2014 Toyota Sienna Review
A wagon that needs more swagger.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: May 27th, 2014
Note to Toyota marketers: If you're going to dub your minivan the swagger wagon, give it some, you know, actual swagger.
Yes, the 3.5-liter V-6 packs surprising punch, and the styling is sort of aggressive. Maybe that was enough "swagger" for the marketers. But not for us.
Not that it matters. Minivan buyers don't want swagger, they want lots of cupholders for sodas and sippy cups, and places to put bags and backpacks, and surfaces that anchor all the random crap that people-haulers accumulate.
They also want a van that's easy for passengers ingress and egress, and roomy enough for those passengers to be comfortable, and a ride that makes getting from point A to point B less taxing.
On those points, the Sienna does much better. But being the "comfy" wagon isn't sexy. So Toyota might be marketing the Sienna to the wrong crowd, it seems.
On the Road
As mentioned above, the 266-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 has gumption. Need to pass? No worries, the Sienna has your back. Merging never makes you nervous, either.
Unfortunately for any would-be Aryton Sennas in a Sienna, the steering undercuts the promise of the engine. It's as distant as Jay-Z and Solange are now, and just as uncommunicative. It's light to the touch and way too overboosted. That might make interstate cruising easier, but it removes driver involvement from the equation.
Soft of steering, soft of ride is the Sienna. At least when it comes to ride, however, the suspension is tuned better than the steering. It's as cushy soft as it can get without falling into outright float or wallow, and long drives pass with ease.
We probably needn't tell you the brakes could use more bite, but we'll do so anyway.
It's not as sporty as the Honda Odyssey, one of its main rivals, but we suspect Sienna buyers won't mind.
Toyota tried to make a bold statement with this van, and it kind of works. Kind of. The grille is aggressive and stout, but it doesn't make the Sienna look any cooler than the standard minivan. Nor does the wide lower front fascia.
It's as slab-sided as anything else in the class, and while it may look a little more "masculine" than, say, the rounded Nissan Quest, it's still a minivan. There's only so much designers can do with that body style.
It's bland and boring, but it works. There's storage everywhere, including a deep center console, six cupholders within reach of the driver, grippy storage surfaces on the floor in front of the center stack and on top of the console that keep cell phones and keys from flying everywhere, and easy-to-read gauges that don't tax the eyes.
There's also the requisite infotainment setup, which we found easy to use, but not so easy to reach from the driver's seat.
Leg and headroom are plentiful, as one expects from a van. Rear-seat and third-row entry for adults was also fairly easy, and raising the third row of seats still leaves a decent amount of cargo room.
If you want to think of the Sienna as a minivan version of the Camry, well, you wouldn't be wrong. Like the Camry, it's comfortable, roomy, has a decently-powered V-6, and steering that completely removes the driver from the driving.
That said, it has a lot going for it. It's a value compared to the Honda Odyssey, it does what minivans are supposed to do well, and it has Toyota's reputation for reliability behind it.
It's very likeable if you like your minivan without any extra flavor. If you want spice, you'll pick the Odyssey for sportiness or the Nissan Quest for looks. For everything else, the Sienna is hard to beat.
That, more than performance alone, gives it swagger.
Specs, Features, & Prices
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive
Power Output: 266 hp / 245 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 16 mpg city /23 mpg highway
Base Price: $36,185
Available Features: Bluetooth, USB port, infotainment system, dual power sliding doors, heated front seats, overhead console.
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2014 Toyota Sienna, click here: 2014 Toyota Sienna.