Weekly Auto features page in Adobe InDesign and PDF formats.
This page has a half-page space across the bottom for advertising.

Entry price: $30,850

Price as tested: $49,610

Likes: New looks, AWD, Auto Access Seat, lots of cargo room, safety

Dislikes: Pricing can get expensive, not much else

This week we’re enjoying the luxurious surroundings of Toyota’s top line 2018 Sienna Limited Premium AWD minivan, the only minivan in America that offers 4x4. With roomy and deluxe appointments, this Sienna could easily be called a “maxivan” thanks to its long wheelbase attributes and room for seven passengers. New for 2018 is a refresh to the exterior design with an all-new front end along with new lower side rocker panels.  

During our week-long test, we utilized the Sienna to move some household items, make a few runs to the home center and also some shorter mileage runs on back country roads. Overall, and with extra thanks to the interior’s many storage offerings, it was a pleasure in each and every manner of use.  

Toyota engineers, albeit late to the minivan party that started with Dodge and Plymouth in 1984, have indeed figured out how to master any extra cargo room concerns that usually plague vehicles with third-row seating, much to our delight. Sienna’s deep cargo area behind its third-row split bench allows families who might have had to buy an attachable cargo top loader to stack suitcases behind the third row with ease.

Although we drove the top line Limited Premium AWD that starts at $48,615, consumers are to take note that not all Sienna’s cost over $40,000. The entry level and well equipped “L” base model starts at just $30,850 with the powerful V6 engine as standard and seating that accommodates eight passengers.

The standard engine that powers all of the Sienna family is a 3.5 liter V6 that produces 296 horses and 263 lb. ft. of torque. In addition to very impressive acceleration and passing performance, fuel mileage is very good for a near two-ton vehicle, coming in at 19 city and 27 highway for the front drive models while the AWD Sienna still delivers a decent 18 city and 24 highway. A four cylinder Sienna is no longer available as the V6 now delivers better fuel mileage overall thanks to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission that replaced the earlier generation’s six-speed automatic setups.  

Standard fare on the Limited Premium is pretty much a “full house” scenario as not one option was listed on the window sticker. Upscale features like dual power sliding doors with child protect, power driver and passenger captain chairs with lumbar, heated seats, smart key with push button start, dual moonroof (very nice) electro rear view mirror, Homelink, multi info display, tri-zone climate control, beautiful two-tone leather, second row Captain chairs, Entune Premium Audio with JBL speakers, Entune App Suite, MP3, 5 USB ports, phone compatibility, iPod connections, auxiliary jack, SiriusXM satellite, ambient interior lighting, upgraded instrumentation, and much more.   

Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.


Auto Bits

Automakers create a buzz with push toward EV

Across the country, automakers are ramping up their promotions of electrified green vehicles. Despite a pretty common misconception by many EV fans, automakers have promoted, and continue to promote green vehicles, with gusto. One thing that makes the promotion of green vehicles unusual is the far-reaching and diverse efforts by automakers. BestRide.com dug deep to pull together a list of recent examples that illustrate the many ways your favorite brands are promoting green vehicles.

In the past, TV and radio spots were the de facto definition of “advertising.” That has changed for many reasons. Viewership is changing rapidly, and automakers have been moving gradually to a more direct and more hands-on approach to promoting vehicles in general. Social media and targeted browser advertisements have drastically changed the landscape for vehicle promotion, just as it has for all products, services, and causes. 

More and more, automakers want to offer shoppers and fans an experience. 



Did you know

Numbers show that fall tends to bring more collisions with animals, particularly deer, with an increased risk around dawn and dusk.