2022 Toyota Sienna is not just for traditional minivan buyers, it’s for everyone
It was more than few decades ago when Minivans were the go-to choice for most families, but sadly they were replaced by SUVs and Crossovers. Although Toyota have several different SUV offerings, they still have faith in the Minivan segment.
Toyota is one of the four Minivan manufacturers in Automotive industry with the Sienna, and now it’s better than ever. More importantly, Toyota decided not to implement traditional Minivan approach in many ways, which we will go through the details below.
Exterior and Interior
Modern minivans are no longer the dorky choice, as many new entries have “SUV-Like” looks, and this is no exception with the new Sienna. There are lots of attractive body lines, sharp angles, and huge grille in the front bumper for more upscale look, which is what you typically see in modern crossovers.
From the side profile, the new Sienna still keeps its traditional minivan design language with the sliding doors, but at least Toyota tried to hide the sliding door rails by integrating them into the rear window whereas most entries have it right in the rear fender line.
The rear design is as unique as the front end, it has an excellent balance of modern looks while still carrying Toyota design elements. You can immediately recognize that it’s a Toyota product without the badge, which shows that they did a pretty good job making a minivan look good.
It’s not easy for any manufacturer to create a good looking minivan, as it is a fundamentally flawed design that prioritizes functionality over the form. Like the new KIA Carnival, Toyota Sienna is able to hide the flaws as much as they could, and it is no longer a “dorky” looking vehicle.
The interior design is as important as the exterior, as you spend a lot of time in it with your family. It is extra important to have extra practical and vertical interior space when we are talking about a Minivan. Toyota did a great job with the dashboard and center stack design as it doesn’t feel like you are driving a school bus while still having great practicality.
Toyota offers a unique design language with the bridge type of center console, as it has a huge space under the shifter column, but it still feels like a regular crossover and everything feels pretty close to the driver, including 4 cupholders that are placed in the center stack. It also has a very innovative long cargo area built in to the dashboard.
Second row seats are exceptionally comfortable and adjustable, as Limited trim comes with reclining seats with thigh support. It’s not the first Minivan that offers this feature, but Toyota allows you to move the seat all the way to the third row, which offers extra comfort for tall passengers.
The only problem with the second row seats is that they cannot be removed from the vehicle unlike many other entries. According to Toyota, seats have integrated seat belts and airbag system that they don’t come out completely. If you are planning to carry very large items, it may be a problem for you.
Like many other entries, it comes with a 3rd row seats that can be manually latched into the place, and it has decent amount of legroom and headroom. This is where you feel the most difference and it is so much easier to get in and out with the sliding doors versus a 3-row SUV like the Highlander. This is definitely a better choice if you are planning to use the 3rd row on a regular basis.
As you expect from a minivan, third row seats can be folded in for additional storage space, which is quite good even with the 3rd row seats up. We are looking at 33.5 cubic feet (948l) of cargo space behind the 3rd row, and it goes up to 75.2 cubic feet (2130l) if you fold them down.
Engine and Drivetrain
The drivetrain is one of the unique features that 2022 Sienna has, as it no longer comes with V6 engine. It is the first minivan that just comes with an inline-4 engine with hybrid powertrain, and certainly the only AWD Hybrid option.
Though the new Sienna only comes with one engine option, you can choose a front wheel drive or an all wheel drive drivetrain, and both options are hybrid. AWD versions have electric motors connected to the rear wheels, so there is no mechanical parts that goes to the rear wheels.
If you are familiar with Toyota’s Hybrid product lineup, this is not that different. It comes with planetary power split transmission, 1.9 kWh battery matched with 2.5L inline 4 engine that produces 189 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. It puts out 245 combined horsepower, which is slightly less than average.
There are two electric engines, the first one pumps out around 180 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, and the second electric engine which powers the rear wheels, they put out approximately 54 horsepower and 89 lb-ft of torque. It is an eAWD system that sends power to the rear wheels on demand.
Driving Impressions and Features
Despite its overall size, 2022 Sienna feels very nimble behind the steering wheel. This is not very surprising considering there are also other entries that offers Crossover-like driving dynamics, but Sienna has pretty good turning radius that almost feels like a compact car.
Driving the new Sienna feels quite different than other entries, as it is the only one with a 4-cylinder engine and hybrid drivetrain. There is only one plug-in hybrid (PHEV) entry called the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, but other than that, there is nothing else.
2022 Toyota Sienna only comes with one engine and transmission option, and 245 combined horsepower doesn’t sound too much. Although electric engine helps a lot during the acceleration, it may still feel a little bit underpowered especially at higher speeds.
It is not just overall power figures, but planetary gears (also called eCVT) gives a lot of rubber band feeling when accelerating. It may be a problem for someone looking for the driving experience, but for a minivan I don’t think it would be a problem.
Having a tried-and-true Toyota hybrid platform may not be the enthusiasts’ choice, but it definitely offers one of the best fuel economy. We averaged around 8.0L / 100km with a lot of highway driving, which is very impressive for a huge minivan.
As soon as you get inside the Sienna, you realize Toyota did a great job in terms of practicality as you see several cupholders and cubbies in the center stack, front door pockets and all around the interior. You will also find lots of charging ports in the rear seat passenger area.
Limited trim comes with the special captain’s chair and rear seat entertainment system that you can connect your phone, or electronic device so your passengers can watch movies or play games. If you want 8-seat option, you should choose lower trims as the top trim only comes as a 7-seater.
Although all rear seat passengers have to share rear seat entertainment system’s big screen, 3rd row passengers can also join with audio jack ports, and they also get a lot of USB charging options including USB-C ports.
There is only one problem with the whole interior is the infotainment system. It only comes with 9-inch screen with huge bezels, and 360 camera only comes with the top Limited trim. The camera resolution is not great, overall software experience isn’t as good as some entries such as the KIA Carnival.
Pricing and the Verdict
The fully redesigned Toyota Sienna is not a traditional minivan, as it is not just targeting traditional minivan buyers. It can be a great replacement for both your SUV and compact car, as it combines practicality with great fuel economy numbers.
It’s not easy to compare the Sienna with the other entries, because there is no other minivan that comes with a hybrid and AWD powertrain. If you are shopping for a reliable 7 or 8 seater, want to save fuel, and want to be able to put 8 passenger worth of luggage, Sienna would be the best option available.
2022 Toyota Sienna starts at $41.050 CAD with the LE FWD trim, and for All Wheel Drive sets you back additional $1840. Our tester, the Limited AWD trim only comes with an All Wheel Drive, which is priced at $59,290.
For more details – please visit www.toyota.ca