|✓ Sporty styling thanks to XSE trim||☓ Engine drone thanks to the CVT|
|✓ Roomy and comfortable||☓ Numb braking feel|
|✓ Best-in-class fuel economy||☓ Fairly high step-up/ingress|
2022 Toyota Sienna XSE Overview
Who said minivans are dead?
With three-row SUVs dominating the roads, you might think the minivan has more or less been erased from existence. Not so: The 2022 Toyota Sienna minivan shows that there’s plenty of life left in the segment, if only because you can’t deny their long-running practicality. For this generation, automakers are giving their vans some more pizzazz and more features.
Toyota sold 83,447 Siennas in the first nine months of 2021 with this slickly redesigned model. That is still a healthy figure, and it’s hardly alone. Right now, it’s battling in the minivan market with the updated Honda Odyssey, the refreshed Chrysler Pacifica and the all-new Kia Carnival.
The new gas-electric Sienna has a long hood and curvy styling that somewhat resembles a sporty SUV, although its twin siding doors give its true nature away. It is quite aerodynamic, with a slippery 0.28 drag coefficient. However, rear visibility is poor, so a driver best use the large outside rearview mirrors. In this generation, Toyota’s minivan staple comes exclusively as a conventional hybrid, with no need to plug-in, in either front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. Prices range from approximately $34,460 to $50,460. As tested, the 2022 Toyota Sienna XSE I drove came out to $42,860.
Comfort and Convenience
How spacious is your garage? The Sienna is a pretty big one: 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 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.
My test Sienna XSE AWD’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.
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 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.
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 recognition.
The new Toyota Sienna has a sophisticated 2.5-liter, 189 horsepower four-cylinder gas engine and two electric motors for a combined output of 245 horsepower. With all-wheel drive, this van weighs a hefty 4,675 pounds, but delivers an impressive estimated 35 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on highways. Even better, it can make those figures on 87 octane fuel.
Acceleration is swift in town and 65-75 MPH 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 MPH time is a respectable 7.7 seconds, give or take, at least with just a driver onboard. I got the feeling that you could use a bit more power 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.
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.
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.
Well, is the 2022 Toyota Sienna worth it?
The 2020 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD hybrid can easily pass as a good mom-mobile, to use the old minivan adage. But it sure doesn’t scream it like yesteryear’s vans did.
Quick summary? The 2022 Toyota Sienna is a vaguely sporty, economical minivan that’s above-average (if not absolutely spectacular) in every category. This new model and its updated rivals breathe some new life into the minivan market, so even if you don’t end up fancying this, you have more good choices than ever — which TFL explores in the video below: