Toyota has been in the minivan market for decades, though the Sienna didn’t roll on the scene until 1998. That first year, the Sienna was marketed as the “Camry of Minivans.” That made sense since it was based on the Camry and used the same 194-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6. The second-generation Sienna came around in 2004 with much improved styling that looked more grown up. A larger, more powerful V-6 was used and the interior had more creature comforts. Things soldiered on almost unchanged until 2011 when the third generation entered production.

Technically the Sienna is still in its third generation, but for 2015, the Swagger Wagon gets a smart exterior update, an updated dashboard, and even more added comfort.

I spent some time catching a sneak peak at the revisions on the 2015 Sienna along the white sands of Ponte Vedra Beach in sunny Florida. The cool breeze and warm weather were perfect for a family vacation, and so was the Sienna. With seating for up to eight passengers and all their gear, the Sienna proved yet again why minivans do it better.

With the rear seats folded, there’s more cargo room than in many crossovers, plus seats for five. That’s hard to beat. Mom and dad up front now have the ability to communicate with backseat passengers though Toyota’s EasySpeak microphone system. A new dash layout complete with an easy-to-use HVAC control, Entune infotainment system, and revised gauge cluster means this Swagger Wagon rolls in style and utility.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 2015 Toyota Sienna

  • 2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    266
  • MPG(Cty):
    18
  • MPG(Hwy):
    25
  • Torque @ RPM:
    245
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    9.0 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    110 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; FWD, AWD
  • Price:
    28600
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Those who really want traditional can stick to the Chrysler Town & Country.

You’d have to be a Sienna connoisseur to be able to spot the differences on the new 2015 Sienna. Models with LE, XLE, and Limited trims get the updated grille, along with LED daytime running lights, and upgraded main headlights. All trims except for SE get upgraded taillights.

Besides the changes, the Sienna still looks good. It has some of the most traditional yet modern looks in the minivan segment, as the Nissan Quest looks like a toaster and the Honda Odyssey looks, well, like an Odyssey. Those who really want traditional can stick to the Chrysler Town & Country.

Competitors and tradition aside, the Sienna looks pretty good. The 19-inch alloy wheels on this tester are the swankiest of the optional wheels and the chrome accents on the grille and door handles help tie in a theme. Huge windows mean outward visibility is excellent. Perhaps the optional DVD player should be turned off so your kids can enjoy the time-honored tradition of starring out the windows.

Interior

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven Interior
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2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven Interior
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2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Interior
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Unlike other systems that use multiple screens, the Sienna uses one giant one.

Here’s where the magic happens. Three rows of huge space and more cup holders than a movie theater greet all eight passengers (seven with the optional second-row captains chairs). Legroom can be adjusted accordingly to passenger need as the second row seats move fore and aft. Entry into the third row is actually easy, though those over 30 will still appreciate a more forward seating position.

Entertainment in the back seats can be had via the optional rear-seat DVD package. Unlike other systems that use multiple screens, the Sienna uses one giant one. Two movies can be played side by side, or one movie can be played in the center.

Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to an updated dashboard with upgraded materials and a 6.1-inch touchscreen display. The infotainment system employs Toyota’s Entune system. It works really well and is rather intuitive to figure out. (Definitely not the case for the Chrysler Town & County’s old-school Uconnect 730N system)

Perhaps my favorite new feature is the upgraded HVAC interface. Three knobs control left, right, and rear air conditioning. All three can be easily synced together or put in individual modes. Fan speeds are controlled individually for front and rear areas. This is the antithesis to HVAC systems that use complicated menu options buried deep in the infotainment system.

Powertrain

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven Drivetrain
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Variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides help curb the V-6’s appetite for fuel.

The Sienna is motivated by Toyota’s tried and true 3.5-liter V-6. It makes a respectable 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. The van actually feels more peppy than those numbers let on, especially when mostly unloaded like my tester was. A six-speed automatic transmission does the shifting and a manual mode allows for more control.

Variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides help curb the V-6’s appetite for fuel. The EPA rates the front-wheel-drive Sienna at 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. And speaking of drive, the Sienna is the only minivan in its class to offer all-wheel-drive. While it won’t keep up with a Jeep through a mud pit, the AWD Sienna should do well in unfavorable conditions like snow. Getting the AWD version knocks the EPA’s estimated fuel economy down to 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. That’s comparable to a large AWD crossover.

Price

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Sienna can get a little on the pricy side when all the cool options are added. The base Sienna comes in at $28,600 but that doesn’t get you all the nifty Swagger Wagon-type stuff. With the top trim and AWD on the bill, the sticker can exceed $46,000. That’s a tad pricy, but considering all the functionality and amenities included, the deal isn’t terrible. For those looking to maximize space with multiple kids, the Sienna beats out crossovers and SUVs every time.

Driving Impressions

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven Interior
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The Sienna is surprisingly nimble for such a large vehicle. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the V-6 provides more than adequate acceleration. Interior ergonomics are good with all the switchgear falling perfectly under finger. The large windows let tons of light in and loads of visibility out. Getting in and out of the van is also really easy and the seats are just above hip height on my smallish frame. Jumping or stepladders aren’t needed like on old-school SUVs.

Competition

Honda Odyssey

2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Honda has been another strong player in the minivan game. The Odyssey includes a ton of interesting and innovative interior packaging options, including a built-in vacuum cleaner. Go ahead kids, spill those Cheerios.

The Honda comes powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 making 248 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Two transmissions are available: a five- and six-speed auto. Go for the six-speed if fuel economy is a concern as the extra gear affords an extra mile per gallon in every category. Unfortunately, opting for the extra gear means you’ll have to upgrade to the up-level Touring package.

Pricing for the Odyssey starts ate $28,675 and rises past $44,000 with the top-trim Touring Elite package.

2015 Kia Sedona

2015 Kia Sedona High Resolution Exterior
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All-new for 2015 is the Kia Sedona, back with a completely new look that far classier than the outgoing model. Kia’s famed “Tiger nose” grille is finished in chrome and the rest of the van maintains the stylish design. The interior shares much of its design styling with the rest of Kia’s lineup. That means decent materials with good fit and finish abound.

The Kia comes with a 3.3-liter V-6 under the hood making 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic sends power to the front wheels.

The Kia does undercut the competition on price. It starts at $25,900 and tops out at $39,700 before options.

Conclusion

2015 Toyota Sienna - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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The Sienna provides a great vehicle for families with multiple kids who have a lot of stuff. Folding seats and tons of cubby spots are a blessing. The rear entertainment package gives parents the ability to turn on Frozen and let it go. Kids eat that stuff up. With plenty of power under its sloping hood and enough technology in its dashboard, the 2015 Sienna makes a solid choice for families.

While pricing can rise dramatically, a decently equipped Sienna runs in the mid-$30,000 field and provides enough gadgets for mom and dad and acres of room for Little Johnny and his friends, while not braking the family bank.

  • Leave it
    • * Starts to get expensive with options and trim packages
    • * Two movies on one screen may trigger ADD
    • * Swagger Wagon jokes
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