- Most significant changes: The 3.5-liter V-6 engine gets direct injection and 30 more horsepower, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the six-speed as standard on all models.
- Price change: Base prices are $900 higher on all models, and the destination charge increases $40 to $940.
- On sale: August
- Which should you buy, 2016 or 2017? 2017, which should have better acceleration and fuel economy thanks to direct injection and the new transmission.
Related: What’s the Ultimate Minivan?
Toyota’s minivan comes in a variety of flavors, with choices of seven- or eight-passenger interior configurations and front- or all-wheel drive. But the Sienna suffers from a loud, gruff V-6 engine that delivers peppy performance with a decidedly unpleasant demeanor.
The addition of direct injection and an eight-speed automatic transmission may not make the engine more refined, but at least it should deliver better performance and fuel economy. Horsepower increases by 30 to 296 and torque increases by 18 pounds-feet to 263. The 2017 EPA estimates weren’t available, but any improvement would be welcome over the 2016 EPA estimates of 18/25/21 mpg for city/highway/combined with front drive and 16/23/19 mpg with all-wheel drive.
The Sienna’s roomy interior has a spacious second row and ample cargo space (up to 87.1 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded). However, resetting the third row seats for passengers is a wrestling match. The van is also unique among minivans in offering all-wheel drive, making it a good choice in the Snow Belt, where it can match the traction capabilities of many SUVs while exceeding them in interior space and flexibility.