Test Drive column: 2020 Toyota Sienna AWD Minivan
Entry price: $31,640
Price as tested: $52,381
This week we’re reviewing the 2020 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium AWD minivan, still the only minivan in America that offers all-wheel-drive (AWD) mechanicals. Notable this year is that come 2021, Sienna will no longer offer any V6 engines as all new Sienna minivans will be of the four-cylinder hybrid variety.
Noted for its roomy and plush amenities, Sienna is hands down one of the better minivans available in what is now a shrinking consumer category. This comes as emphasis these days on multi-row and larger SUVs is still highly popular; it’s the minivan name that has become unpopular.
So, to clear up what really isn’t a build theory problem, the large SUV/Crossover that offers three rows is still a minivan in concept, they just don’t want to call it by that name anymore.
Built in Princeton, Indiana, the 2020 Sienna is in the last year of its third generation, with a fourth generation 2021 version ready to appear at dealer showrooms later this year. This means Sienna shoppers will have a 2020 to consider at discounted prices as the year moves on. The biggest change will be that all 2021 Sienna models will be hybrids powered by a 2.5 liter four-cylinder hybrid/electric powertrain. Toyota indicates it will still be able to tow the same weight as the 2020 gasoline model at 3,500 pounds. Thus, if you want the gas-powered V6 engine, now is the time to buy 2020 Sienna.
And speaking of engines, all of the 2020 Sienna family comes powered by a 3.5 liter V6 design that produces 296 horses and 263 lb. ft. of torque. In addition to good acceleration and passing performance, fuel mileage is very good for a near two-ton vehicle, coming in at 19 city and 27 highway for the front drive models while the AWD Sienna still delivers a good 18 city and 24 highway. The V6s better fuel mileage comes thanks to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission that replaced the six-speed automatic a few years ago.
Although we drove the top line Limited Premium AWD that starts at $49,415, not all Sienna’s cost $50K-plus. The entry level and well equipped “L” base model starts at just $31,640 with that powerful V6 engine and seating that can accommodate eight passengers awaiting your inspection.
The Limited Premium trim is pretty much fully loaded with upscale standard features. Included are dual power sliding doors with child protect, power driver and passenger captain chairs with lumbar, heated seats, smart key with push button start, dual moonroof (very nice) electro rear view mirror, Apple CarPlay with Amazon Alexa feature, Homelink, multi info display, tri-zone climate control, beautiful two-tone leather, second row Captain chairs, Premium Audio with 10 JBL speakers, Dynamic Navigation, CD Player, Entune App Suite, MP3, five USB ports, iPod and Siri connections, auxiliary jack, SiriusXM satellite, ambient interior lighting, upgraded instrumentation and much more.
The AWD system is an active torque command traction system that reduces EPA numbers versus a 2WD Limited as mentioned above. The AWD system features an active Torque Control that allows the 18-inch all season tires on 10-spoke alloy wheels to work in unison and not allow any front end pulling to the left or right under full throttle applications.
You’ll find it easy to remove the sliding second row and then fold the third row seat into that deep floor. The result is a massive 150 cu. ft. of cargo space at your fingertips. Also notable is a special XLE trim model with Auto Access Seat starting at $43,925. This seat swings outboard and allows ease of entry for those who need assistance. (Great feature if needed, see photo). Sienna’s deep cargo area behind its third row split bench allows families who might have had to buy an attachable cargo top loader to stack suitcases behind the third row with ease.
Sienna safety is top notch as all Toyota family vehicles arrive with its respected Toyota Safety Sense system and up to three years of free emergency Safety Connect. Included are enhanced vehicle stability control, electronic brake assist with traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, multi-view Bird’s Eye backup camera, lane departure alert with steering assist, auto high beams, radar park assist and radar controlled cruise control. As for air bags, Sienna now features eight including front, side, curtain shield in all three rows and even a driver’s knee airbag. This is perhaps the best standard safety equipment offered by any manufacturer. One final safety note is rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitor, both standard on top line Limited Premium.
On the highway, all Sienna minivans handle well while the Limited Premium really delivers with all the extra amenities. The relaxing ride comes thanks to a McPherson strut front suspension with gas shocks that combines with a twist beam coil rear design for ultimate comfort and performance. All Sienna minivans deliver a great ride, good handling and quiet interior.
Our tester included a few options including $880 for upper and lower front protection film, four season reversible floor mats/liners for $438 and $473 for a deluxe cargo management package. With $1,175 added for delivery, the final retail came in at $52,381. (But remember, the entry model starts at just $31,640).
Important numbers include a 119.3 inch wheelbase, 4,750 lb. curb weight, 20-gallon fuel tank, from 39.1 to 150 cu. ft of cargo space, 3,500 lb. tow capacity, 37.4 ft. turning circle and 6.6 inch ground clearance.
Sienna is a highly recommended choice if you’re looking for three rows of passenger comfort. Visit your Toyota store for current buyer incentives as when the 2021 arrives, there won’t be any more near 300-horse V6 engines available.
Likes: AWD availability, safety, opulence, looks.
Dislikes: Pricing can get expensive quick, nothing else worth mentioning.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.