why it matters
Minivans are not fashion statements. (And the water gets wet, we know.) They become part of the family, helping to create memories on vacation trips; allow spontaneous purchases of large and bulky items; and facilitate the loading of people and their belongings. So when companies completely lose sight of that mission in pursuit of another perceived priority, like producing a van with footrests, the end product no longer qualifies as a van in my book. That’s why I strenuously objected to the Kia Carnival SX winning our most recent minivan comparison test. Its seats equipped with middle row footrests are not removable, they cannot be folded flat, and they cannot be moved for easy entry/exit from the third row. It’s a minivan failure.
But the Toyota Sienna Platinum’s much smarter captain’s chairs feature a lever that tilts the seatback forward while simultaneously lifting the front of the lower cushion and unlocking the seat slider mechanism, so that he can slip right behind the front. This makes it easier to get in or out of the third row and frees up a full 4 feet by 6 feet of cargo space when the third row is folded into the floor. And because it’s all manual, it’s lighter and you never have to wait patiently for the electric motors to do their job.
I’ve managed to fit headboards and footboards for a queen-size bed, a lawnmower, and lots of miscellaneous boxes into the back of a Sienna footstool, which would have been impossible in a Kia Carnival SX.
Pros: What we like
My Hybrid Synergy Drive AWD model delivered over 28 mpg during my winter week (summer temperatures and front-wheel drive would increase those numbers, but the hybrid is the only engine on offer). It’s certainly nice, and the extreme engine noise and harshness that my colleagues complained about during our comparison test of the 2021 model Platinum Hybrid didn’t seem to plague this 2022 – or maybe they were drowned out during my experience by packed snow in the wheel arches and creaking under the tires. We also like the tall front center console that hovers over a giant storage area for purses or diaper bags, and the two-tone Noble Brown interior, which looks like a deep purplish brown color.
Cons: What we don’t like
Brake feel is inexcusably poor, which is hard to forgive from a company that has tuned mixed friction and regenerative braking since the Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997. The speed at which the pickup slows in response pedal pressure always feels non-linear and unpredictable. . And the infotainment system isn’t as clear or intuitive as the very latest systems of its kind.
It may not be the champion of fun-to-drive minivans, but in the categories that matter most to minivan consumers, it’s the most minivan on the market, the less among minivans with footrests. Want a state-of-the-art van? Buy something with foldable and/or fully removable second row seats and bring some pillows to rest your feet on.
This seems good! More details?
|Toyota Sienna 2022 Features|
|STARTING PRICE||$35,925 – $52,550|
|LAYOUT||Front Engine, FWD/ AWD, 7-8 Pass, 4-Door Van|
|ENGINE||2.5L/189 hp/176 lb-ft Atkinson cycle 16-valve inline-4, plus 180 hp/199 lb-ft front and 54 hp/89 lb-ft rear electric motors; Comb 245 hp|
|TRANSMISSION||0-speed [manual, auto, auto-clutch man, twin-clutch auto, CVT, direct]|
|UNLOADED WEIGHT||4,600–4,750 lbs (manufacturer)|
|L x W x H||203.7-204.1 x 78.5 x 68.5 inches|
|0-60MPH||7.5-7.9 sec (MT is)|
|EPA FUEL ECONOMY||35-36/36/35-36 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||630-648 miles|