Toyota Sienna ›› 2015 Toyota Sienna

2015 Toyota Sienna

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2015 Toyota Sienna - museum 4 - AOA1200px

Overview (Final Score: A)
The life of a minivan is not an easy one. They're often the butt of jokes, suffer from the stigma of being the "your fun life is now over" in memes, and they are often compared to the most boring traits humans can imagine. Yet these masters of utility and people-moving remain a mainstay in the automotive market. Despite edgier and more socially acceptable crossovers encroaching on their turf, minivans still hold a place in the driveways of America as buyers continue to choose them for their family-centric designs.

The 2015 Toyota Sienna is one of the top choices in the minivan segment. It blends value, family-friendliness, efficiency, and capability into one well-designed package. It also remains the only minivan on the market with an all-wheel drive option, which many will appreciate.

For 2015, the Sienna sees several updates in a significant refresh, adding some exterior styling points, a lot of interior upgrades, and a more drivable chassis. On that latter point, a new trim level, the SE, has been added with a focus on a sportier experience behind the wheel. Other items fans of the Sienna have come to love, such as the huge widescreen rear entertainment option, the easily-stowed second row bench center, and in-floor third row folding remain. These are enhanced by a new Driver Easy Speak system, broadcasting the driver's voice from the Bluetooth inputs up front to the rear speakers. Parents will call this what it is: a yell at the kids enhancer.

In all, the 2015 Toyota Sienna is a much more family-centric van than it has been before and brings a lot of compelling choices to the minivan market. We give it high marks for doing so.

What We Loved About the 2015 Toyota Sienna

  • Very family friendly and ergonomic.

  • Only option in minivans with all-wheel drive.

  • Strong on convenience and comfort.

What We Didn't Love About the 2015 Toyota Sienna

  • Fuel economy could be better.

  • Third row fold and stow requires some muscle.

  • Pricey in the top tiers.

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Exterior View (9/10 relative to market)
We don't tend to think of minivans as stylish or cutting-edge in their looks. Most are essentially big rectangles with four wheels and sliding doors. They are, however, gaining some panache and the Sienna holds its own against rivals in the looks department.

The 2015 Toyota Sienna sees a few updates this year, including a new front fascia treatment that accentuates the half-trapezoid grille and angled headlamps. The lower intake grille is smaller and less square and the hood has a bit of a brow to it when seen from the front.

The fascia itself is a bit more curved, giving a sportier look to the front end as it flows into the fast-paced windscreen before leveling off for the long roofline. The body panels have little obvious adornment outside of the running board cut along the bottom, but subtle lines underneath the panels give them reflective character along lines that parallel the door handles. Rounded edges and a flair to the wheel wells completes the look from the side before the enlarged spoiler, wraparound tail lamps, and otherwise squared rear hatch finish the Sienna's look.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)
For the 2015 model year updates given to the Sienna, Toyota put a lot of effort into the interior's design. Materials quality is markedly better, especially in the lower trim levels, and the upper-tier trims see even more luxury added. A new dashboard design dispenses with hard plastics and lifts to add more leg and knee room while also adding more ergonomic storage and functionality.

Storage throughout the 2015 Sienna is abundant, with cubbies, thoughtful spaces near plugs, and bins being very well thought out. This was done without changing the excellent rear cargo space in the Sienna, a high point of model years past. The deep wells into which the third row folds flat are still there and available for more cargo when the seats are up. Some trims include smart covers to enclose those wells for added functionality.

Seating throughout the 2015 Toyota Sienna is excellent at all levels. The driver and front passenger are treated to well-adjusted captain's chairs. Controls are within easy reach and are, for the most part, intuitively placed. The second row is two captain's chairs as well, which are very adjustable and nicely accoutered. A middle portion can be added to make a 40/20/40 split-row bench to give seating for three across. That middle section slides forward close to the console bin between the front seats, allowing parents to have a little one close at hand - a thoughtful addition. The center section, when not in use, stores in a built-in cubby in the rear cargo area, to the left side.

The third row is comfortable enough for adults and useful enough that it sits three across and can be easily accessed from the sliding side doors. It can be entered from between the second row seats or when either of the outboard seats are folded forward with a simple lever pull. The third row folds down into wells, as mentioned above, for added cargo space. This operation is a bit of a workout for those new to the "pull strap, lift handle, up and back" maneuver, but it quickly becomes old hat.

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Maximum cargo space is 150 cubic feet in all, though this requires that the second row seating be removed entirely - not an easy job. Most will find that this is rarely needed as the cargo with them in place is quite good and the second row seats slide not just forward and back, but also fore and aft to add space between them. Parents will like this as well, as it allows child safety seats to be moved all the way to the outer edge for a larger center walkway to the third row.

The interior of the 2015 Toyota Sienna is well-done and very pleasing. Family ergonomics are the focus and it shows.

Technology (9/10)
The 2015 Sienna features the latest Entune system from Toyota. The base models begin with a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface and basic Bluetooth connectivity. Things go up from there with a 7-inch screen and 8-inch screen replacing that smaller touchscreen as trim levels are climbed. At its top-most, in either packaging or trim, the Entune interface includes smartphone app integration, navigation, and more. This includes a smartphone app that allows some control of the van when it's parked, allowing climate control presets and remote starting, among other things.

The instrument cluster includes a multipurpose LCD display at center to give the driver information about the vehicle and, in upper trims where that display expands, give information about the infotainment system for easier control from the steering wheel. Items such as navigation, audio information, and more can be shown there in a less distracting way.

For the rear passengers, an available entertainment system is on a huge, widescreen LCD that can be split between two inputs to allow viewers to see different movies, listen to music separately from the rest of the occupants, or play video games on installed consoles. Wireless headphones and a remote control give easy access to what's being played and the sound from anything being played can be ported to the van's speaker system so that all rear occupants can enjoy.

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Fuel Economy (7/10)
Fuel economy numbers for the 2015 Sienna are on par for the segment, though real-world results will vary greatly. The EPA rates the Toyota Sienna at 21 mpg combined, 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, in front-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive variant sees that drop to 19 mpg combined (16 city, 23 highway).

In the real world, our week-long drive of an SE Premium model in FWD returned 19.7 mpg over 277 miles of mixed driving.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)
The 2015 Toyota Sienna has been the subject of three safety recalls, two of which were for structural issues with the roof and one of which was for side window airbags. J.D. Power and Associates rates the 2015 Sienna ast slightly better than most for reliability and Toyota itself has a reputation for building reliable vehicles.

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Safety (9/10)
The Toyota Sienna receives good marks in crash testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rates the van at five stars overall, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gives good scores, giving its highest rating of "Good" in all but the small-overlap frontal-crash protection test, for which the Sienna rated a second-best "Acceptable."

With a full suite of safety items as standard equipment and advanced safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning as optional equipment, buyers will find few things lacking in the 2015 Sienna's safety options.

Performance (8/10)
Most minivans today are powered by six-cylinder engines that attempt to balance fuel efficiency with power delivery. Minivans are not lightweight vehicles. The 2015 Sienna keeps the tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 from previous generations, delivering 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. Compared to rivals, it's slightly above par in its output. The Sienna's six-speed automatic transmission is also well-vetted and does a good job choosing gears in various situations. Front-wheel drive is standard, but most trim levels of the Sienna also have an all-wheel drive upgrade option - exclusive to the segment. Drivers in areas where inclement weather is common will want to take note.

Acceleration in the 2015 Toyota Sienna is remarkably good for a minivan. New updates to the chassis of the Sienna for this model year mean that it's a bit tighter and more controlled than it has been, enhancing the sporty quality of the excellent V6 that powers it. Out on the road, the Sienna feels punchy and even fun, though maneuvering around corners and through parking lots quickly reminds the driver that this is a small bus rather than a sports car.

New models such as the SE bring an even sportier feel, with a tighter suspension and better handling. This comes at the expense of some ride comfort, but most will not likely notice the tradeoff very much.

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Pricing and Value (9/10)
The minivan market has become quite competitive, but pricing has leveled off to a relative high point. Minivans are more luxurious and versatile than they've ever been before and that is reflected in their sticker prices. The 2015 Sienna has a moderate base price just under $29,000, but most pay in the mid-$30k range for their Sienna, often closing in on $40,000 when options are added up. This is common in the segment.

The 2015 Toyota Sienna is expected to hold its resale value well when compared to rivals, though historically it has not held it as well as many other Toyota models. The waning demand for minivans has taken its toll on the segment as a whole.

For the large family that needs an efficient and comfortable way to get around in trips both short and long, though, it's hard to beat a minivan for comfort and ergonomics.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)
The 2015 Toyota Sienna is a solid choice in the minivan market, which is down to just six models to choose from. Lower-cost options with less value retention and reliability expectations include the Dodge Grand Caravan and Mazda Mazda5. The latter will be discontinued after this model year. The more posh Chrysler Town & Country is the best-seller in the minivan segment and is always worth a look, though reliability concerns may be off-putting to some buyers. The most direct competitors in price and comfort to the Sienna are the Honda Odyssey and newly-redesigned Kia Sedona. Both are worth cross-shopping. Those who want more panache and luxury might also consider the Nissan Quest, now a mainstay in the upper-tier minivan market.

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On the whole, however, it's hard to argue against the 2015 Toyota Sienna. This minivan blends comfort, family-friendliness, and efficiency into one excellent package. As such it is a top choice for us.

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
AWD XLE 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder AWD 37400
AWD XLE Premium 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder AWD 40655
AWD Limited 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder AWD 42880
AWD Limited Premium 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder AWD 46250
AWD LE 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder AWD 33960
LE 7-Passenger Auto Access Seat 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 37445
LE Mobility 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 31630
LE 8-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 31430
CE 4dr Cargo Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 26595
SE 8-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 35000
SE Premium 8-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 39780
XLE 7-Passenger Auto Access Seat 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 41035
XLE 8-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 35200
XLE Premium 8-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 38455
Limited 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 41750
Limited Premium 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 45120
L 7-Passenger 4dr Mini-Van 6 Cylinder FWD 28700

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