Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 Toyota Sienna SE: The Most Powerful Minivan In The Segment

Highlight: All of Toyota vehicles include two years or 25,000 miles of complimentary maintenance.

Test Vehicles MSRP: $40,830 (Base MSRP: $30,690)

Seating Capacity: 7 or 8

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a windshield wiper de-icer; a rear camera; vehicle stability control; traction control; smart stop technology; Daytime running lights; a safety connect system (roadside assistance, a stolen vehicle locator, automatic collision notification); and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base L Model): 17-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; a 3-zone automatic climate control system; a power driver’s seat; second-row captain chairs; cloth trimmed 7-passenger seating; a third-row seat with a stow feature; a manual operated tilt-telescopic steering wheel; a 3.5-inch infotainment screen; a heavy duty rear window defogger and timer; and a remote keyless entry system

Standard Equipment (SE): 19-inch wheels; an electronic blind spot with a rear traffic cross alert; privacy glass rear windows; projector beam headlights with off/on feature; dual power sliding doors with a power liftgate; chrome outside door handles with sensor touch lock/unlock feature; a power moonroof; leather seats; power heated front seats; leather-like trimmed third-row seats; a 4.2-inch infotainment screen; a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio; a driver easy speak feature (utilizes a microphone in the overhead console to amplify the driver’s voice throughout the cabin); a push button ignition starter system; a dual view DVD entertainment center; and black roof rails; manual operated second/third row sunshades; and an automatic dimming rearview mirror with compass

Options: None

Other Trim Level

LE; XLE; Limited; and Limited Premium

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder turbo/296-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: The 2017 Sienna is in the final stretch of its life cycle. A new minivan is slated to arrive in 2018. So, with the exception a few tweaks in the packaging and an extra 30-horsepower, the Japanese-built minivan is essentially a carryover this model year.

Why: Toyota’s Sienna is available as a seven or an eight passenger minivan in a variety of trims. The Japanese people mover is available with a front wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. In fact, the Sienna is the only vehicle in the segment offering an all-wheel drive system.

Besides this minivan being able to tread through most weather conditions, this minivan is also a standout in the segment due to its powerful engine. In fact, this year, Sienna adds an extra 30-horsepower to the 6-cylinder engine, which is aided by an all-new fuel efficient 8-speed automatic transmission.

And the main driving factor while buyers select a minivan is because of the ease of the side sliding doors, seating capacity and cargo space. The Sienna fits the bill, offering a variety of trims and seating configurations, depending on if one opts for the quad buckets or bench middle row seats.

For instance, the middle row bench seats can be removed and stowed in the left side of the cabin’s storage area. And, for those choosing not to remove the second row bench seats, but require additional space, the seats can be slid toward the back, making it easier to store additional items or installing a child seat or two. Moreover, the rear third seat can be folded flat, providing additional storage. Yes, the Sienna provides a variety of seating and storage options.

Furthermore, the Sienna can be outfitted a host of features to keep the driver and its occupants comfortable and entertained. Besides an available dual DVD entertainment system, every vehicle includes a standard three zone ventilation system. The driver even has access to a built-in conversation mirror, which is integrated into the overhead console. This must-have feature allows the driver to serve as the perfect host or tour guide, staying engaged with the occupants through the optional microphone that is built into the voice command system.

Moreover, this minivan keeps all the occupants safe by offering such driving aids as a blind spot monitor with a rear cross traffic alert system, a pre-collision system and a radar-activated cruise control system.

Lastly, this space aged minivan, with its upright seating positions, which is on par with most of today’s crossovers, offers loads of comfort features and car-like ride and handling, too.

But: With Chrysler, Honda and Kia are offering fresh vehicles in the segment, some critics believe the Sienna is getting to be a little long in the tooth. Most of the competitors in the segment offer cutting edge designs and swanky interiors. Toyota, which offers only one powertrain, has an opportunity to add a hybrid and/or plug-in model, which will help to increase the fuel-efficiency of this soccer mom vehicle.

Lastly, all but one of the competitors in the segment has a starting price below the $30,000 mark.

Verdict: For the first third of the year, the Sienna continues to be the best-selling minivan in the states. However, the Pacifica, which offers a new design and the latest technology, is right on its heels. The Sienna, which is in its final life cycle, before the next generation arrives, has a proven track record of reliability and craftsmanship over newbies. It continues to be a great value buy for those who needs the utility and space that can’t be matched in the crossover segment.

Competition: Chrysler Pacifica; Dodge Grand Caravan; Honda Odyssey; Nissan Quest; and Kia Sedona

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