2018 Toyota Sienna Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

As someone who primarily drives solo, it just didn’t seem right for me to enjoy the enormity of the the eight-seater 2018 Toyota Sienna SE all by myself. When a friend said she wanted to take her two kids pumpkin picking well, I couldn’t resist the chance to chauffeur and show off this lovely living room on wheels.

 

During the pre-dawn hours, I used the Sienna’s rearview camera to back into my friend’s long driveway where she and her groggy brood were waiting. Getting in and out of the Sienna is thankfully a breeze with the handy power sliding side doors--especially when you have two sleeping toddlers to gently place inside.

Since her two tykes require car seats, we were glad to see the Sienna conveniently comes with four sets of LATCH anchors – two in the second row and two in the third. My friend had a little trouble finding the top tether anchors for her daughter’s car seat, but after she did, securing her son into his car seat was a snap. Then, with a push of the button on our SE model, up went the power liftgate to stow away the strollers and other kid-friendly supplies for the day.

 

Despite its gargantuan size, I felt in complete control as I maneuvered along winding backroads. The Sienna SE is the sportiest version of the trim levels and its sport-tuned suspension did not disappoint.  At one point, I was driving over gravel roads, yet the ride was still smooth enough not to wake up the little ones in the back. 

The Sienna SE’s stylish interior is expansive and inviting. There are numerous seating configurations that will give you a boatload of cabin and cargo space to haul a multitude of people and possessions, which after our fun-filled day included large pumpkins, a case of apple cider and several plants.

For our hour-long drive, we also enjoyed the comfortable heated leather-trimmed front seats. A leather-trimmed steering wheel also added panache. There were plenty of cup holders to hold our coffee and bottled waters. We did  wish the center console’s cubby had been bigger to hide more of the items we wanted to leave out of sight.

You’ll also find smartphone integration, a seven-inch touchscreen, navigation, Siri Eyes Free, Wi-Fi hot spot capability, and five USB ports for passengers in the back,

We were gabbing most of the way, so we didn’t have the radio’s volume up too loud.

However, the Sienna’s six-speaker sound system seemed just fine to fit our listening needs--all part of Toyota’s Entune 3.0 multimedia interface. Since I like using knobs whenever possible instead of the touchscreen, I wish the Toyota’s knobs were bigger for convenience’s sake.

Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6, which is good for 296 horsepower and 263 ft-lbs of torque. Front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission complete the powertrain. All-wheel drive can be had as an option. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway.

For 2018, the Safety Sense package was made standard on all trim levels. This is a huge incentive for parents to give the Toyota a closer look. The package includes lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and a  pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.

The Sienna is redefining what we may typically think about a minivan. Our tester, the SE, proved that practicality doesn’t have to mean pedestrian. Its larger, sloping grille, bigger foglights, plus flared side sills give the SE a more aggressive distinction and we liked it. 

 Pricing for the 2018 Toyota Sienna starts at  $30,850.

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