Every time the thought crosses my mind that I could not ever be a minivan mom, along comes the Toyota Sienna. The week that I have the Sienna to drive is eye-opening, though not much has changed from the 2019 model, leave it to Toyota to make driving a minivan “cool.”
How did Toyota do that exactly? Let me introduce you to the ‘Nightshade’ package, which is available on SE trims. You can now roll up in black-finished wheels with black accents to exterior grille, spoiler and door handles. Pretty swaggy.
From the outward appearance the Sienna is wide. But “wide” is not what I would use to describe the inside; I’d rather refer to the interior as voluminous, with a sweeping dash. Nothing too fancy, the Sienna interior could benefit from an upgrade, but I am still a fan. It is a functional climate for all, with seating for up to eight on front-wheel-drive models, while all-wheel-drive models seat seven. And speaking of climates, there are a standard three climate zones with large controls. You will not have anyone arguing over who gets to sit by the vent, nor will there be a discussion over cup holders, the Sienna has as many as 12. It is truly a multi-purpose vehicle, and it’s hard to not enjoy. The materials are soft touch as you make your way up the ranks of the trim levels. Conclusion? The Sienna’s exterior is a bit more snazzy than the interior.
Sienna offers the maximum amount of cargo space. Proving its resourcefulness, the adjustable second row and the fold-flat third row give you max cargo hauling capability. If organization is your forte, Toyota offers accessories likes nets and totes for all your packing needs.
The infotainment includes Apple CarPlay as a standard feature, but Android Auto is not available. Toyota has some room for improvement in the technology department. That being said, at least it is easy to use.
For a 2020 Toyota Sienna, the base L trim begins at $32,510. Features available are halogen headlights with automatic brights, 17-inch alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, cloth seats for seven passengers, keyless entry, a 7-inch infotainment screen with Etune.
The LE adds heated outside mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, eight passenger seating, five USB ports, auto-dimming rearview mirror, as well as the all-wheel-drive option becoming available.
The SE is for the minivan driver who desires something a little more captivating. It appears a little more sporty with LED taillights, foglights, sport mesh grille, power lift gate, optional moonroof, those 19-inch gunmetal gray wheels, leather seats and leather steering wheel, and an appealing instrument panel compared to the L and LE.
The SE Premium adds a rear entertainment system. The new Nightshade package leaves your bank account shy of about $700 but also leaves you jet setting around town like Mark Wahlberg (who by the way, is a Toyota Sienna owner).
The XLE is posh, with leather seats, leather steering wheel and wood-grain accents. The storage compartments on the XLE are illuminated as is the push-button start with remote illuminated entry.
The Limited Sienna trim has a dual moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, upgraded leather seats, heated leather steering wheel and an innovative cargo system that stores heavy or bulky cargo. The top of the line is the Limited Premium. This trim affords you rain-sensing wipers, a 360-degree camera and a 16.4-inch rear entertainment system. This trim is the eye-opener I referred to in the beginning, that will convert anyone who has previously dismissed the idea of owning a minivan.
Driving the Sienna with its 296-hp V-6 engine is a pretty efficient way to get around town with kids and friends in tow. You are driving a pretty predictable vehicle, the Sienna is smooth, comfortable and mostly quiet.
Fuel economy on the Sienna is a decent for a minivan, 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, for a combined 21 mpg. (These figures are based on a front-wheel-drive).
Toyota Safety Sense-P Suite is standard on every Sienna. Advanced safety features include an automatic front braking system with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control. On LE and SE models, blind-spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert is available, while these two items are standard on the higher trims. The Sienna Limited Premium is the only trim that comes standard with a surround-view camera.
Pricing for a Toyota Sienna begins at $32,510 and tops out at $48,925 for the Limited Premium.
Safe to say that the Toyota Sienna found its way into my heart after driving it for a week, as long as I could roll around with the ‘Nightshade’ package that is.