2022 Toyota Sienna Review

2022 Toyota Sienna - Toyota shows minivans can be desireable


2022 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD hybrid: Price: $42,860

Pros—Sporty styling. Roomy. Nice ride. Good handling. Decent acceleration. Good economy. All-wheel drive. Safety items.

Cons—Engine drone. Numb brake feel. Fairly high step up.  

Bottom Line—A vaguely sporty, economical minivan that’s generally above-average.

Who said minivans are dead?

With vehicles such as three-row SUVs, some might think the minivan has been eased out. But the 2022 Toyota Sienna minivan shows that there’s plenty of life left in this vehicle category, if only because their celebrated practicality can’t be denied. Automakers has just given them more pizzaz and features.  

Toyota sold 83,447 Siennas in the first nine months of 2021 with a slickly redesigned model. It’s battling in the minivan market with the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica and new Kia Carnival.

The 2022 gas-electric Sienna has a long hood, curvy styling and somewhat resembles a sporty SUV, although its twin siding doors give it away. It is quite aerodynamic with only a .28 drag coefficient, but rear vision is poor so a driver best use the large outside rearview mirrors. This minivan comes exclusively as a hybrid with no need for plug-in charging in a variety of front- or all-wheel-drive versions. Prices range from approximately $34,460 to $50,460.

How spacious is your garage? The Sienna is a pretty big guy: 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 test Sienna XSE AWD hybrid ’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.

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.

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.

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 Sienna has a sophisticated 2.5-liter, 189 horsepower four-cylinder gas engine and electric motors for a combined output of 245 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive version weighs a hefty 4,675 pounds but delivers an impressive estimated 35 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on highways. Only 87-octane is needed.

Acceleration is swift in town and 65-75 m.p.h. 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 m.p.h. time is a respectable 7.7 seconds, give or take a few tenths of a second, at least with just a driver aboard. I got the feeling that more power would be appreciated 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.

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.
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.

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 assist.

The 2020 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD hybrid can easily pass as a good mom-mobile, to use an old minivan description, but it sure doesn’t look like one.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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