The 2018 Toyota Sienna minivan has a new face for an old idea this year.
Last year, the Sienna’s upgrades were largely confined to spaces you couldn’t see: a new engine and transmission. This year’s upgrades are all about what we can see: a new front bumper, side panels, an updated infotainment system, more USB ports, a new rear-seat entertainment system, and standard safety gear.
We’ve rated the 2018 Sienna a 6.2 out of 10, a decent score that reflects its continual updates over the years. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
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For family buyers, the Toyota Sienna now includes a comprehensive suite of advanced safety features, which it calls Toyota Safety Sense-P, as standard equipment on every trim level. The package bundles adaptive cruise control, active lane control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams. Other automakers offer the same features on their minivans, but many charge extra for the bundle—Toyota’s is standard on every trim.
Up front, it’s had not to notice the Sienna’s expanding maw. Designers dropped the front bumper lower and made it wider to give the van a more aggressive look. Side panels that were reserved for sportier SE models last year are now standard equipment on all grades this year, and bigger fog light housings and a furrowed hood will help the Sienna achieve a class-leading “give me your lunch money and beat it, wimp” look.
Under its hood, Toyota offers a 3.5-liter V-6 borrowed from the new Camry sedan and Tacoma pickup that was revised last year. It makes 296 horsepower and is shifted through an 8-speed automatic that helps the Sienna wring out the most from its gas tank—but there’s no hybrid on the horizon here. Instead, the Sienna owns another title in the powertrain department: the only van with available all-wheel drive. Whether that’s useful to buyers is debatable, but the Sienna manages respectable fuel economy in both setups—around the low-20s combined in both configurations.
Available as a 7- or 8-seater, the Sienna is among the biggest in its class with more than 164 cubic feet of room for passengers. With all the seats removed, the Sienna holds 4-by-8 sheets of building material that can lay flat on the floor. With all the seats in place, it holds plenty of adults who make more noise than building material.
New for 2018, Toyota has upgraded its infotainment system, dubbed Entune. The last system was a little menu-heavy and lacking Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The new system finally offers support for Apple CarPlay; we’ll report back once we’ve had some time behind the wheel. A 6.1-inch touchscreen is standard on all models, and a premium JBL audio system is available on top trims.
Toyota also offers a handful of family-friendly features such as a loudspeaker that better projects the driver’s voice into the third row, and a rear-seat Blu-ray player so you don’t have to yell at the kids in the first place.