A number of years ago Toyota’s marketing department came out with a series of satirical commercials that poked fun at how inherently uncool minivans were. The hip-hop style videos showed a suburban couple that appeared to be in their mid-30s who were not embarrassed, but actually proud of their Sienna minivan, dubbed the “Swagger Wagon“. Since the commercials were first released public perception of minivans has not changed much, they are still about the least cool mode of transportation in which one could be seen, according to most people.
After spending nearly a week with the decked-out Toyota Sienna LTD with all-wheel-drive, perceptions around the office have changed. What other vehicle layout offers seating for up to eight, mileage in the twenties (the test vehicle did a 109-mile loop while averaging 22.8 mpg), cargo space up the wazoo, and sliding doors that open with the push of a button? Yes, the minivan is the pinnacle of practicality… able to cart the kiddies to recitals, handle shopping sprees at Costco without flinching, and go completely unnoticed by law enforcement.
Coming at $44,824 including delivery, our AWD top-of-the-line tester came standard with front row heated leather seats, a second row of removable captain’s chairs, and dual moon roofs, to name just a few. The only optional equipment was the cross bars on the roof rack, remote engine start, and all-season floor mats.
Upon entering the Sienna, one feels as if they’re in charge of their own mobile command unit with enough dials, buttons, and USB ports to run a television station. Despite the quantity of controls for HVAC and audio, their function and placement are intuitive. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Sienna’s interior is known as Driver Easy Speak, which amplifies the driver’s speech, allowing passengers in the back to hear.
The swagger wagon gets its so-called swagger from a 3.5L DOHC V6 and six-speed automatic. The 266 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque felt more than adequate in the driving situations we encountered around the streets of Boulder, Colorado. During one staffer’s drive, road conditions turned icy and the AWD system had a chance to show its stuff. While no wheel slippage was detected, confidence in what was happening down below was low due to the non-communicative steering wheel.
For those looking for a minivan the Sienna is a perfectly fine choice, but the sticker price of the LTD AWD model might be a tough pill to swallow… we had a Honda Odyssey during the same time that came in for about $10k less. Granted, it was a FWD model with cloth seats, but an extra $10k in your pocket can buy a lot of swagger.
We’ll be posting a video soon of the Sienna going head to head against the Odyssey. Until then, check out this video of a 2015 Sienna tearing up the track near our TFL office!
2015 Toyota Sienna LTD AWD
- 3.5L DOHC V6
- 266 hp
- 245 lb-ft of torque
- 6-speed automatic
- EPA 16/23 city/hwy mpg
- Curb weight: 4,705 lbs
- Price as-tested: $44,824 (including dest.)