2018 Toyota Sienna: An Update To An Update


If you look at the current generations of minivans across the automotive industry, you’ll notice that they all are morphing into these slightly more aggressive looking machines.  Interesting trend for minivans (except for maybe the Pacifica).

I’m not sure why things are turning this way.  Maybe it’s because manufactures want more younger people in their minivans, or maybe it’s just the styling trend of the industry.  Not really sure.

As for things with the Toyota Sienna, I imagine Toyota couldn’t be happier with how things are going.  The Sienna is a top-selling Minivan in the U.S.

So the bar is set pretty high for the 2018 Toyota Sienna.  Especially since Toyota dropped a more powerful engine into the Sienna last year.

For the 2018 model year, Toyota is updating the Sienna to meet the rest of its line up.  From styling to technology, the new Sienna adopts new cues and plastic surgery to match what Toyota has been doing with their big intakes and veiny hoods.

There are new safety features in the new Sienna too which is always nice.

An important note to make here is that the new Sienna is not really a completely new generation.  It’s a redesign. An update.  Plastic surgery.

This is an interesting situation since the Pacifica, Odyssey and others in the segment are on totally new platforms. Which means the current Sienna is several years dated versus brand new competitors.

In 2017, the Sienna out-performed everyone.  So even with new mini’s out there, I think the Sienna will do well regardless.

The Specs-2018 Toyota Sienna:

Vehicle Type: Minivan
Power Plant: 3.5 L V6 
Gearbox: 7 Speed Automatic
Power: 296 HP
MPG: Not Yet Available
Torque: 263 lb-ft.
Length: Not Available
Width: Not Available
Height: Not Available
Wheelbase: Not Available
Top Speed: Not Available
Seating: Seven Adults
0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH): 7.0 Seconds (!)
Base Price: Not Yet Available

I’m going to try to forget the whole “Swagger Wagon” ad campaign that Toyota ran years ago (and recently) on the Sienna.  It’s pretty cringy.  Truly painful to say out loud.  I can’t imagine how many “cool” dads have told their kids and their friends to “hop in the swagger wagon”.

Anyway, the Sienna also offers front wheel drive and all wheel drive.  Something you don’t find on other minivans out there.

This also means that the Sienna will do a zero to sixty in seven seconds flat.  From a minivan, that’s pretty impressive.  Not to mention is has almost 300 horses.  It’s not quite the Mercedes R63, but I love it.

In 2017 we saw Toyota fit every Sienna with automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, and lane-keep assist.  Standard.  You have to pay a $5,000 premium to get that on a Mercedes. “The Swagger Wagon” isn’t sounding too ridiculous now, is it?

Now we can look into the 2018 Toyota Sienna.  A refreshing update to an undeniably aging minivan.  You can see its age showing a bit in some places, and we’ll see where.

The Exterior-2018 Toyota Sienna:

2018 toyota sienna exterior


At first glance you can see the differences from the old Toyota Sienna to the new one.  A stronger face, sleeker lines and veins are new here and pretty instantly noticeable.

Beyond that, there really aren’t any vast differences.  It’s all in the face.

The new 2018 Sienna is even less of a redesign.  Even less than a makeover.  They pretty much just changed the front end.

Like I said before, the Sienna was the top selling minivan on this side of the water so you can’t really shame them for not changing much.  If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

But it’s a delicate balance because you want to keep things fresh for customers.  But at the same time it’s a working formula.  So this is how Toyota handled it.

The front end on the old-styled Sienna was pretty dated by any standard.  The old large mesh grilles look very 2008 to me, rather than 2017.  So, they changed that for 2018.

In comes that massive front intake/grille that we see on the new Camry and Corolla.

The new Toyota Sienna‘s massive mouth is complimented by the proportionately tiny Toyota badge.

The upper grille is kind of cool looking.  It’s size actually makes sense and the way the veins on the hood fall into the shape of the badge looks great.  Plus the little wings that extend from the Toyota badge and into the headlights is very cool.

Toyota made the headlights a bit more slender and smaller overall.  It’s a more updated look.

I think that the face of the 2018 Toyota Sienna is a bit more aggressive and assertive than it really needs to be.  In the end it is mini van and trying to make it more sporty than it is, is a mistake.

To clear up any confusion I don’t think they over did it but it’s getting close.  Dangerous territory.

Like I touched on before, the new Toyota Sienna is mostly a light redesign.  The side and back of the minivan are pretty much the same as we saw in 2017.

This is where I think things kind of come apart for the 2018 Toyota Sienna.  From the side view and back view the Sienna looks dated.  It looks like the new front end has been tacked on to the 2017 model.

The body is absolutely massive (looking).  Even though the new Sienna is oddly quick, it really looks like the rear wheels are under a lot of body work.

If they wanted the sporty appeal that the front kind of eludes toward, I’d expect something like we see on the new Odyssey.  A much slimmer look.

In the back, things aren’t much different.  It isn’t an ugly design, but it is aging.  Competitors to the Sienna take their design a bit more seriously here.  But again this really is a seven year old design.

Overall I think that the new 2018 Toyota Sienna is a looker, maybe more than its own good.  But it’s exactly what you’d expect from a refreshed model.  Not a full redesign.

The Interior-2018 Toyota Sienna:

2018 Toyota Sienna Interior

Toyota didn’t do much in here.  You get largely the same interior as you get in the 2017 model for the 2018 model.

The layout on the interior is all based about comfort as it should be.

The dashboard is getting to be dated in appearance, but it is still perfectly functional.

I think the key to remember is how much technology comes standard in the new Sienna as I said before.  Even if the interior is a bit old looking compared to competitors, the standard technology is probably the best.  If not the best, it’s extremely well equipped.

Standard in the Sienna you get adaptive cruise control, emergency breaking, automatic high-beams and lane-keep assist.  All standard.

As things usually go you can get all the fake wood in the world and leather that seems pretty nice for the price point.

The center stack is pretty straight forward and I imagine there’s a very small learning curb to get used to the tech and layout, but I think the odd ball is the shifter.  It kind of sticks out awkwardly.

I know that it really does make sense where it’s at and I think it may be my critical eye, but it seems a bit awkward.

2018 toyota sienna
just a fun day at “swagger wagon”

Other than that though I can see why the Sienna is such a high seller.  The interior is very spacious, loaded with plenty of tech and is comfortable.  That’s pretty much any minivan really needs and the Sienna does it very well.

However, some materials seem cheap to the touch and unless you get the top level trims, the ride can be pretty harsh.  Also, the all-wheel-drive options have a hard time towing heavy payloads according to some reviews.

Overall the interior of the 2018 Toyota Sienna is as we’ve seen for the last few years.  technology is updated nicely but the overall interior remains.  It’s a working formula, but it seems to be lagging a bit behind competitors.

The Performance-2018 Toyota Sienna:

2018 toyota Sienna

The Sienna isn’t a performer by any means (it’s a minivan…) but it sure does pack some power that I didn’t expect.

Almost 300 horses are packed into its 3.5 V6 engine with 263 pound feet of torque.  Zero to sixty (if you’re really worried about that) is done in an impressive seven seconds.  Not bad at all.

Even with all that power in a minivan as I touched on, the Sienna struggles to pull some weight in all wheel drive form.  Towing is rated around 3,5000 pounds but just isn’t rated for all wheel drive.

Like I said, the Sienna offers both front wheel drive and all wheel drive which is pretty unique for this segment.  A welcome change especially in a state like Michigan.

Now let’s touch on cargo space.  Behind the third row seats you have 29.1 cubic feet.  Behind the second row seats, you’ll have 87.1 cubic feet. Finally behind the front row seats you’ll have a total of 150 cubic feet for use.

Fuel mileage is 24 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 in the city for the all wheel drive option.  For the front wheel drive option you’ll be getting 27 miles per gallon on the highway and 19 miles per gallon in the city.

There is plenty of equipment like a 360 degree camera, heated steering wheel, navigation and an upgraded sound system that are all available as options.

Sum It Up:

The 2018 Toyota Sienna should have no problems being a dominate force in the minivan world when sales figures come in for the 2018 model year.  Will it be the MOST dominate force?  Probably not.  But it will be a very strong competitor.

The 2018 Toyota Sienna has hit dealerships since April this year, so if you’re in the market for one of the most solid minivans out there, head to your nearest “Swagger Wagon” dealer today!

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