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2016 Toyota Sienna SE Test Drive Review

For the majority of drivers out there, it’s hard to get excited about minivans, but when it comes to shuttling around a carload of kids – or adults – while maximizing comfort, utility and efficiency, the minivan is still an unbeatable choice.

The only problem is that it’s hard to look cool driving a minivan, right? Not if you’re talking about the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE. The current third-generation Toyota Sienna already offers families all they need out of a vehicle, but the sporty SE trim level helps to make this minivan as fun for the driver as it is for the rear passengers. The best part is that the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE isn’t just a styling package, although it sure has the looks to stand out from almost all other people movers – minivans and otherwise.

2016-toyota-sienna-se-review-photos-autonation-0022016 Toyota Sienna SE Exterior:
From the outside, the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE plays all the right cards to give this slab-sided minivan an appearance that can be appropriately described as sporty… by people other than those in Toyota’s marketing department. First, Toyota added the required items that you’d see on any of today’s “sporty” vehicles including the aggressive front and rear bumper covers, the mesh grille, blacked-out headlights and the clear-lensed, LED taillights, but the automaker took things a step further by giving the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE a lowered stance courtesy of a legitimate sport-tuned suspension. The stance looks even better thanks to the 19-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels. This particular 2016 Toyota Sienna SE had a sinister look with its Midnight Black Metallic.

2016-toyota-sienna-se-review-photos-autonation-0302016 Toyota Sienna SE Interior:
Stepping inside the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE proves that there is nothing “mini” about the modern minivan with seating for up to eight people and a maximum cargo capacity of 150 cubic feet. The one downside of the Sienna’s interior is that in order to take advantage of the copious amount of cargo volume, the second-row seats must be completely removed from the vehicle. Other than that, the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE offers all of the same conveniences as its rivals including a rear-seat entertainment system and lots of cubby holes and cupholders. Just a year after the major refresh, the 2016 Toyota Sienna gets added improvements such as the upgraded multimedia that now features Siri Eyes Free mode and the Connected Navigation Scout GPS App Link for Entune Audio Plus head units. Setting the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE apart from the rest of the Sienna lineup, the interior of this sporty model is fitted with black perforated leather on the seats and accenting white stitching as well as a sportier layout to the instrument gauges.

2016-toyota-sienna-se-review-photos-autonation-0372016 Toyota Sienna SE Performance:
The 2016 Toyota Sienna SE might look the sporty part on the outside, but the powertrain is the same across the entire lineup of trim levels. This consists of a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 266 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. If you want more power, Toyota is giving this engine direct injection and pairing it to an eight-speed automatic, but there is nothing disappointing about the setup under the hood of the 2016 Toyota Sienna. Of course, the one thing that truly allows the Toyota Sienna to stand out in its segment is the fact that it is the only minivan in North America that still offers the option of all-wheel drive, which unfortunately isn’t available on the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE.

Despite its looks, there’s no confusing the driving dynamic of the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE for anything other than a minivan. It does exhibit a slightly stiffer ride quality, but that is to be expected with the upgraded suspension and bigger wheels. Steering and braking are still what you should expect from a 4,560-pound people mover, although fuel economy is fairly good considering its size. On paper, the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway**, and my week with the sport-inspired minivan – the Swagger Wagon as Toyota calls it – netted me a respectable 22 mpg in mixed driving. Glancing at the spec sheet, I was most surprised that the 2016 Toyota Sienna has a maximum trailer rating of 3,500 pounds, which is probably more than most families will ever need.

2016-toyota-sienna-se-review-photos-autonation-0042016 Toyota Sienna SE Safety:
All 2016 Toyota Sienna models receive eight airbags, the Toyota STAR Safety System and many other standard safety features, but highlight of this minivan is its five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2016 Toyota Sienna SE Overall:
With the over-saturation of crossovers in today’s market, the minivan segment could be poised for a major comeback, and it will be stereotype-breaking models like the 2016 Toyota Sienna SE that will lead the way. Pricing for the base 2016 Sienna L starts at $28,850*, while the sportier 2016 Toyota Sienna SE starts at $35,210*. Factor in all of the options, and this Sienna SE had an as-tested price of $38,410*.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2016 Toyota Sienna today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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