Toyota Sienna Owners Would Like to See This Area of Their Vans Improve
The Toyota Sienna is a minivan that’s perfect for many families, but there’s one shortcoming that the owners don’t like. Although the Sienna excels in convenience, safety, and efficiency, the drivers are unsatisfied with the powertrain’s performance.
The Toyota Sienna is too slow
Every fourth-generation Toyota Sienna is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine rated at 245 net hp. Although minivans aren’t typically known for rapid acceleration, that’s pretty underpowered compared to its rivals. The Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival, and Chrysler Pacifica all make between 280-290 hp, giving them more satisfying thrust. That extra power is especially important if your van is regularly full of passengers and cargo.
The Sienna has a pokey 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 15.8 seconds. For comparison, the Honda Odyssey hits 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and its quarter-mile time is 15.1 seconds. We know nobody is drag racing these vans, but even minivan drivers appreciate a little get-up-and-go.
That said, the annual fuel cost of the Honda Odyssey is $1,000 higher than the Toyota Sienna, according to EPA estimates.
Owners like the efficiency but not the performance
According to the J.D. Power APEAL survey, the powertrain is the least favorite aspect of the Sienna among its owners. The annual Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) study aims to identify the most desirable car makes and models based on feedback from real-life drivers. J.D. Power says the study “measures owners’ emotional attachment and excitement with their new vehicle.” The APEAL study ranks vehicles in the following 10 categories:
- Driving comfort
- Driving feel
- Exterior styling
- Feeling of safety
- Fuel economy
- Getting in and out
- Interior design
- Setting up and starting
The Toyota Sienna ranked No. 2 in most desirable minivans behind the Kia Carnival. Owners’ favorite thing about the Sienna is the fuel economy, which makes sense considering the standard hybrid powertrain returning up to 36 combined mpg.
Although the great fuel economy comes from the hybrid powertrain, owners ranked the powertrain as their least favorite aspect of the van. This is likely because of the sluggish acceleration and sometimes noisy engine.
Owners can’t have it all
This highlights the ongoing trade-off between performance and efficiency. Greater performance often means worse fuel economy and vice-versa. This is even true of EVs. For example, the Ford Mustang Mach-E gets up to 103 combined MPGe, but the GT Performance model only gets 82 MPGe.
It can be hard to find the sweet spot between the two. Toyota prioritized efficiency over performance with the family-friendly Sienna by giving it an efficient but relatively underpowered hybrid powertrain.
Since the minivan segment has gotten so small, there’s a lot of pressure to build a minivan that can please everyone. The choices are limited to Toyota, Honda, Kia, and Chrysler, and they’re all so good that subtle differences like quicker acceleration or better fuel economy can be deciding factors in which one to buy.