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Minivans may be perceived as the “uncool” automotive choice compared to SUVs, but those who dismiss the stigma know they are the pinnacle in practicality for family hauling duties. Among the limited but ultra-competitive minivan segment is a stalwart of the group, the Toyota Sienna, which is now in its 25th year of production.

The Sienna is a strong player in its class, and it trails only the Chrysler Pacifica in recent sales figures. But what owners find most appealing about Toyota’s minivan is a bit surprising.

2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition
2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition | Toyota Motors, U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota Sienna owners rank their minivan’s most appealing characteristics

J.D. Power recently revealed what Toyota Sienna owners like best about their minivans in the organization’s 2022 APEAL Study. The study surveyed verified purchasers of the Sienna and asked them to rank their favorite aspects of the minivan. Topping the list was an unexpected answer.

Fuel economy was ranked as the top choice among Sienna owners for what they like about their minivan. Given its role as a mover of families and their stuff, other aspects like safety, practicality or family-friendly features might be expected to top the list. But apparently, Sienna owners most enjoy its efficiency.

Though it can be perceived as surprising that fuel economy tops the list, it’s less remarkable given the Sienna is only offered as a hybrid. It’s 2.5-liter inline-four hybrid engine delivers minivan-average grunt of 285 horsepower, but the Sienna far outpaces its rivals for fuel economy.

Even all-wheel drive versions will return 35 combined mpg, according to the EPA. The Sienna is far more efficient than the non-hybrid Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival, and Chrysler Pacifica, which all provide up to 22 combined mpg.

The Pacifica is offered as hybrid, but it returns five fewer combined miles per gallon and costs significantly more. A base 2023 Sienna rings it at about $15,000 cheaper than the base Pacifica Hybrid model. A fully loaded Sienna costs just a few hundred dollars more than the base Pacifica Hybrid.

The Sienna’s impressive fuel economy, along with its cost-savings over the only other hybrid minivan, has clearly made a positive impression on owners. So too, surprisingly, has it looks.

Sienna owners dig its minivan styling and driving dynamics

Another relatively surprising inclusion on what Sienna owners like best is its exterior styling, which lands at No. 2 of its best aspects among owners. The Sienna certainly sports a traditional minivan appearance, but owners can spruce up its looks in various ways.

The XSE is the sportiest looking of the bunch—even though some may find that statement laughable—with 20-inch wheels and fairly aggressive front and rear bumpers. Those wanting a more all-terrain look can opt for the Woodland Edition with its higher ride height and exclusive color palette.

Third on the list among Sienna owners was its driving feel, again, not a particularly obvious inclusion for its segment.

Owners also herald its safety & comfort

“Feeling of safety” was ranked No. 4 on the list, an aspect most would expect to score higher given the Sienna is purpose-built to move the whole family. Then again, the “feeling” of safety could leave it open to interpretation.

The remaining characteristics of the Sienna owners like most are more traditional for the minivan segment. They include, in order of rank, interior design, driving comfort, getting in and out, setting up and starting, its infotainment system, and powertrain.

J.D. Power’s 2022 APEAL Study noted that 65% of new Sienna owners are male, which is on par for the minivan segment. The median age of Sienna purchasers was 45-years old, which lines up precisely with the segment overall.


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