The minivan's engine of choice has long been the V6. Powerful, not too expensive in fuel and, all in all, very reliable, it allowed models like the Toyota Sienna to be adopted by hundreds of thousands of North American families. However, with the price of a gallon of gasoline, which has recently jumped considerably and the cost of living on the rise, young families must turn to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Well, think of the Sienna hybrid, a model that proves that a minivan can do the trick without a 6-cylinder engine.
The hybrid engine is the workhorse of this new Sienna, the one that was introduced as a fourth generation model for the 2021 model year.
Sienna buyers are really people looking for the comfort and storage space that usually can't get with new full-size SUVs like the Highlander and others in the class. They especially appreciate the capacity of the floor behind the rear seat. I would also tell you that it is very well shared in terms of the age of the clientele. For older people, the Sienna is a vehicle that makes getting in and out easier, among other benefits.
The clientele of the Sienna is quite surprising. Although people consider it a family minivan, some Toyota dealers say they have customers without children who love Sienna's format. So the clientele of the Sienna is very varied: clients who go to Florida and who want space; young professional families with more than two children; and multi-generational buyers who choose the Sienna to transport their aging parents.
2022 Sienna's Exterior
In the case of the current 2021-2022 version, Toyota's stylists went for a much more exploded and chubby look that even allows this Sienna to have a sporty look. To some, it looks like an SUV, not a minivan.
However, it has similarities with its predecessor, but the huge black grille and the widened effect towards the rear give this vehicle a presence that makes us think of a sports vehicle. It's quite an irony, considering how this kind of vehicles evoke absolutely nothing sporty. Either way, it's striking, and I personally like what Toyota tried to do with this design. In its more punchy XSE version, the Sienna is strangely attractive.
Interior of 2022 Toyota Sienna
Access on board a Sienna is quite easy thanks to its wide doors. We appreciate the dashboard, which has been raised to facilitate access to information and controls, but small people might find it difficult to access certain multimedia system controls.
Even in the basic LE version, the seats are comfortable and offer good lateral support. In the rear, when the model is equipped with captain's seats (XLE, XSE, Limited and Platinum versions), the latter offer a slide adjustment that allows them a clearance of 25 inches for maximum clearance. Otherwise, the interior configuration is eight-passenger with the LE and XLE models.
The new Sienna's forward visibility is good due to a driver's seat installed high in the cabin and also a flattened nose.
Sienna's cabin offers a lot of storage space. Think of the long horizontal shelf installed under the dashboard and the huge floating center console that bridges above a gigantic storage space. A second compartment has also been fitted on top, towards the rear of this console.
Some other nice features include the opening of the side sliding doors with the help of a foot movement and the possibility of enjoying an on-board refrigerator.
Of course, when it comes to safety, it's all there with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety package. The monitor for monitoring blind spots is even standard on each variant. Ditto for connectivity where everything you need is present to connect your life to your vehicle.
Trims, MPG and Pricing of Sienna 2022
The LE trim is listed at $35,285 ranging to $50,725 for the top Platinum trim. All versions are hybrid and offer 36/36 MPG. I drove thoughtfully and and times topped 38.5 MPG in the city.
Also standard with each variant is all-wheel drive. The AWD works well with the hybrid system, because the power supply of the rear wheels is done via the work of an electric motor. And speaking of hybridity, each trim of the new Sienna is hybrid thanks to the work of a 2.5-litre 4-cylinder combined with two electric motors, all for a total power of 243 horsepower. This is why each trim has the same 36/36 MPG.
Is Toyota Sienna a Good Van?
Overall, when I was driving the 2022 Toyota Sienna, I felt that it was a very good van. My family owns a 2007 Honda Odyssey and we still love it. But now, If I were to buy a new van, I would prefer the Sienna over the Odyssey.
Always soft and comfortable, the Sienna especially impressed me with the performance of its hybrid engine. Admittedly, it is a much more grumbling and noisy engine than the V6, but it's so fuel efficient.
Over a period of one week my Sienna recorded an average fuel consumption of 37 miles per gallon. For a vehicle of this size and weight, that's very impressive.
The drive of the Sienna is a very pleasant experience. Its performance is more than adequate, and electric assist helps this 4-cylinder engine deliver plenty of power. There is also good structural rigidity and well calibrated suspension elements for our roads. This is what allows this Sienna to cope well with imperfections of the roads and ensure optimal comfort for its passengers.
After losing market share year after year to three-row crossovers and SUVs, minivans have adapted in an attempt to cling onto a sub-category within the utility vehicle sector. First, people were buying SUVs and crossovers because they looked better than minivans, so minivan designers started changing their approach. Second, buyers liked the variety of powertrains offered by SUVs and crossovers, so minivan makers like Toyota and Chrysler began offering hybrid powertrains.
It is obvious that the rational qualities of this Sienna, such as its hybrid engine, its comfort and the established reliability record of its mechanics, allow it to be a sensible choice for young families of the middle class.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.