Prices start at $41,050 in Canada, which is $600 more than in 2021.
Rear electric motor for AWD capability is a $1,840 option.
If you want “must-have” features, including all-wheel drive, there’s a $7,500 premium to pay.
I have yet to find a Toyota Sienna that I don’t like. In fact, Toyota has long made some of the most interesting minivans for sale in Canada, including the AWD Previa supercharged mid-engined exotic. The current-generation Sienna is arguably the most accomplished of them all as it combines efficiency, space, technology and good driving. There is a price to pay, however…
I won’t 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 van for family work, especially one that burns less fuel than our compact wagon. Although the process did not lead me to acquire a new van, it did shed light on the van’s product planning strategy.
I drove a basic Sienna, loved it, but lacked essential features
The base Hybrid LE FWD Sienna, the one I reviewed for this story, is well optioned. As standard, it includes heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power sliding side doors, rear sunshades, 9-inch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and much more. For $41,050, the basics are all there. For an extra $1,840, Toyota will drop an electric motor on the rear axle and you’re set. Well, not quite.
The LE dispenses with a power tailgate, keyless entry, and the seating surfaces are upholstered in a light-colored cloth fabric. If you have children, these three elements are against a happy existence because convenience is paramount to mental health. No need to worry because Toyota has you covered on all fronts for $44,050, the XLE includes power tailgate, softex seat surfaces and smart key access. The XLE delivers in all but one way.
The XLE has one major flaw, it can’t be fitted with the rear electric motor, that’s the catch. As a Canadian or anyone living above the snow belt, AWD is a must. And to get all-wheel drive with the features you want, you have to buy an XSE.
The XSE is the one, for a price
The $46,950 XSE adds a premium audio system (bah), 20-inch wheels and “sport” suspension (whatever), sunroof (extra weight), and LED lighting (thin). Here’s the real kicker though: The rear electric motor costs $2,000 more ($160 more than the LE) and the 20-inch wheels are replaced with 18-inch wheels (better ride).
At $48,590, the 2022 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD is still at least $4,000 (before rebates) cheaper than the lowest-priced 2022 Chrysler Pacifica AWD. The Sienna is also much more fuel efficient.
Unrivaled AWD hybrid efficiency
The Sienna is the only hybrid minivan that can also be configured with AWD capability. The naturally aspirated 2.5-liter Atkinson 4-cylinder engine produces 243 horsepower with or without the rear electric motor. Although the total system output is unchanged, the initial launch is stronger with AWD.
The hybrid powertrain gives the Sienna the title of most fuel-efficient minivan, and by some margin. Rated at a combined fuel consumption of 6.5 L/100 km, it is second to none. The penalties accrued by the additional electric motor include a weight gain of 150 lbs and an estimated return fuel consumption average of 6.7 L/100 km. The difference, in the real world, is non-existent.
Incredibly functional cabin
The base Sienna LE still offers an exceptionally functional and user-friendly cabin. Storage in all rows for all versions is amply generous, especially in the front.
The LE’s 8-passenger configuration means that the second row includes a middle position that, for all intents and purposes, will only serve one child. Starting with the XSE, the second row includes captain’s chairs for maximum comfort and seating for seven.
It’s still the van to get
In the spring of 2021, we are evaluating the four new minivans available for sale in Canada. Our conclusion determined that the Honda Odyssey is a great driver’s van and therefore took the top spot, if only by half a hair.
2021 Minivan Comparison Test: Minivans Have Evolved
In our video (we know the audio is horrible) I declare the Toyota Sienna to be my favorite ever. It’s also the best all-around minivan and unfortunately Toyota Canada knows that and what you and I want in our minivan.