The minivan is still the champion of family transportation.
|Engine: 2.5L Inline-4 + Hybrid
Output: 245 hp
Transmission: CVT, AWD
Fuel Economy (MPG): 35 city 36 hwy
Fuel Economy (L/100 km): 6.8 city, 6.6 hwy
Starting Price (USD): $38,220 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (USD): $50,565 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $44,080 (inc. dest.)
As Tested Price (CAD): $56,290 (inc. dest.)
It doesn’t matter how good crossovers and SUVs get, nothing beats a minivan for transporting a lot of people long distances. It’s the sole purpose of these multi-row vehicles. It’s how they’re designed from the ground up.
Sadly, for minivan aficionados, not many entries are left on the market today. On the bright side, those that are left, like the 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition, are really good.
Quarter Century of Sienna
As the name suggest, 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the Sienna first arriving on our shores. Ever since the 1999 model year, the three-row, sliding door Toyota has been hauling families across North America. To commemorate this occasion, the special edition Sienna wears a silver and black 25th Anniversary badge on the rear lift gate.
All other badging is black as well, along with trim details like the grille, roof rails, and rocker panels. Contrasting these pieces is the vehicle’s exterior paint which can only come in a choice of two colors: either Celestial Silver Metallic or Windchill Pearl (white).
The latest Sienna features an aggressive shape with pronounced flares over the rear the wheels. Based on the XSE trim, the 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition also includes LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED fog lights. The only wheels on offer are 18-inch shiny metallic alloys.
Three Fully Usable Rows
Our 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition came with captain’s chairs in the second row. This makes for a 7-passenger seating configuration. All rows feature leather seating surfaces, while the front row is heated and ventilated with power adjustability.
Headroom in the first-row measures in at 38.1-inches (968 mm) while legroom clocks in at 40.3-inches (1,024 mm). The second-row captain’s chairs offer nearly the same amount of space with headroom listed at 39.3-inches (998 mm) and legroom at 39.9-inches (1,015 mm). Adults of nearly any size fit in these front two rows with space to spare.
The three-passenger third row is the smallest, but still includes a generous 37.4-inches (949 mm) of headroom and 38.7-inches (983 mm) of legroom. Compared to most three-row SUVs, that’s an immense amount of room. Children, adolescents, and even adults can travel back there if required.
2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition: Utility Champion
Inside, there’s also storage everywhere. Multiple shelves are found on the dash and center console. There’re places to hold wallets, keys, transponders, and more. Thirsty? Not to worry, the vehicle in total features 18 bottle and cup holders.
Cargo space behind the third row is listed at 33.5 cu ft (949 L), but it’s about more than just the numbers. The cargo well is deep and allows for very tall items to be transported inside the vehicle, items that would never fit upright in crossovers or SUVs.
For more serious hauling, fold down the third row of seats and space expands to 75.2 cu ft (2,129 L). Fold the second row and space opens to a cavernous 101.0 cu ft (2,860 L). Not many vehicles get into the triple digit territory for cubic feet of cargo when the seats are folded aside from monster SUVs like the Chevrolet Suburban. If more cargo carrying capabilities are needed, the van can tow upwards of 3,500 lbs. (1,585 kg).
Well Equipped for a Trip
The 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition comes with a configurable 4.2-inch multi-information display. Other standard features include four zone climate control, power telescopic wheel, smart key entry on all doors, second row sunshades, driver easy speak, power sliding doors, a power liftgate and a power moonroof.
The 9-inch infotainment screen features navigation standard and our test vehicle includes the optional 12-speaker JBL sound system. Also added onto our vehicle for an additional cost is wireless phone charging and a 1500 W charging inverter.
The overall interior design is clean and simple, with lots of knobs and controls. Although some may find it dated, we feel this style of the interior is well suited for the Sienna’s personality. It doesn’t require a lot of effort to simply change a radio station, alter the climate control, or open a power sliding door.
2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition: The Big Easy
The 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition also requires little effort to drive. Measuring in at 204.1-inches (5,185 mm) in length and weighing about 4,675 pounds (2,168 kg), the Sienna may not be as agile and easy to navigate as minivans of yesteryear. But it still drives like a big sedan, offering simple, fluid controls, predictable responses, and great sight-lines.
With 235/60R18 tires and the sport tuned suspension, it handles well enough and never feels cumbersome. The 6.37-inches (163 mm) of ground clearance doesn’t have the capacity to drive over as large of obstacles as some SUVs, but it still rides higher than most cars. Plus, the optional all-wheel drive on our test van should handle winter weather with ease.
Our only gripe has to do with the brakes. Off throttle, the Sienna easily coasts, which is good for efficiency and fuel economy. When initially pressing the brakes though, there’s minimal engagement as the van continues forward. Apply a bit more pressure and there’s a sudden onslaught of braking force. There’s little in-between from not enough braking force to too much braking force. It makes smoothly decelerating the van quite difficult.
Fuel Sipper, Noise Maker
All Sienna models are now hybrids. They use a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired up with either two or three electric motors. In total, the system develops 245 horsepower and, in the grandest of Toyota traditions, an undisclosed amount of torque. The van is all-wheel drive, but not in the traditional sense. The rear wheels receive power from a separate electric motor at low speeds, which means there’s no interior-space-robbing driveshaft.
The engine and motors up front send power to the wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The hybrid system is seamless in its operation, something we say a lot about Toyota’s set-ups. The transition from all electric power to the various levels of hybrid are undetected. The rear motor engaging and disengaging is never felt.
Although there’s more than enough low-end torque for driving around the city, freeways require a lot of throttle input to get up to speed. This pushes the engine into the higher rpms where it can get buzzy. It doesn’t create vibrations through the cabin but is audibly loud. The CVT can hang the rpms at the high end as well compounding this experience, especially on moderate hills or when loaded with passengers. That stated, there is plenty of power on tap and the Sienna never struggles to accelerate.
The obvious benefit of this hybrid system is fuel economy. The 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition is rated to return 35 mpg (6.8 L/100 km) in the city and 36 mpg (6.6 L/100 km) on the highway. Although we couldn’t quite match those numbers during our drive, we still saw impressive figures of a 4,600+ lbs. box on wheels.
Safety and Pricing
With family transportation a number one priority, the Sienna 25th Anniversary comes standard with Toyota’s Star Safety System and Safety Sense 2.0. The latter includes pre-collision prevention, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and assist, lane tracing assist, auto high beams, adaptive cruise control, and more. Also included on the vehicle are front and rear parking assist with automatic braking, blindspot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
Pricing for minivans isn’t as affordable as it once was. The 2023 Sienna in the United States starts at $38,220 (all prices including destination charges) which is reasonable. But, as tested, the 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition comes in at $50,565.
For Canadian consumers, the Sienna starts at a price of $44,080. As equipped, our tester comes in at a price of $56,290.
2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition: The Verdict
Although they’ve gotten bigger and more expensive, minivans continue to be the best choice for family transportation. What Toyota has done with the Sienna is clever. By adding a hybrid drivetrain, it returns similar fuel economy numbers as traditional family sedans. Then, add in the choice of all-wheel drive, and it alleviates some of the want/need for a SUV.
Best of all though, the 2023 Toyota Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition is a well thought-out, properly executed vehicle. It may have fallen to the realm of niche vehicle, but as long as the product remains strong, it should be around for another 25 years.
What does the 2023 Sienna 25th Anniversary Special Edition include?
- Based on the XSE trim level, it includes upgrades on the exterior and interior, as well as the all-wheel drive system.
What is the MPG for a 2023 Toyota Sienna XSE 25th Anniversary Edition?
- The minivan is rated to achieve 35 mpg (6.8 L/100 km) in the city and 36 mpg (6.6 L/100 km) on the highway
What colors are the Toyota Sienna 25th anniversary edition?
There is only a choice of two colors, either Celestial Silver Metallic or Windchill Pearl (white).