Minivans have gotten a bad rap. Many people believe that buying a minivan will signal the end of their lives. No longer will they be considered cool, trendy, or young. A minivan sentences them to a life of suburban domestication filled with weekend soccer games, dinners at chain restaurants, and endless Disney movies (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
I resisted minivans for many years, but I’ve come to appreciate the interior room (I have a family of five), storage, safety features, and creature comforts of my Sienna. I appreciated it even more after racing a Sienna around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Over the past few years, Toyota has done a lot to improve the image of minivans. Their “Swagger Wagon” campaign positioned the Sienna as a practical vehicle that let your maintain your swag while performing you parental duties. Toyota has also done a lot to update the styling of the minivan. The 2015 Sienna SE is the sportiest option in the Sienna line-up and will probably be the most appealing option for dads who want a little more flair. The SE is more aggressively designed with 19-inch alloy wheels, restyled front grille, updated headlights and taillights, and lower-body skirting. The SE Premium adds a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, blind-spot and rear-cross-traffic warning systems, a navigation system, a rear-seat entertainment system, and the Driver Easy Speak system, which broadcasts the driver’s voice through the rear speakers (I love this feature because I can say “Don’t make me come back there,” without having to raise my voice or turn my head around).
Now, let me be clear. The Toyota Sienna is not the sleekest or most stylish vehicle on the road. It’s not even the most stylish minivan on the road. It’s a box on wheels. Where the Sienna stands out is in its ability to haul your family and stuff safely and comfortably.
The 2015 Sienna SE comes in seven or eight passenger configurations. Both configurations offer plush seats and abundant storage space. The eight passenger version comes with a 40/20/40-split second row bench with a removable center section. The seven passenger Sienna offers second row captain chairs that can be removed for additional storage.
One thing I dislike about the Sienna is the dashboard configuration. It simply isn’t as intuitive as other brands’. I really dislike the placement of the shifter on the dash. I understand that Toyota did it to offer more center console space and cup holders, but the placement is awkward and uncomfortable.
The 2015 Toyota Sienna comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 266 horsepower. Of course, I had to do a 0-60 test. In my very unscientific test, the van clocked in around 8 seconds, almost twice the amount of time it takes the Lexus RC (I understand that this isn’t an apples to apples comparison, but it puts the numbers in perspective). Whereas speed is not the Sienna’s strong suit, it does rate well in fuel efficiency- 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway). The vehicle also offers car-like handling (some people call it the Camry of minivans). The SE has a sportier suspension tuning which makes it a little more nimble.
For many years, the Toyota Sienna has been the #1 or #2 minivan in America. The 2015 Sienna SE will continue this traditional. With it’s improve styling, technology, fuel economy, and passenger room, the 2015 Sienna SE is a great vehicle for families.