The Toyota Sienna has been in its third generation since 2010. While models like the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica have since been updated and gone through generational shifts, the Sienna has soldiered on with relatively mild updates. In 2017, Toyota did upgrade the 3.5-liter engine and dropped the six-speed automatic for an eight-speed unit, but otherwise, it’s been pretty much the same van all this time outside of some minor changes to the exterior in 2015. Well, Toyota is bringing a revamped Sienna to the 2017 New York Auto Show, but it’s not a new-gen model. Instead, Toyota is adding new “swagger” with a new front fascia, new side skirts, some noise and vibration enhancements, and some additional technology like extra USB ports, an updated rear entertainment system, and a semi-digital instrument cluster.
But, don’t get it twisted. The Sienna may be pretty old, with the 2018 model year being the 8th year this generation is on the market, but it does pull its own weight as far as sales go. Sales have been well over the 100,000 mark from 2011 forward, with 2015 seeing 137,497 examples sold and 2016 accounting for 127,791 examples sold. That’s a pretty big deal considering the market it bursting with SUVs of every shape and size you can imagine. So, let’s see what these new enhancements do to liven up the third-gen Sienna and how it might help it stack up against some of the competition.
So, right off the bat, this isn’t a new-gen model, so don’t expect a change in silhouette. But, the designers over at Toyota have found a way to take an aging design and make it not only attractive but fairly aggressive too. It’s oddly mesmerizing to look at and, in all honesty, Toyota should be given an award for creativity. Up front, Toyota ditched the hood of yesteryear and replaced it with something much more muscular. The outside most lines on the hood that feed from the high-sitting fenders are there, but in the center, Toyota has added a pair of lines that get closer together toward the nose. The Toyota emblem has been moved from the hood down to the grille, with the aforementioned lines meeting up almost perfectly with the trim that serves as home for the emblem. Down below, the new fascia is the definition of sportiness with a prominent air dam design with new mesh. The fog lights have been replaced with square units and recessed into the fascia a bit. It’s like the Sienna has a body kit, and it looks great.
This isn’t a new-gen model, so don’t expect a change in silhouette. But, the designers over at Toyota have found a way to take an aging design and make it not only attractive but fairly aggressive too.
Moving over to the sides, there isn’t a lot of change here, but new side skirts compliment the front fascia by adding a bit of aerodynamic flair and character. If you go with the SE trim level, you’ll get a laminated front windshield – a feature that helps to cut down noise and vibration – while Limited trim levels get new acoustic side glass for the front row which also helps to cut down on noise leakage.
Moving to the back, we see a new pair of taillights that, while having the same shape, ditch the Euro look in place of a more Americanized look. The lower edge of the lens is now read while the top part of the light is now clear. It almost seems like a step backward, however, as the taillights from the 2017 model would actually fit quite nicely with the added features of the body that come as part of the 2018 update. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other changes to speak of as far as exterior styling goes, but that’s okay because the new side skirts don’t look out of place compared to the standard rear fascia, and should Toyota decided to keep the same generation running through the end of the decade, it just might work out. New color options for 2018 include Toasted Walnut Pearl, Alumina Jade Metallic, and Parisian Night Pearl, ultimately giving you a choice between nine different colors at the time of ordering.
As far as the interior goes, most of the same stuff carries over. You’ll find the same door panels, seats, and trim packages. The third row of seats fold flat while the second-row captain’s seats will roll forward to open up cargo room. It’s still not as good as Chrysler’s Stow-N-Go system, but it’s not bad either as there’s still more than enough room for hauling cargo or kids – whatever your poison may be for that day. For 2018, however, there as some advancements in in-cabin technology. Starting out small, there is a total of five USB ports between the front, second, and third rows that will allow phone charging or infotainment connectivity. The rear seat entertainment system now includes streaming capability for Android devices. And, on Limited models, a Bird’s Eye View monitor is an available option if you really need to keep an eye on things.
You’ll find the same door panels, seats, and trim packages. The third row of seats fold flat while the second-row captain’s seats will roll forward to open up cargo room.
Up front, all Sienna models now get an updated version of Toyota’s Entune 3.0 infotainment system. This system features navigation and a suite of apps that has something for pretty much everyone. L, LE, SE, and XLE models come standard with Navigation Scout GPS Link and Moving Maps, while LE, SE, and XLE trim levels get Entune Audio Plus with Safety and Wi-Fi Connect. With Wi-Fi Connect, up to five mobile devices can connect to the 4G LTE hotspot. But, maybe you want more? If so, you’ll want to opt for the Entune 3.0 Premium JBL audio system.
Available on SE and XLE trims, and standard on the Limited trim level, it brings Dynamic Navigation and Destination assist into the fold. Of course, we’re talking about the JBL brand here, so you can bet sound quality is awesome, thanks – in part – to Sound Staging, which means the speakers are placed directly in front of you to simulate the sound delivery of a live concert venue. There’s a 10.1-inch subwoofer and Clari-Fi software that uncompresses music files to restore them back to their original studio quality. There are a total of nine speakers in this system that are tuned specifically to the Sienna’s cabin.
There are absolutely no changes to talk about under the hood of this swagger wagon, but that’s not a big deal considering the 2017 model year saw a big update in this department. The 3.5-liter V-6 was tuned to deliver 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque – an improvement of 30 horsepower and 18 pound-feet – and the six-speed automatic transmission was dropped in favor of an eight-speed unit that offers better efficiency and overall drivability. It’s also available with an all-wheel-drive system if you live in an area that experiences inclement weather or down south where you might find yourself stranded in the mud with only two wheels to motivate you.
The 3.5-liter V-6 was tuned to deliver 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque – an improvement of 30 horsepower and 18 pound-feet.
The Sienna actually looks kind of fast with its new exterior features, but is it really? Well, it isn’t a turn. The 2016 model that had a few less ponies could get to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds and topped out at 113 mph. From 2018 I would expect to hit 60 mph in 7.5 seconds with top speed – if you’re brave enough – to come in at around 115 mph. And, while the 2018 model has yet to be rated by the EPA as far as fuel economy goes, we can look at the 2017 model for a good idea as the few exterior changes shouldn’t affect economy much, if at all. In 2017, the Sienna was able to pull 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. With AWD, those figures drop a bit to 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. This translates to a fuel consumption of 4.5 gallons per 100 miles with two-wheel drive or 5.0 gallons per 100 miles with all-wheel drive.
Last year Toyota’s TSS-P safety suite was optional on some models, but for once we have an automaker who’s actually committed to safety even if you can’t afford the range-topping model. As such, the TSS-P safety suite will be standard on all models for 2018. This means that you’ll get a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic cruise control (radar-based,) lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams. The suite isn’t as in-depth as some of the other systems on the market, but you don’t have to pay extra for it, and that’s a big plus. Of course, you’ll still get the other standard features like ABS, stability control, traction control, and brake force distribution. There are also eight airbags should the unfortunate happen.
The 2018 Toyota Sienna will make its debut at the New York Auto Show before going on sale later this year. As such, Toyota hasn’t set a pricing point for it yet, but I wouldn’t expect prices to change much. The current model is priced at $29,750, but that price could carry over as well, considering the Sienna’s main competitors, the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica, command $29,850 and $28,595, respectively. So, Toyota will have to refrain from fiddling with the price too much if it wants to remain competitive, especially considering the Pacifica was updated for 2017, and the Odyssey is all new for 2018.
Honda brought an all-new odyssey to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, and it was pretty much a showstopper thanks to its sporty exterior and a premium interior that is as close to luxury as you can get without spending more than $60,000. The fresh exterior look is complemented by an updated second row that makes use of a new system called “Magic Slide” that allows the captain’s chair on either side to slide back and forth, while the center seat is removable and can be stored in the rear. Either way, it gives a clear and easy path to the third row. As far as technology goes, the dual screen layout of the last-gen model is gone and now replaced by a single seven-inch unit. The second row, of some trim levels, gets a drop down screen that can be used to watch movies or play video games on longer trips. All told, the new Odyssey is much more comfortable and premium feeling than before, and definitely worth consideration. As far as motivation goes, the Odyssey rocks out a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 280 horsepower. Full specs have yet to be released, but it is said to offer “top-in-class” EPA fuel economy ratings. Pricing for the 2018 model, like the Sienna, has yet to be announced, but pricing should start out right around $30,000 like the rest of the models in this segment.
The Chrysler Pacifica name was originally associated with a minivan concept back in 1999 and then used as a model name for an ugly little crossover that was about as reliable as a knockoff phone from China. The name disappeared in 2008, but come 2017 and Chrysler decided to replace the Town & Country minivan with an all-new minivan that also wears the Pacifica badge. Sporting a sleek and attractive exterior, things get even better inside with a semi-digital instrument cluster, an 8.4-inch infotainment system, Stow-N-Go seating, and other interior appointments that effectively raised the bar for the minivan segment. Under the hood, the Pacifica rocks the same 3.6-liter, Pentastar, V-6 that was found in the T&C, but it was upgraded to deliver 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Shifting duties are handled by a TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic and power is sent to the front wheels. AWD will be an option eventually, but for now, FWD is the only option. Pricing for the Pacifica starts out at $28,595 as of the time of this writing.
The Kia Sedona entered its third generation for the 2015 model year, and oddly enough, Kia decided to market it as an MPV instead of a minivan, hoping to attract more customers. Be that as it may, the Sedona is every bit a minivan, so don’t let the marketing scheme fool you. The new-gen model brought about an all-new exterior look that includes Kia ’s most recent design language like the “tiger nose” grille, healthy doses of chrome trim on the outside, and an interior that takes a different approach in comparison to the Sienna, Pacifica, and Odyssey. What I mean by that is that the front of the cabin is more like an SUV or car in that it has a full center console, with the shifter mounted centrally. It offers seating for seven or eight passengers when configured properly, with a Slide-N-Stow system that’s similar to the Stow-N-Go system found in the Pacifica. Under the hood, it gets a 3.3-liter V-6 that’s good for 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined – translating to about 4.8 gallons per 100 miles traveled. But, the big selling point of the Sedona is the price, which is significantly lower than that of the competitors at just $26,900.
And there you have it. Toyota decided to give the Sienna some minor updates to keep it fresh for a little longer. These updates should keep it fresh for a couple more years, but I would expect to see a next-gen model hit the market by the time the decade comes to an end.Mini vans don’t exactly count for a huge chunk of the market, but they do have a strong foothold in their small corner, and the competition is fierce now that Honda and Chrysler have dropped their latest bombs in the ever-lasting war for supremacy in the ultimate family hauler market. There are still some details that have yet to be announced for the new Sienna, so check back with us after it debuts at the New York Auto Show for more details. Until then, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
- Attractive exterior
- Updated technology
- New exterior colors
- Should have been a new-gen model
- Interior changed very little
Large and small. Swagger and sportiness. That is what Toyota will be rolling into their display at the 2017 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) next month with the debut of two freshened models, the 2018 Sienna van and subcompact Yaris hatchback.
Sienna, the top-selling van in the U.S. for the past two years, is assembled in America’s heartland at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Princeton, Ind. It is an ideal family-friendly van, with a choice of seven- or eight seat cabin configurations, ample cargo space and an array of safety, comfort and convenience features. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 296 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. of torque, Sienna is available in L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited grades. For active families on the go, Sienna remains the only van in the segment with available all-wheel-drive (AWD).
The fuel-efficient Yaris hatchback represents a great value for buyers on a budget as it is the Toyota brand’s least expensive model, yet it is equipped with many standard safety and convenience features. Among the many standard carryover safety features is Toyota Safety Sense- C™ (TSS-C), a trio of driver-assist technologies that helps drivers get from point “A” to point “B” with safety assurance. TSS-C technologies include Toyota’s Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beams.
Yaris offers both three-door and five-door body styles in three grades, the three-door L and LE, and the five-door Sporty SE.
Neither Sienna, nor Yaris rests on its laurels for 2018.
One year after the 2017 model year Sienna van ushered in a powerful and efficient new powertrain and led the segment in 2016 calendar year sales, the 2018 model adds many styling, and technological safety and convenience features.
For 2018, TSS-P will be standard on all Sienna models. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles cutting edge active safety technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB).
Sienna drivers will enjoy enhanced connectivity and entertainment through the new Toyota Entune™ 3.0 multimedia system on all models, offering an enhanced set of connected vehicle technologies.
The Entune 3.0 system will feature navigation and App Suite Connect for everyone. The Sienna L, LE, SE and XLE grades will come standard with the Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps. Sienna LE, SE, and XLE grades will come standard with the Entune Audio Plus, which includes Safety Connect, and Wi-Fi Connect. WiFi Connect will allow up to five mobile devices to connect using 4G LTE.
For those wanting it all, the Entune™ 3.0 Premium JBL Audio (available on SE and XLE and standard on Limited) adds Dynamic Navigation and Destination Assist and features new advancements in sound quality. Sound enhancements include Sound Staging, which positions speakers directly in front of the listener to help emulate a live concert venue; Low Frequency Sounds, made possible by an added 10.1-inch subwoofer; Clari-Fi, a technology that “un-compresses” music to help restore an audio track’s dynamic range; and nine speakers that are specifically tuned to cabin dimensions and materials.
Additional technology updates include:
Five USB ports covering all three rows
Updated Rear Seat Entertainment to include streaming capability for Android devices
Bird’s Eye View monitor (available on Limited Premium grade)
4.2-inch TFT multi-information display
Exterior styling is updated with a redesigned front fascia that includes a larger, lower grille and a larger fog light compartment to convey a stronger presence. Like the current Sienna SE grade, side lower rockers have also been added to all grades for a sportier appearance. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) improvements have been added to the SE grade with a laminated front windshield, and the Limited grade with new acoustic front row side glass.
The 2018 Sienna also offers nine exterior colors, including three new choices: Toasted Walnut Pearl, Alumina Jade Metallic, and Parisian Night Pearl.