Her + His Car Reviews

2018 Toyota Sienna SE Premium Minivan

Our car reviews are innovative and interesting as we provide insightful and expert reviews from both Her + His perspectives.
 

Her: Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate, women-drivers.com
His: Don Hammonds, Writer, AutomobileJournal.com 

HER HIS
Price
$43,200 $43,200
Performance
Dependability and reliability make this a top choice for family mini-vans. The Toyota Sienna SE Premium has a perky 3.5-liter V6 engine that sports 296 horsepower. That is a lot of get-up-and-go for a minivan and offers smooth sailing on highway driving. The handling, while responsive, is a bit loose, and we note that the new 8-speed automatic transmission is not as even in shifting as the previous six-speed.

As a leader in this class, Toyota is the only brand that offers all-wheel drive - all supported by 19" alloy wheels. On this model there is a sport tuned steering and suspension.
Of course, it's not a race car, but I think the performance as a whole is about what most people will need: More than decent acceleration, predictable, safe handling, lots of cool features and buttery smooth ambiance inside to make it a pleasure to drive, and lots of room for the family.

Power for the Sienna comes from a 296 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy
22 combined miles, 19 city miles and 27 highway miles. City mileage ranges between 18 and 19 miles per gallon, while the highway mileage is between 24 and 27 miles per gallon.
The Vehicle
We thoroughly enjoyed driving this machine - it's easy driving and a pleasure to be behind the wheel. There is such versatility and comfort to it, how can you not? It's in the details, with the Toyota Sienna. Let's start with the dashboard and something as simple as reachability. The buttons are all well within reach of the driver. And, dials assist the driver in turning toward and locating the specific stage preferred.

The captain's chairs and the steering wheel are sized-right. They are not supersized, so you feel like you are in an airplanes' first-class section- swimming in ginormous seats that with no roots. With the Sienna chairs, you are snug, comfortable and with the lumbar, you in it for the long haul. Note that the driver's seat is heated, but the option to have it cooled is not available - which is disappointing.

Leather-trimmed front captain's seats and the driver's seat has 8-way power for customized positioning. Removable tip up and sliding second row captain's chairs - with a stowable center seat. Leatherette 60/40 split and stow away 3rd row seat with one-motion stow. Three zone customized climate control - for driver, passengers and rear zone. 14 total cup holders and plenty of space.
There are very few blind spots in the Toyota Sienna which we were pleased by, making for optimized visibility and a clear drive. It is worth noting, with all the technology and comfort creatures on the Toyota Sienna, it trails behind its competition in design. The Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica are adding pizzazz with recent design updates, in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Everyone knows that sport utility and compact utility vehicles are all the rage now, which means that the minivan market comes down to a handful of three or four brands at most. Sienna certain ranks highly. And, when compared to its competitors in the SUV/CUV market, the Sienna is doing just fine, thank you.
It is far more comfortable than any CUV I've driven, and the ride is smooth rather than the more rugged feeling that you get from SUVs and CUVs--parents of babies take note. And the Sienna is church-mouse quiet, with melt-in-your-mouth-leather seats that, while firm enough, are living room sofa soft.

But the Sienna does have some issues. That bulky second row seating arrangement will not be a lot of fun to have to move if you need the space for cargo, and technologically and feature wise, the Sienna lags behind what I consider to be the best all-round minivan on the market: Chrysler's sleek, gorgeous, tech-laden Pacifica.

Toyota needs to give the Sienna a thorough update--though I admit the sluggishness and size of the minivan market doesn't necessarily make a strong case for spending a lot of money in that segment.

For 2019--not 2018--Alexa integration are now standard, and you can now get all-wheel drive in the SE version of the Sienna.
Safety
Toyota Safety Sense is a bundle of safety services and sensors including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. Lane Departure Alert, Steering Assist, Auto-High Beams, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

As a leader in safety, this model also has Enhanced Stability Control, Traction control, Anti-Lock Brake System, Electronic-brake force distribution, Brake Assist and Smart Stop Technology. Blind- Spot Monitoring. Rear-Cross Traffic Alert and LED daytime running lights.

4 LATCH location for children's security and safety - 2 in the second row and 2 in the third row. Keyless entry and rearview camera are also critical safety features.

You get as standard equipment Toyota's Safety Sense System on all Sienna models. Also, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist are standard on all models.
Technology
Technology doesn't stop with this family vehicle. Again, it's in the details. Like the Toyota Safety Sense that adds no-cost to your purchase with all those safety sensors included (see Safety section). A Wi-fi hotspot in included.

Power tilt and sliding moonroof. Blu Ray® rear-seat entertainment with remote controls included. Driver easy speak is very cool and makes for a happier trip. It amplifies the drivers voice through the speakers so the passengers in the third row can hear more easily. Detail, detail, detail.

Check out this quick, well explained video about Entuned 3.0 showing how users can change the layout out the screen, update the color combination and other options for a customized use.

Dual power sliding doors on either side of vehicle for easy entry. Power liftgate for easy access. The 7" hi-res touch screen, AM/FM/HD, CD/DVD, and Sirius XM Radio with a 3-month trial, Integrated back-up camera. 4.2" TFT multiscreen display monitor. USB, AUX and a full tank of gas.
The latest Sienna minivan comes in five main trim levels: L, LE, SE, XLE and Ltd. The standard equipment includes 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" touchscreen, 6-speaker sound system with CD player, media player interface and auxiliary audio jack.

Toyota Safety Sense includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic headlights.

There's roof rails, power-sliding rear doors, privacy glass, heated mirrors, an 8-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.

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. Add in 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, and 19" wheels.
Aesthetics & Styling
The interior layout of the vehicle is well done. The ability for the seats to re-configure and for an 8th passenger seat to be included is smart. Lots of things are about this vehicle are. However, it would surprise very few that Toyota, a leader in sedans, hybrids and C/SUV's, is falling off into 4th place with the Sedona. An aged inventory and exterior look, its sales heading into September were down 23% year-to-date against LY. The Sienna has a unique front fascia (fog lights, LED daytime running lights and a mesh grille), a noise-reducing windshield and lower body skirting. Sienna has looked pretty much the same for the last eight to ten years, and now looks quite nondescript and dull next to Chrysler's hot selling Pacifica, which is full of pizzazz. Even the updated Honda Odyssey looks pretty cool now after last year's redo.

On the other hand, when it comes to the interior, there's lots of room and flexibility in the Sienna, and there is even an eighth seat stored in the back for that extra unexpected passenger.
Warranty
3 year/36,000 mile Basic, 5 year/60,000 mile Powertrain Three-year, 36,000-mile limited warranty

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