2015 Toyota Sienna at a glance
Front-engine, front-/all wheel-drive. Six-speed automatic transmission
3.5-litre DOHC V6 (266 hp and 245 lb/ft
(Regular) FWD, 13.0/9.5/11.4L/100 km (22/30/26 mpg) city/highway/combined; AWD, 14.4/10.2/12.5L/100 km (20/28/25 mpg)
4,259 litres (150.0 cu ft behind front seats; 2,470 litres (87.1 cu ft) behind second row; 1,110 litres (39.1 cu ft) behind third row.
1,588 kg (3,500 lb); base seven-seat and topline seven-seat XLE AWD, 680 kg (1,500 lb).
Base, $30,690; LE FWD/AWD, $33,50/$36,775; SE, $37,495; XLE AWD, $41,380; Limited, $45,875 not including $1,690 shipping fee?
2015 Toyota Sienna ? bigger is better
CHARLOTTE, NC: It's interesting that the 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan is in step with its competitors in adding more and more features to a segment that some will tell you is pass?.
Much of this has to do with advances in technology that see minivans of today better equipped than some of the top prestige sedans of only a decade ago.
For instance, with a starting price of $30,690, the 2015 Sienna sports a standard rearview backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity and, a rarity in any segment, a passenger seat cushion airbag ? and that is just a few of the advanced features.
Toyota is upping the content and giving more ways to mix and match because that?s what consumers want.
Of course, the central buying reason is for hauling people.
There will always be a market for seven/eight-seat vehicles rather than a utility vehicle, a segment largely taken over now by the mushrooming growth in high-roof commercial vans.
This being a 2015 model, people aspire to more luxury features and the Sienna can certainly deliver on that front.
For example, a list of standard features includes: three-zone independent automatic climate control; one-touch folding third-row seats for easy stowing; ECO indicator; power windows with auto up/down function on all windows; rear privacy glass; steering wheel-mounted audio controls and voice recognition controls; three onboard 12-volt DC accessory power outlets; cruise control; power door locks with keyless entry; dual sliding side doors; dual power adjustable and heated exterior mirrors; the automatic headlamp system and a rear spoiler.
There?s more but you get the picture ? even the base model is hardly a stripped down version.
Standard engine is a 3.5-litre DOHC V6 producing 266 hp and 245 lb/ft of torque on regular gasoline. A six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels or all-wheel-drive is available on certain trim levels.
The Sienna is the only minivan in Canada to offer AWD.
NRCan 2015 fuel rating for the FWD models is 13.0/9.5/11.4L/100 km (22/30/26 mpg) city/highway/combined and 14.4/10.2/12.5L/100 km (20/28/25 mpg) for the AWD versions.
Tow rating is 1,588 kg (3,500 lb) with the exception of the base seven-seat LE and the topline seven-seat XLE AWD which is 680 kg (1,500 lb).
Of course minivans are all about space and the Sienna starts with 4,259 litres (150.0 cu ft) of cargo volume behind the front seats. Behind the second row there is 2,470 litres (87.1 cu ft) and behind the third row, 1,110 litres (39.1 cu ft).
If you?ve ever had a van full of excited kids, keeping them in line can be tough when you?re in the front and youngsters are tussling in the back seat.
First seen on the Highlander SUV, the Sienna offers the Driver Easy Speak system.
Using built-in microphones that pump up the volume of the driver?s voice though the rear speakers, those in the back seat will get the message loud and clear.
The driver also has a pull down centre ?conversation? mirror to keep an eye on what?s going on at the back.
If that doesn?t keep them quiet, there is an available 16.4-inch wide Blu-Ray monitor overhead with HDMI input and two sets of wireless headphones.
Also available is a seven-inch touch screen with capacitive switches that allows users to swipe items ?on? and ?off? the screen. The touch screen may also be customized to place favourite features on the home screen.
The interior itself has been redesigned for 2015 with extensive use of soft touch materials. The instrument panel has been changed with easier to comprehend at a glance gauges.
Leather seating with contrasting white stitching is an option. On the topline Limited model, there is wood grain trim and a sliding wooden front console box.
The full list of standard features and options alone would fill this column space so I direct you to www.toyota.ca/sienna
Driving time behind the wheel of the new Sienna was severely limited due the fact it was held in conjunction with the new Toyota Camry and an illuminating if longish visit to the headquarters of NASCAR?s Joe Gibbs Racing and meeting with Joe Gibbs himself.
Ergo driving impressions are based on the short drive back to the hotel at the end of the day, but you have probably already guessed that Sienna performed exactly as expected.
With front MacPherson strut and rear torsion bar suspension you sense the Sienna is quite sturdy based on the ?feel? coming through the steering wheel.
Being high, wide and handsome, that backup camera was a blessing trying to edge my way into the Winner?s Circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a photo op.
I was surprised at the tight turning circle. I also liked the ability to place the large outside mirrors correctly, which did away with a lot of the blind spot problem, although a blind spot warning system is available on some trim models.
As noted, pricing starts at $30,690 and tops out at $45,875 for the AWD Limited with every option included.
In my opinion, the SE at $37,495 is probably the volume model with sports suspension, 19-inch aluminum wheels and Toyota?s seven-inch Display Audio system with XM Satellite Radio, advanced voice recognition and Bluetooth capability.
This is the one I drove and it came with the optional ($5,355) Technology Package that included the Blu-Ray rear-seat entertainment system and navigation system; Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems; the Toyota Smart Key System with power back door button and Push Button Start; a power moon roof; and an anti-theft system.
Total price including $1,690 shipping fee was $44,672.15.
You may not be considering a full-size minivan at this moment, but the time will come, such as during the holidays, when seven or eight seats will be much appreciated.
An extra plus is Toyota? reputation for build quality and reliability that results in a high resale value.