2023 Toyota Sienna Pros:
– It offers space, function, safety, in one single package.
– With hybrid power and AWD, the Sienna all-season proof and very fuel-efficient.
– I think it’s a looker too.
2023 Toyota Sienna Cons:
– No matter how bad you or I want one, we’ll be about 2.5 years older when we take delivery.
I’ve touched on this in the recent past: Toyota’s onto something with its hybrid- and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Despite being late or slow to join the EV movement, their current line of products demonstrates that consumers who are not yet ready for a full EV still want electrified vehicles. With demand ridiculously outstripping availability, may I present to you unobtanium, minivan style: The 2023 Toyota Sienna.
Minivans and the Sienna rule
Stop me if you’ve read this before but minivans rule. Also, SUVs are a failed attempt at making utility vehicles cool. Again, let’s not pretend that minivan are not SUVs as they are as sporty as most of them but far more utilitarian than any of them. Ok, let’s compromise, as SUV buyers all do, and refer to minivans as Smart Utility Vehicles…
Smart because minivans actually do more for the same or less money than all “traditional” SUVs under $200,000. Case in point with the Sienna, and Honda Odyssey to be fair, power sliding doors are standard and available with the Chrysler Pacifica and Kia Carnival. Nearly all SUVs, short of a Rolls Royce Cullinan, will make you open your own doors… Perish the thought… And if bragging about delivery delays is your thing, commission a Cullinan now and you’ll get it in about a year. Your Sienna will take about 2.5 times longer. Ha!
In all seriousness, I know minivan have a bad rap but that’s only because it’s so gifted – nerds are always made fun of. The latter however typically do far better in life than the others, in this case, SUVs. Life is complicated, loaded with challenges, and if you have a family, why not help yourself?
The 2023 Toyota Sienna will easily fit seven or eight passengers, and even with the third row in place, still offers a staggering 949 litres of boot space – more than many compact and midsize SUVs. Have only two kids? Maybe three? With the third row neatly stowed in the floor, unlike the new Sequoia, a vastness unlike any other, up to 2,129 litres (more than 71% of a Nissan Rogue’s total interior volume) of usable storage space, opens up.
Speaking of storage and making life easier, the Sienna offers a near-endless series of areas to stow items like a tissue box, phones, keys, wipes, bags, purses, and this is in the front row alone. Space is clearly ample in the second row, especially with the tested XSE’s long slide seats, but it must be said that the third row is humane. Two adults, and I’ve done it, can sit in the rear and for many hours – try that in almost any midsize three-row SUV. I’ll send flowers to your room after your spine surgery.
Infotainment requirements are handled via the standard 9-inch touchscreen display offered with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Included features cover all needs however, in order to combine AWD, power lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, and a power hatch, the XSE must be selected. At just shy of $50,000, it’s the perfect Sienna, with one potential exception.
All versions of the 2023 Toyota Sienna are powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-litre Atkinson 4-cylinder engine that produces 245 horsepower, with or without the rear electric motor, coupled to an eCVT transmission. In short, power is fine, fuel efficiency is unmatched. Even with me at the helm, 7L/100km will be an easily attainable average.
The XSE features a sport tuned suspension and is the only version to do. The standard chassis setup is comfortable and supple enough for all roads and adventures. The simplest way to describe what “sport tuned” is comes down to the dampers and springs being less forgiving. The upside is that handling, yes handling, is sharper but ultimately, this is a pointless “improvement in my opinion. Now, a Woodland Edition with increased ground clearance as offered in the US, on the one hand, would be very welcomed.
Overall, driving the 2023 Sienna is gratifying in that no one and nothing gets left behind all the while consuming very little fuel. Oh, and as always, set the drive mode to ECO and the transmission becomes very tolerable.
It’s the best utility vehicle
Need I say more? No, I do not. But, to be clear, the Kia Carnival, Chrysler Pacifica and Grand Caravan, and Honda Odyssey are all very good people and stuff movers. The Toyota is just the best one of the lot.