The Toyota Siennaminivan for 2014 rises above the minivan mob by offering a nearly unbeatable combination of models, options, strong resale value and styling. Easily the equal of the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest, the Sienna goes a step further by offering the option of all-wheel drive (AWD), the only minivan in the U.S. to do so. The Sienna's V6 is more powerful than either the Odyssey or Quest, although the Dodge Grand Caravan is more powerful than all three, and the Odyssey trumps both the Sienna and the Quest when it comes to fuel economy. While the Sienna is roomy, its interior color choices and plastics are a bit of a letdown, especially when compared to the Quest or Town & Country.
You'll Like This Car If...
If your next minivan must have good looks, room for eight and the option of all-wheel drive (AWD), the 2014 Toyota Sienna is your first and only choice. Excellent resale value and a strong reliability record give added peace of mind.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If keeping costs low is a top priority, a better choice might be the Dodge Grand Caravan which costs nearly $7,000 less than the cheapest Sienna trim. Of course, the Dodge's resale value is nowhere near the Sienna's. Another option might be the well-equipped Kia Sedona.
The 2014 Toyota Sienna gains a Tow Prep package as part of its standard equipment list, while Toyota's Blind Spot Monitor is offered as a stand-alone option on the SE trim.
Driving the Sienna
With its 266-horsepower V6 engine at work, the 2014 Toyota Sienna minivan is surprisingly quick on its feet. Even with the optional AWD, the Sienna accelerates briskly and never feels...
... labored or short on power. The 6-speed automatic does a good job of finding and holding the right gears and when it does shift, the transition is nearly imperceptible. We found the Sienna's ride to be quite smooth, but did feel there was more road and wind noise inside than in the Honda Odyssey. With some small blind spots toward the rear of the van, we also found the Blind Spot Monitoring system a welcome addition. For those seeking a more dialed-in driving experience, the SE trim offers a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels. Both features improve handling but also result in a harsher ride and more road noise inside the cabin.
ALL-WHEEL DRIVE As the only minivan in the segment able to put power to all four wheels, this option is the one to have if you regularly find yourself driving in snowy or slick conditions.
2ND-ROW LOUNGE SEATING The pair of leather-trimmed captain's chairs available in XLE and Limited versions of the 2014 Sienna are a treat for 2nd-row passengers. In Limited models, the seats have a "long-slide" feature that makes them feel more akin to a living-room recliner complete with footrests.
2014 Toyota Sienna Details
There is plenty of room for passengers and cargo in the 2014 Toyota Sienna. The minivan can be configured with bench seats in the second and third rows in order to accommodate up to eight people total, or with captain's chairs in the second row to hold seven. Third-row passenger room is commendable but, as with the second row, legroom is less than that of the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest. Cargo capacity behind the 3rd-row seat, however, is greater than those rivals. Driver ergonomics is good, but the dash is rather bland and plastic parts are prominent.
Swoon-inducing looks usually aren't at the top of the list for minivan buyers and, while the 2014 Sienna isn't likely to change that, its sheetmetal is comfortably inoffensive. The Sienna has a mildly athletic, forward-leaning stance. A svelte beltline runs the length of each side, effectively splitting the vehicle and preventing it from looking bloated. SE models, which aim to be sportier, sit a bit lower and ride on bigger, 19-inch wheels. The Sienna SE also features smoked taillights and, for a visually lower stance, side skirting.
A base 2014 Toyota Sienna minivan comes with 3-zone air conditioning, AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary jack and four speakers, cruise control, keyless entry and eight cup holders (six on 7-passenger models). The standard Star Safety System includes stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist and Toyota's Smart Stop Technology, which helps halt the vehicle even if the accelerator is depressed. LE models add dual power-sliding doors and tri-zone automatic climate control. SE models have larger wheels and sport-tuned suspension. XLE models add leather seats and power liftgate, and top-line Limited trims have blind-spot monitoring, dual moonroofs and a 10-speaker JBL premium sound system.
Two navigation systems are available on the Toyota Sienna. One is an older-style, DVD-based version with integrated rearview camera and 7-inch screen, and the other is Toyota's Entune system, available on LE, SE and XLE trims. Entune uses a smaller, 6.1-inch screen, but it has upgraded voice recognition and the ability to run mobile apps that can provide information on movie times, fuel prices and restaurants. Other options include all-wheel drive, a 16.4-inch display for entertaining rear passengers, blind-spot monitoring, dynamic-cruise control and high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Toyota Sienna comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes a robust 266 horsepower and delivers up to 25 mpg. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with AWD optional. The only transmission is a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. The 2014 Sienna's towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
A base, 2014 Toyota Sienna L has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just shy of $28,000. On the other end of the Sienna spectrum, a fully loaded all-wheel-drive Limited model can run past $50,000. The Sienna's base price is lower than that of a Honda Odyssey or Chrysler Town & Country, nearly the same as a Nissan Quest but higher than a Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others are actually paying for the 2014 Sienna in your area. Down the road, the Toyota Sienna is expected to be the leader of the pack in terms of resale value.
"I've added aftermarket remote start to this vehicle which has made it invaluable to our family. Being able to start the car and open the doors from the house, so the girls can climb in and start getting buckled is perfect. The car is comfortable and has proven great for road trips."