The spacious and sensible 2022 Toyota Sienna
Let’s face it; minivans will probably always be stuck with the stigma that it has suffered for decades. But for the fourth-generation Sienna minivan, Toyota has gone through great lengths to lessen the minivan stigma by improving its looks and style. On top of that, they have added yet another reason why the Sienna is the ultimate people mover – fuel economy.
Being one of the newest minivans available, the 2022 Toyota Sienna continues to be one of the best vehicles when it comes to convenience and utility.
In an attempt to make the Sienna look more aggressive and SUV-like, Toyota has raised the hood and the A-pillars have a sharper angle. At the rear, the roof line slopes down and around the rear wheels are fender bulges that run along the side of the van. At the end of the day, the Sienna looks better than most minivans on the market, but it still looks like a minivan, albeit, a slightly aggressive one.
The Sienna can seat seven or eight passengers depending on trim level. All come with dual sliding doors with power windows in them, second-row sunshades, triple-zone climate control system and a 9-inch touchscreen. Sienna’s can even be fitted with a small refrigerator in the center console, a built-in vacuum and foot-activated power sliding doors.
Breaking away from Sienna’s of the past that saw them equipped with Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, today’s Sienna takes on a different approach – it’s a hybrid. Standard on every Sienna is a hybrid powertrain that uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that provides 245 horsepower. Front wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive remains an option.
Now in its second year, the current Sienna gets a new trim level. Called the Woodland Edition, it gives the Sienna standard all-wheel drive along with a .6-inch higher ride height. It also provides a tow hitch and roof rails with crossbars.
The last time I was in a Sienna was back in the summer when Toyota had me in a top-of-the-line Platinum with the available all-wheel drive system. Last week I was back in a Sienna, but this one was an XSE model, which gives the Sienna a sporty appearance package. With the XSE, the Sienna’s exterior gets black trim and a mesh grille. Inside, the XSE seats have a special stitch pattern. Other models include the base LE, the mid-level XLE, the luxurious Limited and the high-end Platinum.
Anit-minvaners just need to look inside the Sienna to see that the practicality of this vehicle is amazing. Driver and front passenger sit in comfortably with a floating center console separating the two. The console flows out of the dashboard and leaves a large and spacious storage area below. And while others are doing away with traditional shifters, I’m glad to see Toyota hasn’t joined them – as the Sienna still uses a lever protruding out of the center console.
Behind the front seats is an amazing amount of room for the second-row passengers. The seats, which are some of the best found in any vehicle, slide fore and aft and can recline. Unlike previous Siennas, the second-row seats in this fourth-generation Sienna do not come out or fold into the floor, making this Sienna more of a people mover rather than a cargo hauler.
On the road, the V6 power from previous Sienna’s is missed, as today’s Sienna is down by more than 50 horsepower. Power from a stand still is decent, but once at highway speeds or trying to pass slower traffic, the lack of power becomes evident. But on the flip side, today’s Sienna is very fuel efficient, especially for a vehicle this size. EPA rates it at 36 mpg combined (along with 36 mpg in both city and highway). Going with all-wheel drive, those numbers come down a little, but still, getting 35 mpg combine (35 mpg city and 36 mpg highway) for a seven or eight seat all-wheel drive vehicle is nothing to scoff at.
The Sienna has always been one of the top picks in today’s minivan market – it and the Honda Odyssey methodically duke it out for top honors, much like two geniuses playing chess. With the current Sienna, Toyota has raised the playing field by making it a hybrid and adding some aggressive styling. Make no mistake, it’s still a minivan, but these changes make it a little easier to accept the stigma.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2022 Toyota Sienna XSE
Base Price: $42,100.00
Price as Tested: $46,664.00
Layout: front-engine / front-wheel drive
Engine: hybrid 2.5 liter four-cylinder with dual electric motors
Horsepower: 245 hp
EPA Fuel Economy: 36 city / 36 highway mpg
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