2020 Toyota Sienna

By March 24, 2020

The Toyota Sienna minivan hasn’t changed much in a decade, and it doesn’t change at all for 2020. What makes it special is that it’s the only minivan available with all-wheel drive.

Every Sienna uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine making an impressive 296 horsepower, quite powerful for a minivan. An 8-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. It rides well and it’s spacious for passengers; with the seats removed, it can even carry sheets of plywood.

To add some sport to the lineup of seven models, there is the Sienna SE, which offers sharper handling, a firmer ride, muscular exterior styling, and 19-inch wheels and tires.

The EPA rates front-wheel-drive versions of the 2020 Sienna at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined, on regular fuel. With all-wheel drive the mileage drops 1 mpg.

The NHTSA gives the Sienna five stars overall for safety, with four stars in the side impact test and for rollover. The IIHS test gave it its top “Good” ratings in most of its crash tests, but only an “Acceptable” score for its driver-side safety in the small front-overlap test, and a “Marginal” score for that same test on the passenger side.

Model Lineup

There are seven trim levels—L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited. All but the base L model are available with all-wheel drive.

Standard equipment on the 2020 Sienna L includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay compatibility, but no Android Auto nor a Wi-Fi hotspot–they’re not available on any model. There are five USB ports, however.

The Sienna LE comes with dual power sliding doors, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, and a power driver’s seat.

The luxurious XLE adds a power passenger’s seat, leather upholstery, and a moonroof.

The Limited features a power-folding third-row bench and an innovative loudspeaker system that amplifies the driver’s voice to the second and third rows of the van.

The sporty SE slots between the LE and XLE.

Exterior

Last year there were updates to the grille, headlights and bumpers, but they didn’t change the look of the Sienna dramatically.

Different models have individual touches to the same shape, including different wheels. The sporty SE has unique bumpers with an open lower section in the front, plus clear taillights and bigger wheels. The grille in the Sienna XLE and Limited has more chrome.

Interior

The cabin of the Sienna offers comfort, space and configurability. Two years ago it got a new curvaceous dashboard, which houses a 7.0-inch touchscreen. Higher trim levels have a 4.2-inch screen in the gauge cluster for additional information such as fuel economy.
The 2020 Toyota Sienna is 200 inches long, giving it lots of room inside to work with. Its sliding doors open to 164.4 cubic feet of versatile interior space, a very big number. There’s seating for eight, or seven with the optional second-row captain’s chairs. The seats can be removed to turn the Sienna into a cargo van, but it’s not easy. The Sienna’s second-row seats don’t stow away in the floor like those in the Chrysler Pacifica.

In the Limited, the captain’s chairs recline and feature footrests and leg cushions. The cabin is comfortable and refined.

A power-folding third-row bench is standard on higher trims; it’s big enough to fit adults comfortably. It’s split 50/50, allowing versatility. When it’s folded flat, the Sienna offers
118 cubic feet of cargo space.
But maybe what’s most useful is the huge space behind the third row, measuring 39.1 cubic feet, room enough for duffel bags, backpacks, boxes, whatever. Few vehicles offer that kind of room for cargo while seating eight people.
Family-friendly features include a loudspeaker that projects the driver’s voice to the back seats, and an available Blu-ray player to keep them occupied.

Driving Impressions

The powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine is teamed with a well-behaved 8-speed automatic transmission. With 296 horsepower, the engine delivers smooth, quiet acceleration. The transmission is programmed to upshift early, to keep the engine speeds low and improve fuel economy. Its easy shifts fit the Sienna’s relaxed character.
Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available with six of the Sienna’s seven models.
The steering is light and accurate. The thick steering wheel and gated shifter seem to be an attempt at sport that the van doesn’t need.
The Sienna SE is the sporty one. It handles and holds the road better, although its ride is a bit stiff; it isn’t rough or uncomfortable though.

Final Word

The 2020 Toyota Sienna is the only game in town, if it’s an all-wheel-drive minivan you need, and doesn’t every big family who lives where it rains and snows need one of those? It has a great powertrain, a nice ride, a relatively roomy third row, and with some effort can become a cargo van.

 

—By Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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