Nothing beats a minivan when it comes to hauling people and cargo. That expansive cabin gives you expansive amounts of space to bring your family or carry impulse buys from Ikea. However, if you’re looking for an electrified minivan you only have two choices: the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid or this one, the 2022 Toyota Sienna. This segment stalwart brings a lot to the table when it comes to family motoring. But will it win a place in your driveway? Let’s find out.
2022 Toyota Sienna: Sharp and Streamlined
Toyota doubled down on design with the latest Sienna, resulting in a distinct vehicle with a flair for the unconventional. Taking inspiration from Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains, this minivan sports a slippery shape and an imposing mug. Curves and angles add to its unique looks that evoke family ties with sedans like the Camry, Corolla, and Avalon. Additionally, you also get multiple iterations to help the Sienna appeal to a broader audience. XSE variants get a more aggressive appearance while Limited and Platinum variants double down on creature comforts.
For 2022, Toyota added the Woodland Edition, an outdoorsy version based on the XLE trim. It gets a suspension with a 0.5-inch lift, black badges, 18-inch wheels, black roof rails, dark chrome exterior trim, and AWD as standard. This is also the only way to get the Cement exterior color on the Sienna, a hue once exclusive to TRD models.
As expected, the Sienna comfortably fits adults across its three rows without sacrificing cargo capacity. Fold the third row into its tub for additional capacity and a flat floor for large items. The second row is the one knock against the Sienna because the side impact airbags are now in them. Why’s that a problem? Because you can’t take them out or fold them into a tub anymore. Instead, you push them all the way forward into the backs of the front seats.
You also get lots of nifty storage spaces throughout the Sienna. Toyota added an integrated tray on the dash that connects with the center console, perfect for holding smartphones and other small items. The minivan also features an open area between the driver and front passenger for a small bag. Second-row passengers have integrated bottle holders on each side of the seat. Those in the third row have additional cubbies and USB charge ports.
The Sienna rounds its interior with great build quality even on mid-level trims like this Woodland Edition test car. Soft-touch and padded surfaces abound throughout the cabin. Unless you get the Limited or Platinum grade, the Sienna’s interior feels more utilitarian than luxurious. Woodland Edition models spice things up with unique seat inserts with star patterns and bronze contrast stitching. Unfortunately, it gets a little noisy on the highway due to excessive amounts of wind noise.
Tech Updated Required
The Sienna remains one of the last vehicles to use Toyota’s older Entune 3.0 interface. Featuring a 9.0-inch touchscreen, the grainy map graphics look like they came from nearly a decade ago. Despite having minimal submenus, the slow responses to your inputs make it a hassle to use. Even with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the system doesn’t respond as quickly as you’d expect. At least the 12-speaker JBL audio system sounds good and offers an immersive listening experience.
Every Sienna gets the older Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver assistance technologies. Although it works fine, the calibration veers on the conservative side. Adaptive cruise control’s distancing component, for instance, leaves more space than usual even in its closest setting. That’s fine for this vehicle because it’s big and heavy. It provides more time to react and slow down if someone cuts you off or the vehicle ahead brakes suddenly. The rest of its components work without getting overly intrusive. Certain components like lane centering, though, only work with adaptive cruise control active.
2022 Toyota Sienna: Smooth and Stress-Free
You want a smooth, relaxed driving experience out of a family car and that’s what the Sienna’s hybrid powertrain brings. Coupling a 2.5-liter I-4 to one or two electric drive motors, a nickel-metal-hydride battery, and a planetary gear set, there’s 245 hp under your right foot. While not potent, you have enough power for the majority of driving situations. The lack of a traditional gearbox also results in seamless delivery, especially when combined with the electric motors’ instant torque. Unlike a mechanical AWD system, Toyota adds a second electric drive motor on the rear axle for additional traction. As a result, the Sienna sometimes feels like it’s FWD because the front wheels get more power. This results in the clawing sensation you get when accelerating from a standstill. However, it disappears almost immediately once the rear electric motor activates.
The seamless transitions between regenerative and mechanical braking add to the Toyota Sienna’s refinement. You get a natural pedal feel and it won’t jolt you if you need to stop suddenly. Additionally, having two electric drive motors gives you extra energy recuperation. This enables you to recharge the battery quicker, resulting in longer times spent coasting or operating in all-electric mode.
As expected out of a minivan, the Sienna excels in coddling you. The suspension does a fantastic job isolating the passenger compartment and ironing out road imperfections. As a result, you get a vehicle that’s plush and comfortable, perfect for long road trips. However, I’d skip the Woodland Edition due to its raised suspension affecting its handling. Between that and the soft calibration, the vehicle rolls around more through turns and gets floaty over big impacts. Add a light but relatively slow steering into the mix and you get a van that drives bulky.
Winning in the Efficiency Game
Since Toyota made the current generation Sienna a hybrid-only affair, it offers exceptional fuel efficiency. EPA-rated at 36 mpg across the board for FWD models or 35/36/35 mpg city/highway/combined with AWD, it sports unrivaled efficiency. Beating these estimates takes little effort too. During my week, I averaged 43 mpg…in an AWD minivan. This makes the Sienna a 600-mile vehicle, one you take on road trips without needing to use too much fuel.
Pricing for the 2022 Toyota Sienna starts at $36,500. This Woodland Edition test car stickers for $48,325. That puts it on the higher end of the spectrum. Load up a Sienna Platinum and the price quickly rises to or breaks past $55,000. Considering the Sienna’s efficiency and practicality, it brings a lot to the table. No other minivan blends these traits as nicely as this one. Together with comfortable road manners, the Toyota Sienna stands out as one of the most well-rounded family cars.