Even in its most basic form, the 2022 Toyota Sienna remains a worthy contender in the minivan market. It may not have all the bells and whistles in the LE 8-passenger we drove recently, but what you get is a capable, relatively affordable family hauler that is very good on fuel thanks to Toyota’s standard Hybrid Synergy Drive across all of the eight trims on offer – more on that later.
Unlike some other market segments, the list of available minivans is quite short, and the Sienna has been around the block a few times. Yet it remains one of the most popular models in the segment, and there are a few good reasons for that.
It looks good (for a minivan), drives well and is a very efficient vehicle.
For 2022, very little has changed after the Sienna received a major overhaul in 2021. The LE FWD we drove (also offered in AWD) is the entry point into the minivan, with a price of $41,050 before fees are added on.
It includes features like power dual sliding side doors, three-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, seven USB ports, roof rails and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Powertrain: Under the hood, the Sienna excels. It is not the most powerful or responsive powertrain, but what you get is a very competent engine that offers Toyota’s excellent Hybrid Synergy Drive.
It is mated to a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission.
The system is rated at 245 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for this family hauler but will do little to get the blood flowing.
However, the more impressive number is the 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres fuel consumption average I achieved with the Sienna, beating the estimate of 6.5 L/100 km from the automaker.
Exterior: The shape of these family haulers sometimes means the look and feel of them can be off-putting, but that isn’t the case with the Sienna.
Perhaps the only thing about the exterior I didn’t really like was the large black plastic lower grille in the front fascia. But that is the only real blemish on an otherwise well-designed front end, including slim headlights. That is matched at the rear with nicely designed taillights, which not only wrap around the side, but also branch downward, enhancing the rear appearance.
Interior: The Sienna offers a well laid out cabin with lots of room for up to eight occupants. The setup of the dash and centre console mean all the controls are within easy reach of the driver.
As the base LE trim, our tester came with cloth seats – heated up front – which while comfortable might be a bit of an issue for a family with young kids as they could stain easily.
Annoyingly in the LE was a lack of a power liftgate, a much sought-after feature in my books. Thankfully, there are power sliding doors on either side of the Sienna to allow for easy access to the seats, including the third row thanks to the sliding middle bench.
That back row, when not needed, can be easily dropped down into a pit behind them to open up a generous flat cargo area.
Overall, the cabinet is a welcoming and comfortable environment for your family trips.
Infotainment: The infotainment system features a 9-inch display and Toyota’s infotainment setup, which in this case also includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The menus and functions can be accessed either via the responsive touchscreen or a number of physical buttons. I for once appreciate the redundancy as it allows you to decide how you want to interact with the system – with voice command also an option.
As a family hauler, Toyota made sure that the Sienna has USB ports in all three rows, so there will be no fighting over who gets to keep their devices charged on any road trip with this minivan.
Drive: Driving a minivan is not really anyone’s idea of fun, but it doesn’t have to be tedious, either.
The Sienna’s hybrid powertrain delivers the goods for a family hauler like this. Steady as she goes and very efficient, it is one of the best systems I have experienced. My one hiccup, and it is something I have noticed before, is that under certain conditions, applying the brakes actually sees the Sienna have a bit of a power surge before the brakes kick in. It’s nothing too serious, I don’t think, but it is noticeable.
Other than that, the Sienna is comfortable and handles as well as you could expect. And while the Sienna is a large vehicle, you never really get that feeling behind the wheel.
The cabin is also a very quiet space, which is a good feature to have for long road trips.
Conclusion: In a very limited market, the Sienna has a lot to like for those who are in the market for a minivan. The hybrid powertrain is excellent and while our tester was a front-wheel drive model, the Sienna is also offered in an all-wheel drive format.
The XLE and XSE trims offer a few more bells and whistles for buyers, but the LE remains a good option for anyone in need of a large family vehicle that looks good, has lots of room and is very good on gas.
2022 Toyota Sienna LE
Price as tested: $43,070.70
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder with Hybrid
Synergy Drive/ Continuously Variable Transmission
Power/torque: 245 horsepower/ 176 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (68 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 6.5 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 6.1 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival
Links: Toyota Canada