Before families flocked to utilities, the minivan was the staple for unmatched practicality. Those basic needs still exist, and the 2018 Toyota Sienna meets them… with a mild overhaul that goes beyond a new front fascia. 

The Sienna arrived for 1998… replacing the Previa. This third generation is now in its seventh year. That’s a long time in the auto business… but there have been advances along the way. 

2017 brought a new powertrain… a 296-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and an 8-speed automatic. Acceleration is strong, shifts are easy and fluid. The front wheels do the work, but the Sienna remains the only minivan offering all-wheel drive. 

The suspension is Macpherson struts up front, and torsion beam in the rear. The SE trim adds what Toyota says is a sport-tuned suspension.

“Now a mini-van probably would not be your first choice for a drive on your favorite back road. But at some point your family journeys will take you through some curves. In those situations, the Sienna SE Premium we’re in right now is certainly stable, it’s firmer than you might expect… while offering a smooth ride.”

JOHN DAVIS: Inside there’s naturally plenty of space… and better tech. Toyota Safety Sense P is standard… including Brake Assist. The upgraded Entune multimedia system becomes more connected the further up the line-up. 

Yes, utilities rule… but there‘s still a need for minivans. The 2018 Toyota Sienna proves roominess can also be comfortable and capable. Pricing starts at under $31,000.


  • Engine: 3.5 liter
  • Horsepower: 296
  • Price: Starts under $31,000