Minivan popularity has come and gone over these recent years but the Toyota Sienna is still batting a thousand, as one of this country’s top family vehicle picks. Functionality reigns supreme with the minivan set and their vehicle of choice was primarily created to trundle their brood and gear. Does the 2015 Toyota Sienna fit the very demanding bill of families today?
Minivans are typically not head-turning vehicles, true dat but the Sienna is hands down attractive. The Japanese automaker has made a few minor tweaks on its minivan’s already sophisticated exterior styling, front and rear and its suspension has been revised as well. Far from boxy and odious, the once-upon-a-time “Swagger Wagon” looks sleek, a bit muscular and very stylish, with a pronounced hexagonal mesh grille, lower front fascia and rather sporty aerodynamic stance.
Inside the cabin of the 7 or 8 passenger Sienna is a first class layout all the way, incredibly comfortable seating from its power adjustable fronts to the all-the-way-rear, adult-friendly, third row. The minivan is just sprawled out comfy with great headroom and wide/nicely bolstered seating proportions. Buyers, who opt for the seven-seater Sienna, can get body soothing second-row captain’s chairs with available La-Z-Boy footrests. Getting into the minivan is easy as the step-in height is low and access to the third row is also a breeze because of the huge rear doors. For families with youngins, there are four LATCH locations (two in the second and two in the third row), so installing child seats is said to be easier than ever before. Hoarders will love the abundance of storage throughout the minivan with a cargo area that can increase from 39 to a whopping 150 cubic feet depending on how the versatile seating is configured (second and third rows). Kiddies will be entertained for hours by the available entertainment system with split-screen monitor that allows two different types of media to play.
The redesigned dash is more unified looking, user-friendly and angled towards the driver, so the controls are more accessible, and infotainment screen is easier to view. The Entune touchscreen interface system is a snap to use with its suite of programs like navigation and smartphone-connected services.
Driving the Sienna (Limited) is an unexpected surprise. It is well insulated against wind, engine, and road noise. Road wise, the Sienna filters out impact harshness even for rear occupants. The minivan is deceptively quick, solid, smooth and very competent. The vehicle has very responsive steering and braking that is also so on point. The handling of the Sienna is easy like that of a car, very agile and maneuverable, little body roll when cornering, you will absolutely forget you’re driving a minivan. Parking is also a stress less move. All Sienna models (five trims– L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited) are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 266 horsepower and come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional on most models. Fuel economy is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 18/25 mpg City/Highway, 21 combined.
Toyota has the Sienna covered as far as safety features—airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Tire Pressure Monitor System, Traction Control, Smart Stop technology and rear camera are all standard. Blind spot and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and front and rear parking assist sensors are available depending on the trim.
The “Original Swagger Wagon,” the 2015 Toyota Sienna is comfort on wheels—surprisingly nimble, lavishly roomy, chockfull of standard goodies with an emphasis on safety, it is a vehicle that any family on the constant move will enjoy.
Prices start at $28,700. Need more info? www.toyota.com/sienna/