Overview

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Overview (Final Score: B+)

The Toyota Sienna is a mainstay in the minivan segment, which is a staple for the American market despite not growing much. With renewed competition from other minivans, Toyota decided to upgrade the Sienna for 2017 to address some of the van's woes since this generation's introduction.

A new engine and transmission are the primary new items added to the 2017 Toyota Sienna, both of which work together to improve performance and fuel economy. One of our chief complaints last year was that the Sienna produced less-than-expected fuel efficiency and didn't have much get-up when loaded with passengers. Some of that has changed this year.

The 2017 Sienna carries on with the solidly performing Toyota minivan that's been a popular choice among buyers for years. With great family ergonomics and class-exclusive all-wheel drive, it's definitely worth considering and worthy of its high rating.

What We Love About the 2017 Toyota Sienna:


  • Excellent interior ergonomics

  • Good materials quality and interior design elements

  • Available AWD is segment exclusive


 

What We Don't Love About the 2017 Toyota Sienna:


  • Removing middle row for maximum cargo space is difficult

  • Fuel economy returns remain lackluster

  • Trim levels quickly raise the van's price


 

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Exterior View (8/10)

The exterior of the 2017 Sienna is much the same as it has been since this generation of the van was introduced a few years ago. Minivans have regained some acceptance amongst the American buying public in recent years as designs moved away from the box on wheels of the 1990s and into a more refined, sleek appearance for the second decade of the 2000s.

The Sienna has gone along with that trend and has a very slippery appeal to its front end, with a small grille and fast-paced hoodline that give it a look similar to some of the large sedans in Toyota's lineup like the Avalon and Camry. The goal of Toyota's design for the Sienna is to blunt the square-bodied requirement of a minivan's design with rounded edges and a lot of curvature. That pays off with the Sienna.

This doesn't necessarily make the 2017 Toyota Sienna terribly appealing to all onlookers. It's still a minivan and many will dislike that as-is. The Sienna's design elements do go a long way toward dropping the no-nonsense people hauler appearance vans have had in the past.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

Minivans are all about the interior and must fit certain requirements to be considered by anyone in the market for one. Primary among those requirements is the ability to comfortably carry a lot of people - seven to nine is the norm. People come with a lot of stuff, so part of the number of passengers accommodated moves beyond seating and into storage and ergonomics.

The 2017 Toyota Sienna shines in both of these departments. It's both capable of carrying large loads of people and able to carry all of their stuff and gadgets without a lot of fuss. Upscale, quality interior only adds to this ergonomic foundation. Parents will appreciate the ease of access to all three rows and the thoughtful use of easy-to-clean, stain-resistant materials for seats and floors.

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In the upper trims, the Sienna's interior becomes downright opulent with a use of materials and design that might rival some premium-level makes. This is becoming standard in the minivan and similar markets as buyers become more choosy about their upper-edge spending expectations, looking for class above and beyond the norm.

Seating around the 2017 Sienna is excellent. The driver and front passenger are treated to a spacious cabin area with controls in easy reach. Legroom and headroom are beyond great and seat comfort is superb. No matter the trim level. Adjustments are good at the base point and get better with trim increases. Smart ideas like purse storage, gadget cubbies, etc. are something that really set the Sienna apart.

The second row is a two-seat captain's chair arrangement with comfort levels similar to the front seating. A third chair can be put between the second row seats to make them a three-person bench and otherwise stows in the rear cargo compartment against the wall. The third row is also accommodating, though mostly for children and teenagers. It can house adults as needed, with good enough comfort levels that most will not complain. Legroom is the only issue any third-row riders might have and that's only a problem for the very big and tall.

Cargo space is also excellent in the 2017 Sienna. There are a total of 150 cubic feet available with the third row stowed and the second row removed. That's our chief beef with the Sienna: the second row cannot be lowered into the floor as with some competitors, but is either shoved up against the front row or removed entirely in order to maximize storage. Since that much space is rarely needed, we don't knock the Sienna much for this oversight. Even with all seating up and in use, the Sienna boasts a lot of rear storage for luggage and gear, provided stacking is acceptable.

Technology (9/10)

The 2017 Toyota Sienna continues with the excellent infotainment we saw last year. Siri Eyes Free is standard on all trim levels of the Sienna and Bluetooth and other connectivity is also standard across the board. Upper trims and upgraded infotainment options come with a more advanced version of Toyota's Entune infotainment interface that includes Entune Apps - introduced last year.

Entune Apps includes several integrated app options that interface with the user's smartphone. A smart navigation option allows the user's smartphone to preempt the nav in the vehicle.

The Entune system has gone a long way in recent years and is now more competitive with others on the market. A bright screen with crisp graphics and a fairly easy menu system is now the norm. Entune is not the best on the market, but it's much better than it has been in the past. The learning curve is much shorter now.

Also included as an option on some trim levels of the 2017 Sienna is a rear seat entertainment system. This is a drop-down widescreen from the ceiling of the van with wireless headphones and a DVD player integrated into the center console. Extra plugs for game systems and such are also included.

Fuel Economy (8/10)

Fuel economy in the 2017 Toyota Sienna is good, but not as good as we'd expect given the achievements of some options in minivans. The front-wheel drive version of the Sienna has an EPA rating of 22 mpg combined, with 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive version of the Sienna is EPA rated at 20 mpg combined (18 city, 24 highway). In the real world, we drove the Sienna AWD and saw an average of 18 mpg overall.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

Unusual for Toyota, the 2017 Sienna has only an "About Average" rating from the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study. The van has already had a recall for the year (spare tire) and has only an average warranty of three years or 36,000 miles.

Safety (8/10)

The 2017 Toyota Sienna has had a full suite of crash tests from both the Insurance INstitute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The IIHS has given the 2017 Sienna its top score of "Good" for all but the small overlap front test, which received a second-best "Acceptable" score. The NHTSA has given the Sienna a 5-Star overall rating with four stars each for frontal crash and rollover, and five stars for side crash results.

Performance (9/10)

For 2017 the Sienna receives a new engine that's debuted in several vehicles in the Toyota lineup. This new 3.5-liter V6 outputs 296 horsepower and is attached to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. That's an increase of 30 horses and two gears over last year's Sienna and it really shows in performance enhancement.

A chief complaint we had about the 2016 Sienna was with its lackluster powertrain response that aimed more for fuel economy (which it did not deliver) than it did sportiness. This new engine has much more get-up and go and a lot less hesitation about its output. Although that did not translate to better fuel economy, it does translate to a better everyday driving experience in the 2017 Sienna.

The Sienna is available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The AWD model does very well in all driving situations and the FWD model is likely adequate for everyone not living in very harsh weather areas or who don't drive on dirt roads regularly.

In most driving situations the 2017 Toyota Sienna does well for itself with good maneuverability, a well-cushioned ride and a confident feel. On the highway it accelerates well to merge and passes easily in most situations. The SE trim continues to be the sportier option in the Sienna and will make those who prefer a stiffer ride and more oomph to the pedal push happier.

With the new transmission the Sienna is also less likely to struggle with hills when filled with passengers. A problem we noted last year. Down shifting is more aggressive with the new powertrain.

Pricing and Value (10/10)

The 2017 Toyota Sienna starts at a reasonable price point for the segment and comes adequately equipped for the window sticker. Most buyers are in the middle trims and will find their best option to be the LE trim with either FWD or AWD, if bang for the buck is the goal. The XLE trim is also recommended if a lot of longer-distance family toting is expected as its upgrade to the rear seat entertainment system is easier to get.

The resale value for the Sienna is traditionally high and will likely remain so. Especially for the AWD models, being exclusive to the minivan segment. Some competition is being had with new entries into the segment, so buyers may want to be willing to push for price negotiations at the dealer more than they might have in the past. Dealers may be more receptive to dickering.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (70/80, 87.5%)

There are not as many competitors in the minivan segment as there are in some others, but nevertheless, there are some new rivals to the Toyota Sienna that are worth considering. Chief among those is the Chrysler Pacifica, which was introduced last year. The Pacifica is sleek, extremely ergonomic and fuel efficient, and has a plug-in hybrid option. The Dodge Caravan is finishing its run this year and will likely be extremely price competitive as a result. The Nissan Quest is very upscale compared to the Sienna and has a unique look that many find appealing. Finally, the Honda Odyssey is in its last year as a generation and will debut as a new van for 2018, making it likely to be price-competitive as dealers attempt to empty their lots of the older model.

Given the stiff competition and likely price wars in the minivan segment, the 2017 Toyota Sienna still remains a popular choice. And deservedly so as it's an excellent mix of family ergonomics, price point and capability.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Passenger Minivan - AWD
LE LE AWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 AWD 35080
XLE XLE AWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 AWD 38520
XLE Premium XLE Premium AWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 AWD 41715
Limited Limited AWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 AWD 43940
Limited Premium Limited Premium AWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 AWD 47310
Passenger Minivan - FWD
L L FWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 29750
LE LE FWD 8-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 32540
LE Mobility LE Mobility FWD 7-Passenger Mobility (SE) V6 FWD 32740
LE Mobility LE Mobility FWD 7-Passenger Mobility (GS) V6 FWD 32740
LE Mobility LE Mobility FWD 7-Passenger Mobility (Natl) V6 FWD 32740
SE SE FWD 8-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 36110
XLE XLE FWD 8-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 36310
LE Auto Access Seat LE Auto Access Seat FWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 38555
XLE Premium XLE Premium FWD 8-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 39505
SE Premium SE Premium FWD 8-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 40830
XLE Auto Access Seat XLE Auto Access Seat FWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 42145
Limited Limited FWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 42800
Limited Premium Limited Premium FWD 7-Passenger (Natl) V6 FWD 46170

Comparison of 2017 Toyota Sienna with Similar Cars

2017 Toyota Sienna MSRP Invoice
2017 Toyota Sienna $29,750 $27,519
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2017 Dodge Grand Caravan $25,995 $25,685 2017 Toyota Sienna VS 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan
2017 Honda Odyssey $29,850 $27,301 2017 Toyota Sienna VS 2017 Honda Odyssey
2017 Chrysler Pacifica $28,995 $28,850 2017 Toyota Sienna VS 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
2017 Kia Sedona $26,900 $26,056 2017 Toyota Sienna VS 2017 Kia Sedona

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2017 Toyota Sienna ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2017 Toyota Sienna rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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