2022 Toyota Sienna Limited — Hybrid-only minivan sheds negative stigma

By Jim Prueter

(November 10, 2022) Forget about frumpy minivan styling and any negative thoughts you’ve had about minivans that’s scared the hell out of you because the freshly restyled, redesigned Sienna sheds all the stigmas and stress you’ve braced yourself for with ownership and leaves you with nothing short of amazement.

No, the Sienna isn’t going to look svelte or sporting but in terms of moving kids, pets, sleeping bags, sporting equipment, and the fifth-grade basketball team the functional advantages of the Sienna are dispositive with its cavernous interior and seating room for as many as eight nothing else even comes close.

Toyota takes a bold new step by making it exclusively a four-cylinder hybrid through all seven trim levels – LE, XLE, XSE, 25th Anniversary Edition, Limited, Platinum, a Woodland Edition with standard all-wheel drive and new for 2023 a mid-range Sport model. Our test Sienna was the well-equipped Limited finished in the attractive Blue Print exterior color with graphite colored leather upholstery.

Along with the hybrid change, styling is also a new with a more exciting contemporary design in an attempt to shed its historically frumpy image.  We like the more stylish and massive wide-mouth grille, sliver-thin headlamps and chiseled exterior front, side and back sheet metal design. It’s a thoroughly modern and attractive minivan.

Regardless of trim level all Sienna models are powered exclusively as a hybrid consisting of a 2.5-liter gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors that combine to make 245 net horsepower. All-wheel models add a third electric motor in back that drives the rear wheels.

And, with the price of a gallon of gasoline these days hovering around $4 to $6 a gallon depending on what state you reside, the EPA fuel economy of 36 mpg is about 25% greater than its main Honda Odyssey arch rival. During our week of testing with a fully loaded 6-passengers and gear capacity we averaged just over 33 mpg on our trip to Utah and it’s Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. Around town and even on the highway when passing we found plenty of power sans drama.

Our Limited came equipped with the optional leather-trimmed and heated second row captain’s chairs with the “Super Long slide” feature with ottomans for additional comfort. There’s also seven USB charging ports, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay. Android Auto and Amazon Alexa connectivity all standard. 18 cup holders, and hi-definition 11.6-inch display monitors with two wireless headphones for entertainment and Toyota even provides Sirius XM satellite radio. There’s even an “easy speak” intercom system so the driver can speak to rear-seated passengers with out shouting.

Standard safety features include Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert and a standard rear seat minder to check the back rows for children when exiting the van.

Overall, while SUVs are the choice darlings of the car buying public, it’s impossible to beat the practicality of and functional advantages of the Sienna. We love the one-touch door handle button that slides the side doors open while alleviating the fear of parking too close to other vehicles and having the kids bang the doors into them. The smooth, quiet operation of the vehicle along with its ease of driving is a stress reliever and the added fuel economy makes it even better. For parents with young kids at home, pets, hobbies and gear, nothing beats a minivan. The benefits are endless.

2022 Toyota Sienna

Base Price: $46,800
Price as Tested: $49,930
Engine/Transmission: Hybrid gas-electric system with 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder and Atkinson Hybrid setup including 244-bolt nickel-metal hydride battery pack that delivers a combined 245-horsepower front-biased on-demand all-wheel drive paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
EPA Fuel Economy: 36/36/36  mpg – City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 7 or 8

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Highest possible 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and highest possible 2022 top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Where Built: Princeton, Indiana, USA

Competes With:
Chrysler Pacifica
Honda Odyssey
Kia Carnival

Terrific gas mileage
Roomy, comfy, practical
Excellent visibility, ride and handling
Top crash test safety ratings

Built-in vacuum discontinued for 2022
Seating isn’t as configurable as competitors