2017 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium – Minivan in Need of a Mini Makeover

When the Toyota Sienna came out in 1997, it was the height of the minivan craze in the US. Families flocked to the people-carrier vehicles as a way to haul kids around more easily. The sliding rear doors and three rows of seats made it a snap to pick up your kids, their friends and anyone else who happened to wander into the car. As SUV’s got more and more popular, some players dropped out of the minivan market as their popularity waned. A few key players, including Chrysler, who essentially created the genre, and Honda and Toyota have remained loyal to the platform, and its customers have repaid them with repeat business. Having bowed out in 2010, however, this current Toyota Sienna is really feeling a bit past its prime in the current market. Let’s take a look and see why. First of all, the powertrain is a fairly standard V6 3.5-Liter which makes 296hp, but is fairly uninspiring to drive. At a time when other competitors offer plug-in hybrid versions or more engaging powertrains, this really feels like a dated powerplant. Mated to an 8-speed automatic, you’d hope that it would feel like it was in the right gear most of the time, but it’s always in too high of a gear for the situation and takes way too long to downshift when prodded. Overall, it just feels laggy and disengaged. Technology is suffering on the inside as well, and despite some very convenient 110-Volt wall outlets throughout, there’s a lack of USB ports – especially for the rear seat rows, where you’d want to be able to stream from your phones to the DVD entertainment system. In fact, DVD’s are about all you can do on the screens, as there is no way to cast from your mobile device. It’s a huge oversight, when some other competitors have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi casting and even built-in games and apps in its entertainment systems. This will be rectified, somewhat, for 2018 with the addition of some streaming capabilities, but Toyota feels really behind. Read more at www.mychinews.com/cars/2017-toyota-sienna-limited