On The Road

New Toyota Sienna provides all-purpose family transportation

Courtesy of Toyota
The new Toyota Sienna packs nearly 300 horsepower.

For all-around practicality as transportation for a growing family, we don’t believe there is any better choice than a minivan, and among the best in terms of performance and trim is the 2019 Toyota Sienna.

What we drove: 2019 Toyota Sienna, five-door, seven-passenger minivan.

What’s under the hood: 6-cylinder, 3.5-liter engine producing 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet torque with 8-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive available).

What it comes with: Equipment in the top-of-the-line Limited Premium includes power-sliding rear doors and power-folding third-row seats, removable second-row seats, sport-tuned suspension and steering, leather upholstery on all three rows, surround-view camera and JBL Sound with rear entertainment video system. Safety equipment includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic xenon headlights.

What it costs: $48,575, as tested, including delivery fees.

What we liked: Refined ride quality with responsive steering, excellent acceleration and reasonable handling, with optional all-wheel drive. Interior space is exceptional, configurable from seven-passenger seating with easy access to rear row, even with baby seats mounted on second-row captain’s chairs, to space for 150 cubic feet of cargo with rear seats folded into floor and center seats removed.

What we would change: Better suspension engineering and improvements to stability control could improve tendency to roll on curves and avert possibility of car sickness in third-row passengers. The entertainment and interior control interface could be more intuitive. Fuel efficiency of 22 mpg in combined driving is low by today’s standards.

Bottom line: The Sienna is another example of how much minivans have improved in the past 10 years, now offering all the safety and comfort of luxury sedans while including space, access and convenience for harried parents of small children well beyond anything a crossover or SUV can offer.

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