2022 Toyota Sienna
XSE AWD hybrid: Price: $42,860
Pros—Sporty styling. Roomy. Nice ride. Good handling. Decent acceleration. Good economy. All-wheel drive. Safety items.
Cons—Engine drone. Numb brake feel. Fairly high step up.
Bottom Line—A vaguely sporty, economical minivan that’s generally above-average.
Who said minivans are dead?
With vehicles such as three-row SUVs, some might think the minivan has been eased out. But the 2022 Toyota Sienna minivan shows that there’s plenty of life left in this vehicle category, if only because their celebrated practicality can’t be denied. Automakers has just given them more pizzaz and features.
Toyota sold 83,447 Siennas in the first nine months of 2021 with a slickly redesigned model. It’s battling in the minivan market with the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica and new Kia Carnival.
The 2022 gas-electric Sienna has a long hood, curvy styling and somewhat resembles a sporty SUV, although its twin siding doors give it away. It is quite aerodynamic with only a .28 drag coefficient, but rear vision is poor so a driver best use the large outside rearview mirrors. This minivan comes exclusively as a hybrid with no need for plug-in charging in a variety of front- or all-wheel-drive versions. Prices range from approximately $34,460 to $50,460.
How spacious is your garage? The Sienna is a pretty big guy: 204.1 inches long, 78.5 inches wide and 68.5 inches high. It calls for slightly above-average effort to enter, but occupants sit high, and there’s lots of glass area.
My test Sienna XSE AWD hybrid ’s cavernous interior had ample storage areas. Its two second-row captain’s chairs, which weren’t as comfortable as the front seats, provided seven-passenger capacity. It fits eight with a second-row bench seat and a third-row seat. The third-row is easily reached through an aisle between the sliding captain’s chairs.
The third-row seat is reasonably comfortable for adults, but best left for children. It manually folds into the cargo floor, although it takes some time to figure out how to put it in its upright position. Cargo capacity is 33.5 cubic feet, or 75.2 cubic feet with the second row folded.
My adventurously styled Sienna XSE had a comfortable, upscale cavernous interior with a practical console and ample storage areas. There was a pushbutton start in its boldly styled dashboard, a premium audio system with 8 speakers and a 9-inch touchscreen that was easy to use. There also were buttons and controls for the audio and climate controls for those who don’t want to use the screen, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay comparability, four-zone automatic climate control and supportive, heated power front seats.
There also was a power tilt/slide moon roof, power sliding side doors, a power lift gate and front/rear parking assist.
Options included wireless Smartphone charging and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The Sienna has a sophisticated 2.5-liter, 189 horsepower four-cylinder gas engine and electric motors for a combined output of 245 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive version weighs a hefty 4,675 pounds but delivers an impressive estimated 35 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on highways. Only 87-octane is needed.
Acceleration is swift in town and 65-75 m.p.h. passing on highways was good, although the gas engine droned when lots of power was needed. Otherwise, the interior was impressively quiet. The 0-60 m.p.h. time is a respectable 7.7 seconds, give or take a few tenths of a second, at least with just a driver aboard. I got the feeling that more power would be appreciated if the minivan is filled with occupants and/or a good amount of cargo. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Manually shifting the CVT transmission with the shift lever in “Sport” mode provides the quickest acceleration from a standing start, although It’s doubtful if other drivers will challenge the Sienna to a drag race. It’s only vaguely sporty. A driver can choose EV, Economical, Normal or Sport driving modes via a console switch. Normal mode is best for typical driving. A rather frivolous feature is a dial with a needle near the speedometer that tells a driver if he is driving economically or powerfully.
My test Sienna’s accurate steering was rather heavy, but not objectionably so. However the firm brake pedal had a numb feel, although stopping distances were okay.
I could feel the Sienna’s weight if I made sudden moves with it or took curves at above-average speeds. A sport suspension and the on-demand all-wheel drive helped here. The ride is rather firm but supple. This is a good long-distance vehicle that still is easy to maneuver in town.
Safety features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, blind spot monitor and road sign assist.
The 2020 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD hybrid can easily pass as a good mom-mobile, to use an old minivan description, but it sure doesn’t look like one.