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It’s hard to believe it’s been over two decades since the Sienna first rolled onto U.S. roads. This popular minivan delivers reliability, safety, and efficiency. Let’s look back at the Toyota Sienna and how this favorite family hauler is celebrating its silver anniversary.

A brief history of the Toyota Sienna

Toyota unveiled the Sienna in 1997 at the Detroit Auto Show. Designed for the U.S. market, this minivan was assembled at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. In 1998, its debut model year, it earned the title of “Best Minivan” by MotorWeek and “Most Appealing Compact Van in APEAL” by J.D. Power. It was also named “Top Three Vehicles in Initial Quality, Compact Van” by J.D. Power and “Best Minivan” by Consumer Reports in 1999. 

The Sienna was known as the “Camry of Minivans” because it was based on a larger version of the midsize sedan’s front-wheel-drive platform. From 1998 to 2003, the first-generation Sienna had a 194-hp 3.0-liter V6 engine and a four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It was easy to maneuver, touted excellent gas mileage, and boasted front-seat-mounted airbags, the first minivan to do so.

From 2004 to 2010, the second-generation Toyota Sienna was wider, higher, and more versatile. It packed a 230-hp 3.3-liter V6 and a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Plus, it added all-wheel drive and convenient power-folding third-row seating.

2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition
2023 Toyota Sienna XSE 25th Anniversary Special Edition | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

2011 to 2019 models made up the third generation. They brought advances such as an optional pre-collision system and dynamic radar cruise control. Also new were a sleeker design, push-button start, eight-speed automatic transmission, and second-row sliding-lounge seating.

Finally, the fourth and current generation introduced more luxurious features, kick-open/close sliding doors, and standard on-demand electric all-wheel drive.

How does this modern minivan compare to its predecessor, the Previa?

The Previa debuted in 1991 during the Dodge Caravan’s heyday. The folks at Toyota were well aware of the competition’s success and strived to make their model stand out in performance and design. So they gave the Previa a unique mid-engine layout, placing its four-cylinder power plant mostly beneath the front seats. It also offered an automatic or manual transmission.

But the egg-shaped Previa couldn’t compete with domestic minivans, and sales floundered. Toyota discontinued it in America in 1997.

The Sienna was a “hard reset” of the Previa and has enjoyed much more success. Nearly every model year has sold over 100,000 minivans, and the traditional design has helped contribute to its success.

The 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition marks a major milestone

This year brings the 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Edition. Toyota says it will produce only 2,525 units in the United States. This model uses the XSE trim as its base. Its 245-hp hybrid powertrain achieves an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined.

Unique exterior features include “25 Years” badging and mirrors with memory settings, auto-dimming, puddle lights, and power-fold and reverse-tilt-down functionality. Interior amenities are equally fancy. They include black leather-trimmed seating with silver-colored stitching, second-row seats with ottomans, and illuminated door sills.

Buyers also get an exclusive black key fob cover with silver-colored stitching and a “25th Anniversary” badge.


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