In a family cars competition such as this, the minivan is the purpose-built winner. There are few reasons for owning one other than to raise a family and transport small human beings who don't drive. And as Leo Tolstoy reminded us in Anna Karenina, every family is different. Our 2017 round-up of the best family cars includes the Toyota Sienna because it's a superb minivan that families of many shapes and sizes find heroic on many levels.

It's true that the 2017 Toyota Sienna isn't loaded with cutting-edge styling or technology -- one USB port for the whole vehicle, a standard minivan profile, advanced safety systems available on higher trims only -- but it's just as true that the Sienna's capabilities and quality make it a hard choice to pass up. Plus, Toyota's family hauler boasts a few class exclusives that nobody else can touch.

Choices, choices, choices

Starting at $30,690 for the base L model, the Toyota Sienna range and options can take you to a place close to $50,000 for an all-in Sienna Limited with the Advanced Technology Package, which includes smart cruise control and automatic braking capability. Most of your essential comfort and convenience features, from push-button start to leather and a 10-speaker audio system, can be achieved by climbing the Sienna's trim/price ladder.

The Toyota Sienna's deal-closer when you're shopping minivans is whether you must have all-wheel drive. If you live in an area where roads can get a bit slick because of snow or ice, the Sienna is a no-brainer -- it's the only minivan available with all four wheels reaching for grip. And that's not the only ace up its sleeve. Passengers who need entry/exit assistance can buy a Sienna with a factory-installed, power-operated Auto Access Seat that lowers the second-row passenger seat to street level.

Vroom plus value

As a boost before an all-new Sienna comes out next year, Toyota brought in a more powerful V6 engine and paired it with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This year's 3.5-liter V6 leads the field with 296 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque -- more than enough to pull a minivan full of passengers and equipment up any hill. Bonus time: This powerful engine's smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic also improves the Sienna's fuel economy over last year, bringing home EPA ratings of 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive models, and 18/24 mpg in all-wheel-drive form.

Economy at the gas pump is just the start of the Sienna's value story, however. Toyota's family van also boasts its name on our 2017 Best Resale Value Award for minivans, thanks to exceptional long-term quality and reliability. This win marks the Sienna's fifth straight year as being the strongest at holding its value over time, better even than the similarly resilient Honda Odyssey.

Simple goodness everywhere

Roominess and comfort abound in the 2017 Toyota Sienna. This benefit is especially evident in the second row, with seats that slide to give tall adults what seems like 300-400 yards of legroom. That enlightened second-row roominess also makes it a snap to install child seats and to give the young'uns extra-easy access to the minivan's third row. Sienna roominess extends to its cargo-carrying capacity, which is excellent, and easily meets or beats the rest of the competition.

Taken as a whole, the Toyota Sienna -- available in both 7- and 8-passenger seating configurations -- continues to stand tall for 2017. Inside, nooks and crannies are found everywhere, so there's always a place to stash your stuff. Like a great minivan should be, it's a cinch to drive, with an easy ride and quiet interior -- and if you want crisper steering and ride quality, the Sienna SE models come with sportier tuning for the suspension and steering that are worth considering.

More 2017 Toyota Sienna

To learn more about the 2017 Toyota Sienna, you can read our full review. If you’re ready to take the next step, build and price your own Sienna to unlock its Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more. And if you want to keep looking around, head over to our Minivan Buyer's Guide.


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