Can’t get over the stigma of driving a lame minivan? Well, Toyota has the answer to change all that. Cue the 2022 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD. The fourth generation Sienna is meant to be a game changer for the North American market. Toyota has been killing it for years in the Asian markets with their Alphard and Vellfire. On this side of the pond, more and more families are realizing an SUV will never quite match the family friendless of a minivan.
Gone are the days where mini buyers are satisfied with a box on four wheels. They now demand all the convenience and ease of use while still looking good on the road. Toyota has taken this challenge head on and placed a ton of effort into styling the Sienna. Designers have taken inspiration from the iconic Shinkansen Japanese bullet train, making the front end with SUV proportions featuring a bold lower grille with sculpted wrap around headlights, and chrome finishing sets things off with a luxurious presence. Muscular flares and sculpted fenders express a sense of athleticism.
The flowing lines on the side of the Sienna create a visual sense of speed. The taillights flow along with the lines on the car creating bold body features accentuating the muscular fenders. Interesting features can be found on every angle of the Sienna. The fact that I can spend a whole paragraph praising the Sienna’s good looks are unprecedented as well as a testament.
The interior styling of the Sienna deserves equal praise. Toyota has completely reimagined on how the space of a minivan can be utilized. The floating center console is a welcomed innovation, and a floating bridge in the center gives infinite options to store personal belongings for easy access. The opening below still allows drivers to store your bags or bulkier items out of sight. The design gives the driver a car like experience with the console wrapping around like a cockpit.
Instead of maximizing the number of occupants we can stuff into the van, Toyota has opted to maximize occupant comfort. The second captain seats ride on an extended rail which allows passengers to sit way back into the cabin, deploy the built in ottoman and lean back for a first class commuting experience. With the second row seats pushed way back and seats reclined, the Sienna is more comfortable than any limo can offer. The large 11.6 inch rear entertainment unit completes the first class travel experience for rear passengers.
This seating arrangement means the second row cannot be completely removed to maximize cargo volume when needed. Cargo behind the third row is as good as any in the segment at 949-litres of space. The Sienna can hold 2,129-liters behind the second row and only 2,860-liters with the second row folded and pushed all the way forward. The Sienna’s main rival, the Honda Odyssey has capacity of 3,973-liters behind the first row.
The overall cargo design is high end with pleasing materials all around. The graphite leather is supple and creates an airy ambience, with a dashboard design that’s functional and contemporary. The nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system gives the interior the high tech look needed for today’s family. Seven USB ports should be enough to keep the whole family connected, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay simplifies connectivity needs. The premium 12 speaker JBL system is a treat for passengers, and there is no shortage of tech gadgets to keep the family entertained on longer trips. The use of materials in the Limited trim makes the Sienna a close rival to Lexus products.
Toyota continues to push the boundaries, striving to be a leader in the segment by being the first manufacturer to offer their minivan with a hybrid powertrain only, with the option of front-drive or all-wheel-drive. Our tester is equipped with the latter, allowing the Sienna to plow through the snow storm with authority. Going from a traditional V6 in the previous generation to a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with hybrid technology is sacrificing power for efficiency. The power plant outputs a respectable net 245 horsepower, though the hybrid system does give the Sienna better response that anyone would expect.
Around town and city driving, the drop in power was not missed at all; it’s when you romp onto the highway that the lack of oomph is noticeable. Overtaking at highway speeds will take a bit of anticipation and planning. The CVT transmission responds well to keep the Sienna in the power band, but there isn’t much to be done to ignore the sheer weight of the van. Dropping in the powertrain from the RAV4 Prime would really help the Sienan in this regard.
Fortunately, efficiency makes up for all of the powertrain’s drawbacks. The 2022 Sienna’s average fuel consumption is rated at 6.8L/100km in the city and 6.6L/100km on the highway, for a combined 6.7L/100km on the all-wheel-drive model. Front-drive models deliver an even more impressive 6.5L/100km combined average. Real world consumption average during my week of testing was not as impressive at 9.4L/100km albeit all city driven and in the bitter cold of winter.
Handling and ride quality of the Sienna is excellent. The steering is perfectly weighted without feeling overly assisted. There is a heft that gives drivers a solid and direct connection to the wheels even though there isn’t any steering feel, however on center feel is solid at cruising speeds. It’s a very easy and relaxing experience without feeling sloppy.
Our tester is the top of the line Limited AWD 7 passenger, the top trim with a sticker of $59,290. It’s a bit of sticker shock for a minivan, but once you experience it, this price becomes a bargain. It includes all the comfort and luxuries, such as leather seating both heated and ventilated. Second row seating simply takes it to the next level, as none of the competition comes close to the Sienna’s interior appointments.
The 2022 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD is one of the most compelling packages amongst its competition. Toyota has done a lot of thinking outside of the box and broken away from the conventional minivan focus of utility and functionality. Making the Toyota more car like and luxurious should draw in a lot of potential buyers who always stayed away because of the lack of character. The all new Toyota has gotten an injection of style both inside and out while still maintaining its excellent usability and family friendless.