When it comes to shuttling people and stuff from place to place, a minivan is the vehicle of choice for many drivers. In fact, a recent study showed that minivans are the vehicle body-type that is driven the most miles each year.
A popular option in this segment is the Toyota Sienna. Recently, Consumer Reports favored the Sienna over the Honda Odyssey due to its reliability and wealth of safety features. The Sienna, as we’ll soon see, offers some advantages not available in competitors such as the Dodge Grand Caravan or the Kia Sedona.
Toyota Sienna price and model years
For many minivan buyers, though, the Sienna’s biggest stumbling block is the dollar amount on its sales sticker. The base price for the 2019 version is a lofty $31,315. For 2020, it’s $100 more.
Buyers won’t find any major differences between the two model years except the slight price increase. But they’ll need to choose the 2020 model to get the new Nightshade Edition package which is an option on the SE trim. This package consists of dark lowlights plus black-finished wheels and black accents on the grille, mirror caps, spoiler, and door handles.
Comparing the Sienna’s sales tag to those of the competition is eye-opening. The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan starts at $27,040. The 2020 Chrysler Voyager which is essentially a base-trim Pacifica that replaces the Grand Caravan starts at $28,480.
The base price of the 2019 Kia Sedona is $27,200 and the 2020 version is $27,400. The Sienna’s biggest rival, the Honda Odyssey, still beats the Toyota’s price, starting at $30,190 for the 2019 model and $30,690 for 2020.
Once buyers recover from sticker shock, they can find a lot to like about the Sienna. In some ways, it’s typical for a three-row minivan on the current market: it has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 296 hp, which is the same size engine as the Odyssey with just a tad more horsepower. Fuel economy is 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, which closely match the claims of its rivals.
The Sienna has an eight-speed shiftable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. But this Toyota minivan has one huge advantage over just about any other out there. Buyers can choose an all-wheel-drive option, making driving the family around in bad weather less of a worry.
A big plus for the Sienna is the renowned Toyota reliability and durability, as Kelley Blue Book notes. Another plus is Toyota’s thoroughness in loading this vehicle with an array of standard safety features. These include a rearview camera, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-keeping assist system. Additional safety options that are optional are blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
And this minivan is also well-designed for mobility needs. The Sienna offers an available factory-installed lift seat for passengers with disabilities, which is a first of its kind. Toyota also works with conversion partners to design wheelchair accessibility options for the Sienna.
It’s a roomy eight-seater, too, with a total passenger volume of 164.4 cubic feet. The most impressive aspect of the Sienna’s roominess is its cargo space, which expands from a respectable 39.1 cubic feet with all seats in place to a whopping maximum capacity of 150.0 cubic feet with the seats out of the way.
Current tech in the Sienna includes Apple CarPlay integration, Amazon’s Alexa, and WiFi capability.
Even though one of the Sienna’s biggest drawbacks is its priciness, it does come with features buyers won’t get in the Sedona or the Grand Caravan. The resale value of the Sienna also beats out many of its rivals.
Another problem that affects the Sienna is its low-quality interior. U.S. News & World Report says that the Sienna’s rivals have better interiors. The leather upholstery and well-considered appointments of the Kia Sedona and the Chrysler Pacifica prove this to be true.
Cabin tech could be a bit more up to date in the Sienna, as compared to the Honda Odyssey. For example, both cars have an in-van PA system that allows the driver to talk to passengers in the back of the vehicle. But the Odyssey goes one better with an in-cabin video monitor.
Also, the Honda minivan has an option that enables the driver to control important vehicle features such as audio and rear-seat climate functions from their smartphone.
Finally, the appeal of the Sienna’s vast cargo space is diminished by the way it has to be accessed. The second-row seats need to be removed, which seems like a dated and awkward way to expand the space. Compare this to the Pacifica’s second-row seats that fold flat into the floor, and it becomes clear that Toyota needs to update this design feature.
Is the Toyota Sienna a minivan worth paying over $30,000 for? If you’re not on a tight budget and you want a durable, reliable, safe, and extremely practical minivan, the answer is yes.
If you want all of this in a minivan with all-wheel drive, again the answer is yes.
However, if you want to pay less and you’d like a more upscale interior but with fewer features, then one of the Sienna’s rivals might be a better choice.