Full 2014 Toyota Sienna Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Toyota Sienna is essentially unchanged apart from the tow prep package becoming standard across the board and the SE trim now offering a blind spot monitoring system as an individual option (it previously required the purchase of an option package).
There's just no getting around the fact that a box on wheels is the most space-efficient vehicle for moving people and cargo. As such, minivans, although not the flashiest things on the road, make the best family haulers. And among these amiable beasts of burden, the 2014 Toyota Sienna stands out as a top choice.
As with its peers, the Sienna provides a spacious interior as well as plenty of available luxury features. As you'd expect, there are the well-equipped base and loaded-up luxury versions. But there's also the SE version, which boasts something rare in this segment: a sporty personality via its firmer suspension tuning, along with some bolder styling tweaks that do their best to make the minivan look cool. It's a nice complement to the Sienna's V6 engine, which is one of the strongest you'll find in this class.
Toyota's minivan can also carry up to eight passengers, and it can be optioned with all-wheel drive -- the Sienna is actually the only 2014 minivan available with AWD and it's a boon if you frequently slog through snow. Of course, the Sienna isn't the only impressive choice for a minivan. The 2014 Honda Odyssey is also one of our favorites and boasts minor advantages in fuel efficiency and second-row seating versatility.
Also worth considering are the more affordable 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and the off-beat 2014 Nissan Quest; both offer ultra-convenient fold-flat second- and third-row seating arrangements. But among this box-on-wheels group, the 2014 Toyota Sienna is still very easy to recommend given its combination of performance, space and features.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Toyota Sienna minivan comes in five trim levels: base L, LE, SE, XLE and Limited. The LE and XLE come in seven- and eight-passenger configurations; the L and Limited are seven-passenger only and the SE is eight-passenger only. All trims come with front-wheel drive, while the LE, XLE and Limited also can be had with all-wheel drive.
The Sienna L includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a tow prep package, manual sliding rear doors, triple-zone air-conditioning, full power accessories, a telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The LE adds roof rails, power-sliding side doors, a power liftgate, privacy glass, heated outside mirrors, floor- and overhead-mounted consoles, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, triple-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar support), second- and third-row sunshades, a 3.5-inch infotainment display, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB interface.
The sport-themed SE is equipped similarly to the LE but adds more aggressive styling thanks to 19-inch alloy wheels, a unique front fascia (with foglights, mesh inserts and a larger air intake), lower-body skirting and tinted head- and taillights. The SE also has firmer suspension tuning and revised power steering. Inside the SE are leatherette/cloth upholstery, unique instruments and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Sienna XLE adds a number of luxury features to the LE's list of amenities, including a unique metallic-gray grille insert, automatic headlights, a sunroof, an acoustic windshield, a blind spot monitoring system, leather upholstery, wood-grain interior trim, premium instrumentation, heated front seats, a four-way power front passenger seat and power-opening rear quarter windows.
The plush Limited features 18-inch alloy wheels, a satin chrome grille, auto-dimming outside mirrors, dual sunroofs, front and rear parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, two-tone leather seating, driver memory settings, a leather-and-wood steering wheel, an upgraded 10-speaker JBL surround-sound audio system, second-row lounge-style seats and a power-split-folding third-row seat.
Although some of the upper trims' features are available on lower trims as individual options, most optional features are grouped into packages that vary based on trim level and where you live in the U.S. Other notable highlights include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system (with a large screen that can be split to display two different sources) and a navigation system with a 6.1-inch display, Entune smartphone app integration and a rearview camera. For the Sienna Limited only, Toyota offers xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control and adaptive cruise control with a forward collision warning system.
Powertrains and Performance
Every Toyota Sienna comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque and drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sienna LE, XLE and Limited models can also be equipped with all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds testing, we timed a front-drive Sienna Limited from zero to 60 mph in a swift 7.5 seconds. The EPA fuel economy estimates come in at 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) for front-wheel-drive versions. Opting for all-wheel drive drops those estimates to 19 combined (16/23).
Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag and active front head restraints are standard on all 2014 Toyota Sienna models. A rearview camera, a blind spot monitoring system and front and rear parking sensors are available depending on the trim level, while the Limited can be had with a forward collision warning system. At our test track, a Sienna Limited stopped from 60 mph in 127 feet -- about average for the minivan segment.
In government crash testing, the Sienna received an overall score of four stars out of five, with three stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection. In tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sienna earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. It also earned a "Good" rating for its seat/head restraint design's whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Lower trim levels of the Sienna are attractively decked out with high-quality fabric upholstery, while higher-end models get leather along with simulated wood cabin accents. Some of the interior plastics feel a bit downmarket, though, while others -- such as the intentionally coarse-textured plastic on the dash -- are just plain odd. Seating is plush, though, and there's abundant storage space along with user-friendly controls.
On the electronics front, the Sienna's available navigation system includes Entune, a suite of smartphone-connected services that includes features like the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio, and real-time traffic, sports and stock information. The touchscreen interface is pretty easy to use, but sometimes the virtual buttons' delayed response to touch inputs can be frustrating. The long reach from the driver seat to the center console's controls can also be problematic. The available rear-seat entertainment system features a split-screen monitor that allows two different media (a movie on one side and a video game on the other, for example) to play simultaneously -- thereby making it easier to keep the peace in the backseat.
With a seven-passenger Sienna, you get second-row captain's chairs that tip forward to allow easier access to the third row; these chairs also have a long-slide feature to maximize legroom for taller passengers. However, the seats require a fair amount of effort to slide, and removing them is a job best left to two people, as they are rather heavy and awkward. The eight-passenger Sienna comes with a 40/20/40-split second-row bench, and its center section slides close to the front seats for easier access to the little ones seated there.
If you choose a Sienna Limited with its lounge seats, the second-row passengers get to recline in La-Z-Boy-style comfort, provided the seats are positioned back far enough (and the front seats are up far enough) to allow the built-in footrests to rise all the way up. With the second-row seats removed and the third row stowed, the Sienna provides a massive 150 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity.
We've long been impressed with the Sienna's V6 engine, which has the juice to deliver lively acceleration whether you're bopping around town running errands or getting up to cruising speed on the freeway. The smart six-speed automatic transmission does a great job at keeping the thrust on tap, yet the Sienna still manages to provide respectable fuel economy provided you're not too aggressive with the gas pedal.
The 2014 Toyota Sienna's ride quality is plush, and all versions offer competent handling. The SE's recalibrated suspension gives it even more agility around turns, albeit with a somewhat firmer (though still comfortable) ride quality. The steering in most Siennas is precise and light in effort (but low on feedback and not especially sporty), while the SE offers a meatier feel to its steering action in keeping with its more athletic character.