2018 Toyota Sienna Review

2018 Toyota Sienna All Wheel Drive

For many people, the stigma of owning a minivan is too much to bear. Instead, they turn their focus to the latest crossover SUV. Shame really, since the minivan remains one of the most sensible ways to move your family around. Sliding side doors, easy entry into all three rows, and massive passenger and cargo space just make life easier. Crossovers have their own charms, but they can’t beat the overall versatility and sensibility of vans such as the 2018 Toyota Sienna.

2018 Toyota Sienna Review

The Sienna was last redesigned in 2010, but annual updates keep it competitive against newer minivan rivals. For 2018, the Sienna gets a handful of key updates. Notably, Toyota now includes its Safety Sense package on all trim levels and no longer as an options group on midlevel and upper trims. These are key safety and driver aids, too, and include automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

While the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona all boast newer and more modern designs, the Sienna continues to be a solid pick for a versatile family hauler.

what’s new in 2018 Toyota Sienna

For 2018, the Sienna gets a handful of key updates, including the Safety Sense package on all trim levels, updated Entune infotainment software, additional USB ports for rear passengers, and slightly revised front-end styling.

we recommend buying 2018 Toyota Sienna

Although a midgrade model, the Sienna LE has most of the minivan essentials (tri-zone climate control, power driver seat and easy-clean fabric upholstery) and optional all-wheel drive. But unless you absolutely need wet-weather capability, go for the SE. It has worthwhile upgrades, such as sportier styling, leather upholstery, a power liftgate and firmer suspension tuning. The latter makes the SE the best-handling Sienna. There is a small trade-off in ride quality, but we prefer the SE’s more in-control feel.

2018 Toyota Sienna trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Sienna minivan comes in five main trim levels: LLESEXLE and Limited. The SE, XLE, and Limited are further available in Premium subtrims. All Sienna trims come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (296 horsepower, 263 pound-feet of torque) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The LE and XLE come in seven- and eight-passenger configurations: The L and Limited versions are seven-passenger only, and the SE is eight-passenger only.

Standard features for the base include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a wiper de-icer, tri-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, a rearview camera, a conversation mirror, Bluetooth, smartphone-app navigation (Scout GPS Link), Siri Eyes Free, five USB ports, a 7-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, media player interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Toyota Safety Sense also comes standard starting with L trims. It includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic headlights.

The LE adds roof rails, power-sliding rear doors, privacy glass, heated mirrors, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, upgraded easy-clean fabric upholstery, rear sunshades, HD and satellite radio, Entune apps (i.e., Pandora, iHeartRadio, Yelp) and telematics services, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. All-wheel-drive versions get 18-inch wheels.

The SE is equipped similarly to the LE but adds a sport-tuned suspension, sharper steering, 19-inch alloy wheels, a unique front fascia (foglights, LED daytime running lights and a mesh grille), a noise-reducing windshield and lower body skirting. The SE also has a power liftgate, first- and second-row leather upholstery (the third row gets premium vinyl), heated front seats, and unique gauges with a larger driver information screen.

The SE Premium adds a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and the Driver Easy Speak system, which amplifies the driver’s voice through the rear speakers.

The Sienna XLE shares many of the SE trim’s comfort and convenience equipment, but it features similar suspension, steering and styling to the LE. It also adds a power-adjustable front passenger seat, imitation-wood trim, power-opening rear-quarter windows, keyless entry and push-button start. The XLE Premium adds the SE Premium’s features and rear parking sensors.

The plush Limited includes the XLE Premium’s features (minus the rear entertainment system), along with 18-inch alloy wheels, a different grille, LED daytime running lights, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors, front and rear sunroofs, noise-reducing side glass, and front and rear parking sensors. Inside is first- and second-row premium leather upholstery, driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, Toyota Safety Connect emergency services, an in-dash navigation system, and an upgraded 10-speaker JBL surround-sound audio system. Front-wheel-drive models also get a sliding center console between the first two rows, extendable footrests for the second row, and a power-folding third row with faux leather upholstery.

You can add even more with the Limited Premium trim, which tacks on xenon headlights, automatic wipers, a surround-view parking camera system, the rear-seat entertainment system and upgraded third-row leather (AWD only).

Only two option packages are available. For SE trims, the SE Preferred package adds a sunroof, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, keyless ignition and entry, the Driver Easy Speak system, and the in-dash navigation system. For XLE trims, the XLE Navigation package adds rear parking sensors, Driver Easy Speak and the in-dash navigation system.

2018 Toyota Sienna trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium (3.5L V6 | 8-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Sienna has received revisions that include the addition of driver and safety aids such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control on all trim levels, not just midlevel or top trims. Infotainment software has also been updated, and SE and Limited trims receive upgraded glass for a quieter cabin. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year’s Sienna.

2018 Toyota Sienna Scorecard

Overall 3.5 / 5.0  
Driving 3.0 / 5.0
Comfort 3.5 / 5.0
Interior 3.5 / 5.0
Utility 4.0 / 5.0
Technology n/a

2018 Toyota Sienna driving

A strong V6 makes the Sienna the quickest minivan on the market. The engine isn’t terribly responsive in normal driving, and ample body roll reveals itself on curvy roads, but most minivan drivers should find it tolerable.

2018 Toyota Sienna acceleration

Changes to the Sienna’s powertrain for 2017 (a more powerful V6 and a new eight-speed transmission) provide tangible benefits to acceleration. Our Limited Premium test car dashed 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds, quickest of any current minivan we’ve tested. Acceleration from a stop is smooth.

2018 Toyota Sienna braking

The Sienna slows down smoothly, with a fairly soft pedal and linear braking force. There’s not much initial resistance in the pedal, but it builds up as you lay into it. It stopped from 60 mph in 122 feet, average for the class but considerably shorter than multiple Honda Odysseys we’ve tested.

2018 Toyota Sienna steering

Some road feedback transmits through the steering wheel, but otherwise the wheel is lifeless. Effort is light and lacks natural buildup. There’s also no increased effort at higher speeds, which would aid stability.

2018 Toyota Sienna handling

The Sienna exhibits noticeable body roll if you hustle it through turns. You’ll need to slow down to keep your passengers happy. The Sienna SE, with its sport-tuned suspension, is more stable along twisty roads.

2018 Toyota Sienna drivability

Gas pedal response is poor in Normal mode unless the pedal is nearly pressed to the floor. The V6 has plenty of power in reserve (as evidenced when you select ECT Power mode), but you won’t feel it under usual driving circumstances. The transmission is reluctant to downshift on uphill grades.

2018 Toyota Sienna comfort

The seats are initially comfortable and supportive, but long stints reveal pressure points. The ride is serene, though considerable levels of road and wind noise disrupt an otherwise relaxed experience. The climate controls work well to keep the entire cabin at a pleasant temperature.

2018 Toyota Sienna seat comfort

The cushy seats are covered with soft, compliant leather. Some of our drivers had trouble remaining comfortable on longer trips, and found themselves making adjustments along the way. The extendable second-row leg rests are a nice touch.

2018 Toyota Sienna ride comfort

The Sienna glides down the highway, offering a supremely comfortable ride. It can get a little unsettled if you hit a bump in the middle of a turn, but that’s the only real knock here.

2018 Toyota Sienna noise & vibration

There’s a great deal of wind and road noise, especially at highway speeds. The V6 operates at low rpm while cruising so you don’t hear it much. It sounds pretty good at full throttle, too. The climate control system’s gale force winds produce an extraordinary din. Trim rattles are not uncommon.

2018 Toyota Sienna climate control

Tri-zone climate control is standard across all trims, with vents above the rear outboard passengers. The heated steering wheel delivers effective heat, and the heated front seats get quite toasty on the highest setting. The perforated upholstery breathes adequately, but ventilation would be ideal.

2018 Toyota Sienna interior

The Sienna offers great visibility and, unsurprisingly for a minivan, excellent points of entry and exit for all seats. There’s a surprising lack of headroom in the second and third rows due to the tapered roofline, but the most egregious oversight has to be the Sienna’s poorly arranged controls.

2018 Toyota Sienna ease of use

Many controls are awkwardly located, especially those for the rear entertainment system. The seat heater switches are hard for the passenger to reach with the dash-mounted cupholders deployed. The voice projection feature, which amplifies the driver’s voice, is buried in touchscreen menus.

2018 Toyota Sienna getting in/getting out

Entry and exit through any door of the Sienna is a cinch. We’d only caution that the rear armrests are a bit flimsy, so don’t try to use them to hoist yourself out. Exiting the third row is also simple. Using the strap or grab handle on the bottom of the second row slides it forward with ease.

2018 Toyota Sienna driving position

The driver’s seat offers a wide range of vertical adjustment to accommodate a variety of body types. The front of the seat bottom tilts up high enough to provide thigh support for taller drivers. The steering wheel doesn’t tilt or telescope much, so you might not be able to reach an ideal position.

2018 Toyota Sienna roominess

There’s an ample amount of room up front, and the second-row seats slide all the way to the third row, though a sloping roofline reduces headroom the further you go back. There’s enough legroom in the third row to accommodate adults, though taller individuals might find headroom a bit limited.

2018 Toyota Sienna visibility

The massive windshield and large windows provide an expansive view outward. The rear pillars aren’t overly bulky, so you still have a wide view of the area directly behind you. The beltline rises a bit by the third-row windows but doesn’t compromise the three-quarter rear view.

2018 Toyota Sienna quality

The interior of our top-trim tester doesn’t feel quite as nice as that of a comparable Chrysler Pacifica or Kia Sedona. With less than 10,000 miles, our Sienna tester had already developed a few creaks here and there, and the second-row sunshades vibrated when deployed.

2018 Toyota Sienna All Wheel Drive

Photos of the 2018 Toyota Sienna Review

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2018 Toyota Sienna Review | ivink3aray | 4.5