2016 Toyota Sienna review with video

2016 Toyota SiennaThe Basics:


Base price: $31,675 + taxes
As tested: $49,700 + taxes
Average fuel economy over our week of testing: 11.2 L/100 kms (21 MPG)
Competition: Chrysler Pacifica (2017), Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona

The Sienna has been in Toyota’s line-up since 1998 and, like it or not, you can’t deny the practicality and popularity of the minivan because this is Toyota’s fourth best selling vehicle in Canada (behind the RAV4, Corolla and Camry). We’re now into the third generation of Sienna and if the 2016 looks familiar, that’s because it hasn’t seen a redesign since 2010. 2015 saw a more refined interior, quieter cabin and better overall ride but there’s not much to mention in terms of big changes for 2016.

If you’re able to hold off until the 2017 models come out, there are some bigger changes afoot for the Sienna. It will feature the new pairing of an eight speed automatic transmission (as opposed to a six speed) and a new take on its 3.5-litre V6 – a similar drivetrain to the one you’ll find in the new 2017 Highlander, as well.

Here’s our bullet point breakdown of pros and cons for the Sienna but for far more detail, make sure to watch our video above as well.

2016 Toyota SiennaFamily Wheels Pros:

– The only all wheel drive minivan on the Canadian market.

– Plenty of quality materials used throughout the cabin. It doesn’t feel cheap.

– Both front and rear facing car seats fit in either the second or third row without cramping front row passenger comfort.

– Seating for seven on higher level trims or eight on lower level trims.

– Minivan grade cargo capacity is pretty untouchable when the third row is down, regardless of the brand that you decide on.

– Comfortable front row seats.

– Toyota reliability.

2016 Toyota SiennaFamily Wheels Cons:

– Fuel economy on our test was an underwhelming 11.2 L/100 kms while the driving experience, even for a minivan, was quite dull.

– The top of the line XLE trim in our tester features leather seating surfaces which can be better for cleaning up after messy kids but the first and second row seats feature the sporty looking pinhole perforations that can be very hard to clean after a spill. This choice in a family minivan left us scratching our heads.

– The dashboard doesn’t feel as refined as what you’d find in the Kia Sedona that we reviewed this time last year. The Sienna’s dash looks haphazard and poorly conceived. While the Kia and the new Pacifica from Chrysler have a more high-end sedan-like look for the front row.

Courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

– Toyota vehicles often have difficult to use anchor systems for car seats. The Sienna is no exception. They’re buried rather deeply and it’s hard to clip the anchors into place.

– The Sienna hasn’t earned the Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because of average results in one of its tests.

– For families with trailers, mind the towing capacity. While middle of the line Siennas are rated to a modest 3,500 lbs, the base trim and top of the line XLE are both only rated to 1,000 lbs.

– Beyond the Toyota badge, the Kia Sedona will offer a much healthier warranty. The Sienna has 3 year/60,000
km while the Sedona has 5 year/100,000 km coverage. And the $32,000 base price tag of the Sienna is just shy of a top of the line Dodge Grand Caravan ($33,295).

– For large grocery store runs or easier access to the third row, the second row in the Sienna does slide forward and clamshell against the front row. However, the Dodge Grand Caravan’s stow and go second row seating is far more convenient and gives even more flexibility.

– And headroom in the second and third rows is tight for adults. At just over 6 feet tall, I was maxed out in the second row and had to slouch down in the third row.

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 4/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 3/5
Family Wheels performance score score: 3/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 4/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 4.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 3/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 3/5

Family Wheels overall score: 34.5/50= 69%

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