We’re fans of vans here at Autoblog. It’s been a good time to be a van fan as of late, too, as more stylish entries sporting cool technology hit the market. One of those is the Toyota Sienna, which features bold, Supra-inspired lines, but more importantly, is the first Sienna to be offered with a hybrid powertrain. In fact, it’s the only powertrain option. That makes it the one true competitor to a previous Autoblog long-termer, the plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
That hybrid powertrain is, in some key ways, a real highlight of the Sienna. It combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and eCVT for 245 combined horsepower. And in the case of our model, it has a second electric motor in the back to give it all-wheel drive, though with the same amount of horsepower. Being an all-wheel-drive hybrid is a unique trait of the Sienna’s in this segment — the Pacifica is only available with all-wheel drive in gas-only form. The Sienna has impressive fuel economy numbers, too, with 36 mpg combined for the front-drive version, and 35 with all-wheel-drive, we’re eager to see how the fuel economy turns out in the real world.
In our previous, shorter experiences with the Toyota Sienna, we’ve been impressed with its stylish interior, surprisingly good handling, and some interesting interior features. It’s also the second-best selling minivan in the segment, only behind the Chrysler Pacifica, so there must be something about it that people like.
Why we got it
The fact that the Sienna is a hybrid is a big reason we wanted to spend more time in it. We’re really curious to see how the fuel economy holds up, which is one of its biggest selling points on paper for a three-row vehicle. And having the previous experience with the Pacifica Hybrid, it will be interesting to see how it fares against something that can be run on electric power for tens of miles at a charge. We’re also interested to see how we like Toyota’s implementation (or not) of using a four-cylinder instead of Chrysler’s V6.
The Autoblog staff has some young families, so this minivan will be getting some thorough car seat testing, as well as long road trip use. Your author doesn’t have a family, but is interested in possible seat arrangements to accommodate his medium-sized dog, and possibly looking at how cargo capacity compares to his old Suburban. And on the topic of cargo, our Sienna is equipped with an optional tow hitch, which we’ll put to the test either hauling stuff and fitting racks to.
Being in Michigan, we’re glad to have all-wheel-drive, too. We’re curious to see how well Toyota’s rear-motor-based system holds up to snowy conditions.
What we got
Our Sienna is thoroughly maxed out. It’s the highest trim level, Platinum, which starts at $52,930. It’s painted in Predawn Grey Metallic, which like other colors, is a no-charge option. It sits on some mighty flashy chrome alloy wheels, though in a more modest 18-inch size that comes with the all-wheel-drive powertrain, a $760 option. Other standard exterior features include LED headlights and fog lights, heated power mirrors and power doors.
Interior features are many. All the seats are covered in Noble brown upholstery, which is leather for the front two rows and a faux leather material for the third. The front seats are power adjustable with heating and ventilation. The steering wheel is heated, too. The second row seats can slide way back, and they have huge, deployable ottomans. The automatic climate control has four zones, with controls for rear passengers. The 9-inch infotainment system has navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it’s hooked up to a 12-speaker JBL sound system. A wireless phone charger keeps your devices fueled up, while a 10-inch head-up display augments the instruments that have their own 7-inch screen. Up above is a sunroof, and the driver can have fun talking to passengers in the back with the on-board intercom.
Like most Toyotas, the Sienna has plenty of standard safety features, too, and our Platinum even more so. It has automatic emergency braking front and rear, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, surround view camera, adaptive cruise-control, rear-cross-traffic alert, automatic headlights and hill start assist.
There are very few options available for the Platinum, but ours has a few. In addition to all-wheel drive, our Sienna has the rear seat entertaiment package that consists of two 11.6-inch HD rear screens and a pair of headphones. It’s a pricey $1,415 option. The second-most expensive option is the tow hitch at $935. For $300, we got the 1,500-watt power inverter with a pair of household 120-volt power outlets. Rubber floor mats were $260; a dashcam was $349, and mud guards were $149.
In total, the Sienna came to $56,348, including the $1,335 destination charge. Follow along with us over the next year as we put the Sienna through its paces.