October 5, 2022
The brand new technology of Toyota’s Sienna affords a van that appears extra like an

The brand new technology of Toyota’s Sienna affords a van that appears extra like an SUV, is simply as succesful and which makes use of so much much less gas.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

All minivans have their execs and cons.

They’re sensible, with loads of enclosed house for passengers and cargo. They’re comfy with loads of room to stretch and so they have robust engines, good for towing gentle trailers.

Nonetheless, they’re typically thirsty on gasoline as a result of they’re so massive, and so they’re uninteresting to drive. Above all, their picture sucks. It conjures up a suburbanite resigned to ferrying younger children after giving up their very own ambitions. Would you like individuals to suppose that of you?

For years, drivers who should purchase minivans have ignored them for extra macho SUVs and even pickup vans. The brand new technology of Toyota’s Sienna seeks to repair this by providing a van that appears extra like an SUV, is simply as succesful and which makes use of so much much less gas.

There are at the moment 4 minivans on the Canadian market, 5 if you happen to think about the Chrysler Grand Caravan and the extra luxurious Chrysler Pacifica to be separate automobiles. The Honda Odyssey and Kia Carnival provide premium cabins, as does the Pacifica, to rival the top-end Sienna. The Kia is the least costly, beginning at a stripped-back $34,795, however most new vans in trims you would possibly wish to really purchase will find yourself costing near $50,000.

After which there’s the top-of-the-line Sienna I not too long ago drove, which has a base MSRP of $59,290. It is because it got here with each security function conceivable, in addition to a fuel-saving hybrid engine and all-wheel drive.

The Sienna is the one van to supply all these options collectively. The Pacifica is out there with all-wheel drive and as a hybrid (and it’s a plug-in hybrid, with a claimed pure-electric vary of as much as 51 kilometres), however you can not have each collectively. The Honda and Kia have typical gasoline engines and front-wheel drive.

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Above: A full trunk within the 2022 Toyota Sienna, when Mark Richardson was shifting his son to school. Formally, there may be 2,860 litres behind the entrance seats. Under: A mattress suits at the back of the Sienna.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

My spouse and I drove our son to Ottawa from our residence close to Toronto, to maneuver him into an condominium. The Sienna swallowed his furnishings and baggage in a manner that SUVs can’t, and nonetheless allowed comfy house for the three of us. At one level, it even carried a double mattress across the metropolis. An SUV would have wanted extra flat-packing as a result of the ground is so excessive, with a complete cabin cargo depth of perhaps two-thirds that of the Sienna.

When all of the cargo was inside, there was not the house to totally stretch out the seat within the second row, to utilize the costly recliner possibility. This might even be the case if the third row was in use, as a result of the second row slides far sufficient again to virtually lay flat and would cramp the third row leg house. Nonetheless, both sides folds away to create extra choices.

Rear reclining seats on the 2022 Toyota Sienna.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

A former Canadian governor-general as soon as used minivans as his private transport in convoys because of this: they are often supremely comfy within the second row, whereas additionally staying nameless among the many SUVs.

The Sienna doesn’t have the immensely sensible “Stow-n-Go” function of the Chryslers, the place the second and third rows fold simply beneath the ground to create a spacious rear cabin. Its second-row seats are too plush to suit into such a small cupboard space and may solely fold ahead if not needed. They’ll take away, however it’s not sensible. The Pacifica, nonetheless, doesn’t provide Stow-n-Go together with its hybrid editions, as a result of the batteries take up that cupboard space, or with its top-end Pinnacle trim, as a result of the extra comfy seats are too cumbersome. As talked about, there are all the time execs and cons.

Tech Specs

  • Base value/As examined: $41,050 / $59,290, plus $1,890 Freight and PDI, and taxes
  • Engine: 2.5-litre, inline 4 with hybrid electrical motors
  • Transmission/Drive: CVT / Entrance-wheel drive or All-wheel drive
  • Gasoline financial system (litres/100 kilometres): 6.8 Metropolis, 6.6 Freeway, 6.7 Mixed (claimed)
  • Alternate options: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler Pacifica AWD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival

Seems to be

This latest-generation Sienna appears extra aggressive than earlier than. The designers pulled again the A-pillar, raised the hood, and put just a little bulge across the rear wheels, as they could for an SUV. But it surely’s nonetheless a minivan.


Most every part is managed via the centre touchscreen on the 2022 Toyota Sienna. There are guide switches for the cabin warmth and luxury, and for the radio quantity and tuning.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Fairly beautiful for consolation, and every part falls at hand simply. There’s a big cubby space beneath the transmission lever, which is good for a handbag or small bag, although push buttons as an alternative of a lever would supply much more airiness. Most every part is managed via the centre touchscreen, whereas there are guide switches for the cabin warmth and luxury, and for the radio quantity and tuning. No ready for the display screen to heat up on a winter morning to show down the sound or swap on the seat heaters.


It’s not fast – it’s a minivan, don’t overlook – however it’s easy, comfy and the digital steering is agency. There’s a Sport driving mode that adjustments the transmission ratios, however you’ll most likely overlook about it.

Gasoline consumption is so much higher than most minivans and bigger SUVs. My very own noticed consumption was 10.2 litres/100 kilometres over about 1,000 kilometres of driving, however this was in bitterly chilly climate and on the comfy pace of visitors. I might usually anticipate about 12 litres/100 kilometres in such circumstances.

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The brand new Sienna is just offered as a hybrid. It has an possibility for switching to pure electrical drive, however this may solely final a few kilometres beneath gentle load; it’s actually meant to be used in congested visitors and drive-through line-ups.


The 2022 Toyota Sienna with winter tires has no issues with a snow-covered, 15-degree slopeMark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

The AWD, which comes at a premium of virtually $2,000 over the FWD fashions, could be very succesful. It’s really a devoted electrical motor hooked up to the rear axle that’s activated when wanted or desired – like all Toyota hybrid AWD fashions, there isn’t a mechanical driveshaft hooked up to the transmission.

I took the Sienna AWD to my favorite unmaintained steep hill in January, the place there was sheer ice on its typically 15-degree slope, and drove up and down with out slippage or incident. Winter tires made this attainable, in fact. I met a novice driver in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon who was fairly terrified, however emboldened when she noticed the street might be conquered by a minivan.

This top-end version included all the motive force’s help options accessible from Toyota, however I turned off the lane-guiding help when cruising on the freeway. It stored combating my place within the lane and was simply annoying. I’m positive it is aware of higher than I do, however I don’t have this concern with automobiles from different producers.


When the third row of seats is stowed beneath the ground, there’s room for two,129 litres of bags, and nonetheless comfy seating for 4 or 5.Mark Richardson/The Globe and Mail

Enormous house within the again, in fact, for passengers and cargo – formally, 2,860 litres behind the entrance seats. The second row solely pushes ahead and doesn’t take away simply, however this is identical for the Honda and Kia, and the seats do fold pretty compact. When all three rows are raised, there’s as a lot room to sit down within the third row as within the second, nonetheless with a deep effectively for 949 litres of bags behind.

The decision

The brand new Sienna will provide you with extra in a single automobile than some other van, if you happen to pay for it. It will provide you with a hybrid engine and likewise all-wheel drive. For those who eschew all of the comforts and applied sciences of the high-end seven-seater tester, you may have a hybrid AWD for about $47,000 together with Freight and PDI, which is a really cheap value for such a automobile. Or you may rattling the expense, tick all of the packing containers and nudge $70,000. It’ll be probably the most loaded van in Canada.

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