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It’s been almost a month since I’ve driven a press car, so when I got word that I was going to receive a 2022 Toyota Sienna XSE this week, I was pleasantly surprised and appreciative. However, my appreciation turned into concern as I wondered what I was going to do with it.

I don’t have any kids to tote around or any large lumber to move, so utilizing the ample amount of cargo and passenger space the Sienna is a bit tough for me. Fortunately, the weather forecast in Denver revealed one day of light snow, which turned my concern into a large ear-to-ear grin when I realized that I would be able to test the “swagger wagon” in a different way.

The Toyota Sienna’s all-wheel-drive system stands up well to light snow

2022 Toyota Sienna XSE in the snow
2022 Toyota Sienna XSE in the snow | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

It has been an unusually balmy winter this year in Denver. Thanks to a “La Nina” weather pattern sweeping across the nation, our December days have been filled with sunshine and 60-degree temperatures. No one has complained about it, but it’s also left everyone wondering where the snow is.

Fortunately, the weather forecast for this week called for one day of light snow and I heeded Mother Nature’s call. No, I didn’t go skiing, but I did make use of the Toyota  Sienna XSE and all of its all-wheel-drive glory around the streets of Denver on the day that it snowed. I’m happy to report that the minivan’s electric motor-powered drivetrain works extremely well in lightly snow-packed areas as the wheels gripped the road with surefooted ease. Even from a standstill, I didn’t detect any side-to-side movement or slippage when accelerating heavily, which fortified my confidence in the porky people mover.

That being said, the Sienna might not do as well in areas with heavy snow, but for those living in a place where it only snows on occasion, this tried-and-true minivan will do just fine.

2022 Toyota Sienna XSE tire in the snow
2022 Toyota Sienna XSE tire in the snow. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Sienna’s hybrid powertrain is not only capable, but it’s also fuel-efficient

2022 Toyota Sienna XSE AWD badge. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The Toyota Sienna was redesigned from the ground up for the 2021 model year. One of the most notable changes included a standard 2.5-liter hybrid powertrain that produces 245 horsepower and achieves up to an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city and highway. In real-world driving, it’s a smooth powertrain that seamlessly transitions between the gas engine and electric motor and I’ve been able to achieve an average of 33 mpg thus far.

One small con that I can report on is that the Sienna uses a “series hybrid” setup, which means that when the hybrid battery is low, the gas engine acts as a generator to recharge it. It’s not a bad system by any means, but it’s weird to be stopped at a stoplight and hear the growl of the engine as it builds in RPMs while you’re stopped – it’s like having your foot on the gas while in “park.” For those that don’t know any better, this function can be a little disconcerting at first.

The Sienna XSE has everything a minivan owner could want

2022 Toyota Sienna XSE tailgate
2022 Toyota Sienna XSE tailgate | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Aside from its nifty powertrain, the 2022 Sienna XSE has everything a family could need in a minivan. Some of the most notable features include heated Softex front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, and an easy-to-stow third row. My tester also came with a few options like a rear-seat entertainment system, a premium JBL sound system, and a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

I still have the remainder of the week to put the Sienna XSE through its paces and will report my further findings. It’s too bad there’s no more snow in the forecast, but if there was, I know this “swagger wagon” would be ready for it.


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