There’s a Refreshed Sienna Coming for 2018
Minivan sales in the U.S. are sliding, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from introducing new models with excellent performance, safety, and features. Toyota’s bringing a refreshed Sienna out for 2018, with a new look and standard safety features that would have cost thousands on the 2017 Toyota Sienna.
The 2018 Sienna’s new look offers a large lower grille opening that bears a family resemblance with the upcoming 2018 Toyota Camry. It’s expected in dealers this fall.
Visit the following slides where we explain what’s new with the 2018 Sienna, what features remain the same, and how competition in the minivan segment is changing.
The Current Model Is the Top-Selling Minivan in the U.S.
Despite soldiering on with a basic layout that is seven years old, the Sienna was the top-selling minivan in the U.S. for both the 2015 and 2016 calendar years, according to automotive sales research website GoodCarBadCar.net. So far, in 2017 it barely beats the new Chrysler Pacifica, but lags behind the ancient Dodge Grand Caravan by a significant margin.
The Sienna’s had a couple of refreshes along the way, but it’s still the same basic van that hit the streets in 2010. The current Sienna scores a spot in the middle of the pack in our rankings of minivans, but the refreshed model addresses a couple of the Sienna’s few shortcomings
It’s a Mild Refresh for 2018
As far as redesigns go, the 2018 Toyota Sienna’s is pretty mild. The 2018 rides on the same platform as the 2017, with dimensions and an interior layout that appear to be mostly the same. Buyers can outfit the Sienna for eight, or seven with second-row captain's chairs.
The current Sienna has class-leading cargo space when the second row is removed, and the third is stowed. Unlike the Pacifica and Grand Caravan that have second-row seats that fold into the floor, you have to remove the second row to maximize cargo space in the Sienna.
In terms of historical predicted reliability ratings, the Sienna does very well. Given that the 2018 will ride on the same platform, with the same powertrain as the 2017, it's probably a safe bet that those ratings won’t shift too much (although past performance doesn’t guarantee future success). Sienna values have also held up very well compared to most peers, so there’s a good chance you’ll get a high return at trade-in time.
Advanced Safety Features Come Standard
The biggest news with the 2018 Sienna is that it will come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of safety and driver assistance features. Toyota has been more aggressive than most other non-luxury brands in rolling advanced safety gear into many of their cars as standard equipment.
Standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control that works at all speeds, lane departure warning with steering assist to ensure that you stay between the lane markers, and automatic high-beam headlights that sense oncoming traffic and dim to avoid blinding other drivers.
All 2018 Siennas come standard with the latest version of Toyota’s Entune infotainment interface. A navigation system that uses an app on your smartphone (and your phone’s data plan) will be included with all models, though top trims will feature an advanced mapping system that doesn’t rely on your phone’s data stream.
Upper trim levels are equipped with a 4G LTE data connection that can provide a Wi-Fi hot-spot for up to five mobile devices. The 2018 Sienna can be outfitted with a nine-speaker JBL audio system that features a 10.1-inch subwoofer. There are five USB ports spread through the 2018 Sienna's interior, and they provide charging for devices in all three rows of the minivan.
An updated rear seat entertainment system will allow Android users to stream content from their devices. What you won’t get on the Sienna (or any other Toyota product) is support for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
It’s Still the Only Minivan With All-Wheel Drive
The Sienna has one feature that no other minivan currently sold has – all-wheel drive. On the current generation it is available on several trim levels. Toyota has not announced what trim levels will be available with all-wheel drive on the 2018 model.
All-wheel drive on the Sienna gives families a comfortable, easy-to-drive, and efficient minivan alternative to 3-row SUVs. Note that when you opt for all-wheel drive, seating is limited to seven passengers on the current model. No announcement has been made as to whether an eight-passenger all-wheel drive model will be offered for 2018.
There’s Plenty of Power
For the 2017 model year, Toyota amped up the power in the Sienna by 30 horsepower to a class-leading 296 horsepower. They paired the new engine to an also-new eight-speed automatic transmission. That potent powertrain carries over into the 2018 Sienna.
Along with that power comes some of the best fuel efficiency ratings in the class. The 2017 Sienna earns EPA-estimates of 19 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway, and buyers should expect the refreshed model to at least meet those numbers.
As Luxurious as You Want
You can equip the Sienna with enough comfort and convenience features that it will rival the interior opulence of cars from Toyota’s Lexus luxury division. The 2018 Toyota Sienna Limited will feature a laminated windshield and front-row side-window glass to keep the cabin whisper quiet.
Upper trim-level Siennas feature leather seating surfaces, push-button start, rear-seat entertainment systems, wood-grain accents, and high-intensity discharge headlights.
Sporty SE Available
Toyota is the only minivan maker to offer a sporty edition of their van. The Sienna SE will return as a 2018 model, with a distinctive look that includes different front fascias, grilles, and taillight motifs. Its suspension is firmer than the standard Sienna, which controls body roll when cornering.
The aerodynamic side skirts that were exclusive to the SE model for 2017 will be included on all Sienna’s for 2018. Toyota engineers have worked to improve refinement of the Sienna SE’s cabin by including a laminated windshield for noise control among other noise, vibration, and harshness controls.
It’s in a Tough Segment
The minivan segment has been competitive since Chrysler rolled out their first model in 1984. The past couple of years has seen renewed competition with the arrival of the much-improved Kia Sedona and the well-received Chrysler Pacifica. The redesigned 2018 Honda Odyssey arrives late this spring.
When it comes to efficiency, no one in the minivan segment can match the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The plug-in model can travel up to 33 miles on electricity alone, before the gasoline engine kicks in. For many families, the electric range is enough for daily commuting so that the van will burn a tiny amount of gas.
More Buying Tools From U.S. News & World Report
If you’re considering a van, you should explore our rankings of minivans, where you can see how each model stacks up against its rivals in terms of safety, reliability, performance, and a number of other factors. Find out if a new minivan fits into your budget with our car affordability calculator.
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