Kia Sedona
Kia’s game has long been that of the bargain option. If you want most of the same stuff but for a lower price, look over here. Hence the Sedona’s $28,720 starting price (again, including $1,120 in destination). For your money, you get a 3.3-liter V6 with 276 hp and an eight-speed automatic, though seating is only for seven. You also get both CarPlay and Android Auto. At that base sticker, though, you only get three color choices: white, black and silver. Want more and you’ll need LX, EX, or SX. If you want radar cruise, it’s optional on EX or standard on top SX trims, and that applies to many of the other active safety features too. They’re standard on Toyota, higher up the trim walk on Sedona. Kia’s 10-year 100,000-mile warranty, though, can take away some of the sting of the top trim models, giving you years of less worry about dealer visits.
|Price Range (USD) /||$32,760 – $47,015|
|Engine /||3.5L V6|
|Power (hp) /||296|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||263|
|Fuel Economy (mpg) /||19/27/22 (FWD) / 18/24/20 (AWD)|
|Drivetrain /||8AT, FWD/AWD|
Our Final Verdict
Toyota’s Sienna hasn’t seen many changes over the last few years, but this isn’t exactly a stylish segment to begin with. It offers massive amounts of interior space, the brand’s reputation for reliability, a peppy V6 engine, loads of standard active safety equipment, and the only all-wheel-drive option in the segment. All of which continue to make this an appealing option for those who want worry-free transportation for a big family.
|Space and Comfort||9.0|