Small Updates for the Connected Family
We came away impressed after our first test of the new third-generation 2011 Toyota Sienna. Our initial impressions were confirmed in a minivan comparison (Family (Hauler) Feud) the Sienna won against the Honda Odyssey and Grand Caravan. Despite the win, the Sienna’s sales are down slightly (62,291 units) for the first half of 2014 compared to the slightly refreshed 2014 Honda Odyssey (63,297) as well as the Chrysler Town & Country (69,876) and Dodge Grand Caravan (72,066). With several subtle updates and a new social media introduction, the Japanese automaker hopes the updated 2015 Toyota Sienna will capture the modern connected family’s attention.
Though subtle, exterior changes give the 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan a more purposeful look. Up front, the existing headlight housings get revised lighting details. LED headlights and daytime running lights are available. The front grille’s horizontal slats are replaced with a new hexagonal mesh insert, while the lower front fascia has more aggressive lines and a black insert above the lower air intake. The foglight housings are also more pronounced. Along the side, the 2015 Sienna’s bodylines have deeper creases. Like the headlights, the taillights are updated with new detailing and LED lighting behind clear lenses.
Inside, the 2015 Toyota Sienna gets a more upscale interior with more soft-touch material throughout. Black leather with contrasting white stitching is available. An optional 4.2-inch color screen mounted in the redesigned instrument cluster can display turn-by-turn navigation instructions. An optional 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with capacitive switches can be customized to display your favorite features on the home screen. Other available features include navigation, a Dual-View Blu-ray rear seat entertainment system, a conversation mirror — aka a child spy mirror, and a Driver Easy Speak feature that allows front passengers to speak via a built-in microphone to rear seat passengers through the rear speakers instead of yelling backward.
As before, the 2015 Toyota Sienna includes eight airbags, which the automaker claims to be the most in the minivan segment. This year, the panoramic rearview camera with virtual guidelines becomes standard. With four LATCH locations, installing child seats is said to be easier than before.
A 266-hp 3.5-liter V-6 with 245 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission remains the 2015 Sienna’s sole powerplant. Front-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is optional. EPA-rated fuel economy wasn’t revealed, but we don’t expect it to change much from the current model’s 18/25 mpg city/highway and 16/23 mpg for the front-drive and all-wheel-drive models, respectively. Toyota says the 2015 Sienna’s handling has improved, but didn’t specify the revisions.
Toyota hopes updates to the 2015 Toyota Sienna will boost sales in the highly competitive minivan segment. Only time will tell whether the revisions are enough to compete with the Honda Odyssey’s available Cool Box and built-in HondaVac and Chrysler’s minivans’ Stow & Go storage feature.