Pricing starts at $41,050 in Canada or $600 more than in 2021.
The rear electric motor for AWD capability is a $1,840 option.
If you want “must-have” features including AWD, there’s a $7,500 premium to pay.
I’ve yet to find a Toyota Sienna I don’t like. In fact, Toyota has long made soon of the most interesting minivans for sale in Canada including the exotic-like mid-engine supercharged AWD Previa. The current generation Sienna is undoubtedly the most accomplished of all as it combines efficiency, space, technology, and a good drive. There’s a price to pay, however…
I’ll not pretend I wasn’t shopping for a Sienna last, because I was. As much as I love our Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen, it’s impossible to beat a minivan for family work, especially one that consumes less fuel than our compact wagon. While the process did not lead me to acquire a new minivan, it did shine a light on the minivan’s product planning strategy.
I drove a base Sienna, loved it, but it was missing critical features
The base Hybrid LE FWD Sienna, the one I’ve reviewed for this story, is well optioned out. As standard, it features heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, power sliding side doors, rear sunshades, a 9-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and far more. For $41,050, the basics are all here. For an extra $1,840, Toyota will drop an electric motor on the rear axle and you’re all set. Well, not quite.
The LE does without a power rear hatch, keyless entry, and seating surfaces are covered in light-colored cloth fabric. If you have kids, these three elements are contrary to a happy existence because convenience is paramount to sanity. No need to worry as Toyota has you covered on all fronts for $44,050, the XLE includes the power hatch, softex seating surfaces, and smart key access. The XLE delivers in all ways except one.
The XLE has one major flaw and that is that it cannot be fitted with the rear electric motor – that’s the trap. As a Canadian, or anyone living above the Snowbelt, AWD is a must. And to get AWD with the wanted features, you must purchase an XSE.
The XSE is the one, for a price
The XSE, at $46,950, adds a premium audio system (bah), 20-inch wheels and a “sport” suspension (whatever), a moonroof (extra weight), and LED lighting (fine). Here’s the real kicker though: The rear electric motor is an extra $2,000 ($160 more than for the LE) and the 20-inch wheels are replaced by 18-inch wheels (better ride).
At $48,590, the 2022 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD is still at least $4,000 (before rebates) less expensive than the cheapest 2022 Chrysler Pacifica AWD. The Sienna is also far easier on fuel.
Unmatched AWD hybrid efficiency
The Sienna is the only hybrid minivan that can also be configured with AWD capability. The naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre Atkinson 4-cylinder engine produces 243 horsepower with or without the rear electric motor. Despite total system output is unchanged, the initial launch is stronger with AWD.
The hybrid powertrain endows the Sienna with the title of the most fuel-efficient minivan, and by some margin. Rated at a combined 6.5L/100km, it is unmatched. The penalties accrued by the additional electric motor comprises in a 150-lb weight gain and an estimated return fuel consumption average of 6.7L/100km. The difference, in the real world, is non-existent.
Incredibly functional cabin
The base Sienna LE still provides an exceptionally functional and user-friendly cabin. Storage in all rows for all versions is plenty to generous especially up front.
The LE’s 8-seater configuration means the second row includes a central position that, for all intents and purposes, will only serve a child. From the XSE, the second-row features captain’s chairs for maximum comfort and seating for seven.
It’s still the minivan to get
In the spring of 2021, we proceed to evaluate all four new minivans available for sale in Canada. Our conclusion determined that the Honda Odyssey is a great driver’s minivan and thus took the first place, if only by half a hair.
In our video (we know the audio’s horrible), I do state that the Toyota Sienna is still my favorite. It’s also the best all-around performer and, unfortunately, Toyota Canada knows this and what you and I want in our minivan.