Whether you’re hauling your kids to soccer practice, taking a cross-country road trip, or towing a trailer, the Toyota Sienna is up for the job. Sure, it may not have the performance of today’s supercars, but can you fit 50 pounds of sports gear and four kids in Porsche Carrera? The answer is no. 

The Toyota Sienna – Versatility, Efficiency, And Maximum Cargo Space In One Package 

The Toyota Sienna is a minivan produced by Toyota, and it features three rows of seating, a front-engine layout with front-wheel drive (AWD available on some models), an automatic transmission on all models, and plenty of space for the whole family. Not only that, but the powerful V6 engine of the Sienna allows it to be used for light-duty towing, as well as hauling cargo on a roof rack.

Thanks to its ubiquitousness in America and abroad, and its reputation for convenience, reliability and efficiency – as well as the fact that the first generation shared its platform with the Camry – it’s been nicknamed the “Camry of minivans.” It’s one of the most popular minivans on the market today, competing with others like the Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Pacifica.

The History Of The Toyota Sienna

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The Toyota Sienna first saw production in 1997, when it was introduced to replace the aging and outdated Toyota Previa minivan, which had been built by Toyota since 1999. The Previa, which had a mid-engine layout, was seriously limited when it came to power, and despite attempts by Toyota to boost its performance with a supercharger, was unpopular in America.

To replace the Previa, the front-engined, made-in-America Sienna was introduced. The first-generation Sienna was based on the platform of the Camry, and was relatively small compared to the competition.

However, its increased power and great safety features, like front seat-mounted side torso airbags and Vehicle Stability Control, as well as Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) made it one of the safest vans on the market, and helped popularize the Sienna. 

By the second generation, the Sienna had its dimensions expanded, and offered the same amount of interior room as its competitors. In the two decades since it was introduced in 1997, the Sienna has become one of the most popular minivans on the market. 

The Toyota Sienna Includes Features And Technology For Growing Families 

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What made the first-generation Sienna notable was its safety features, as well as its industry-leading fuel economy. The Sienna had best-in-class fuel efficiency of 16 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway. To achieve this, it used a Variable Valve Timing (VVT) engine. Other improvements the first-generation Sienna had included mid-row “captains chairs,” and a driver’s side sliding door and roof rack. 

As time went on, the Toyota Sienna continued to add more features to make it more convenient and safe for families. Features like fold-flat seating were introduced with the second generation, while All-Wheel Drive (AWD) was introduced starting in the third generation of Toyota Sienna.

 A History Of Toyota Sienna Models

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Since its introduction, Toyota has made three generations of Sienna, each of which has also received a few mid-cycle refreshes during production.

  • XL10 (1997-2002) – The first-generation XL10 was smaller than competing minivans, and came in CE, LE, and XLE trim levels. Notable features included a roof rack and sliding doors on the LE and XLE trims, as well as an IIHS rating of “Good” in all frontal crash tests, which was much better than the Toyota Previa, which the Sienna replaced.
  • XL20 (2003-2009) – The XL20 introduced a new V6 engine and 5-speed automatic transmission, and 60/40 folding seats that increased interior cargo volume by 45%. Other notable options on the XL20 include AWD, as well as parking sensors, dynamic cruise control, and a backup camera. The vehicle had a towing capacity of 3,500lbs.
  • XL30 (2010-present) – The current generation of Toyota Sienna is available in 5 distinct trims, and has both an I4 engine and V6 engine available, and replaces the hydraulic steering system with an electronic power steering system. Other features include a Smart Key system with push button start, a pre-collision system (PCS) and automatic high beam dimmers. 

The Toyota Sienna In The News

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Recently, Toyota settled in a lawsuit involving malfunctioning sliding doors, which could open up when driving. Toyota also made news when it announced a partnership with Uber, which would equip some Sienna minivans with autonomous driving technology by 2021. Another notable news story showed that the Toyota Sienna has one of the highest 15-year ownership rates, with 16.1% of owners keeping their Sienna for more than 15 years. 

Celebrity Endorsements Of The Toyota Sienna 

Mark Wahlberg is probably the most well-known owner of a Toyota Sienna. The Hollywood star has mentioned his van multiple times in interviews, which has special rims, tinted windows, and a custom DirecTV setup to help keep his kids entertained during longer trips. It’s refreshing to see a Hollywood star driving a car that most of us can actually afford – and in Wahlberg’s case, it makes sense to haul the kids around in a van, instead of trying to fit them into a tiny sports car! 

The Most Popular Toyota Sienna Groups 

There are a few great groups for Toyota Sienna owners who are interested in meeting up with other owners both online and in person, and these include Toyota Sienna Forum, the Sienna Subforum of the popular Toyota Nation forum, and the Toyota Sienna Owners Club on Facebook.

The Toyota Sienna Excels At Its Purpose – Transporting The Family 

Sure, you won’t beat supercars off of the line at a stoplight with a Toyota Sienna. But what it does – hauling your family and all of your stuff around in a convenient package – it does very well. And that’s why it’s been a top seller for more than 2 decades, since it was introduced to replace the Previa.