Minivans like the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE tend to get the cold shoulder from driving enthusiasts, journalists, fanboys and those who feel that minivans represent passionless driving. The reality is: no vehicle is better at transporting passengers as comfortably as a minivan. Sure, they are big boxes and look somewhat ungainly; there is a bit of wiggle-room for a hint of fun.
Five years ago, a Toyota representative handed us the keys to a Toyota Sienna SE at High Planes Raceway (right here in Colorado) to take a few hot laps in. I thought he was nuts, but away we went and it was surprisingly stable on all but the sharpest turns. Five years on, Toyota has handed us a set of keys to a 2015 Toyota Sienna SE and we simply had to take it to the track.
We recently reviewed the 2014 Toyota Sienna LE – you can see it (here).
Like all of the Toyota Siennas, the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE has a 266 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 that produces 245 pound-feet of torque. It’s hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission feeding the front wheels. An all-wheel drive (AWD) Sienna is available (Toyota is the only automaker in North America to offer AWD), but not in the SE trim. The 2015 Toyota Sienna SE can get 21 mpg combined.
What makes the SE different is it’s packaging. Internally, most surfaces have been updated and improved. Unlike last year’s model, the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE (and all Siennas) has better textures and a much more user-friendly infotainment system. Seats are pretty comfortable and the front seats are perforated too. You can get an eighth seat into the Sienna, but it’s for demure derrieres only.
Externally, the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE has painted, painted 19-inch wheels, LED running lights, aggressive front f
ascia, lower body cladding/skirts and a more aggressive stance thanks to the beefed up suspension. Sure, it’s no Lexus RC – it does have a hint of street presence.
More importantly, that sport-tuned suspension helps keep the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE very stable in the corners. Seriously.
This van changes direction (fairly) quickly. Steering feel is not there, but the sport-tuned steering has an excellent weight to it with ideal resistance. Power is great out of the corner, but when you push it too hard, traction-control will intervene angrily. Still, it shifts its load well and the bakes are quite good. Remember: this performance is based on what a regular minivan will do.
Check out this video and bask in the glory of the (kind-a fun) minivan!