- Genius packaging
- Fabulous fuel economy and range
- Lounge-chair-like seats
- Silly suspension lift
- Not particularly quick
- Coarse powertrain
We might as well get this out of the way: Increasing the 2022 Toyota Sienna’s ground clearance from 6.3 inches to 6.9, as was done to create the Woodland edition tested here, may help it better scale precipitous driveways, but it doesn’t transform it into a trail-ready adventure van. Rather, the slight lift seems to negatively affect this otherwise excellent family hauler’s performance and possibly its efficiency. In every other way, however, the Sienna Woodland remains a desirable alternative to any other three-row family vehicle—whether their rear doors swing or slide.
Into the Woods
For one reason, there’s more to the Sienna Woodland than a minuscule lift kit. Cement Gray metallic paint and flannel-accented leatherette upholstery are Woodland-specific styling touches, and it also includes activity-ready equipment like a tow hitch, roof rails, thick rubber floormats, and a 1,500-watt power inverter. Every Sienna Woodland seats seven passengers, as second-row captain’s chairs are standard. Tech upgrades include built-in navigation and a 12-speaker JBL audio system. Thus equipped and priced at $46,715, the Woodland nests between the XSE and Limited grades in the Sienna lineup. As a feel-good bonus, Toyota donates $250 to the National Environmental Education Foundation for each example sold.
Like every 2022 Sienna, the Woodland has a hybrid powertrain centered around a 2.5-liter I-4 driving the front wheels through a CVT automatic. The engine is supplemented by two electric motors in Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive unit, while AWD versions like the Woodland gain another electric motor that turns the rear wheels. Output totals 245 hp and something above 176 lb-ft of torque. (Toyota typically does not provide a combined torque figure on its HSD models.)
Despite that, the Woodland proved slower than other Siennas we’ve tested. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph took 8.5 seconds, and the quarter mile fell in 16.5 seconds at just 84.5 mph. Granted, other Siennas aren’t speedy, either; a Sienna Platinum AWD hit 60 mph in 7.6 seconds and covered the quarter mile in 15.8 seconds at 87.8 mph. Toyota’s more popular three-row hybrid, the Highlander Hybrid, uses the same powertrain and reaches 60 mph in 8.4 seconds.
In normal use, the hybrid system has its positives and negatives. Off the line and at low speeds, its electric motors are smooth, silent, and responsive. The Sienna can even cover a few blocks in all-electric mode, albeit only under very gentle acceleration. Tranquility vanishes as the gasoline I-4 fires up, however, producing unseemly levels of noise and vibration.
The Woodland’s brake pedal feels firm and requires a strong press, and there’s not much in the way of communication. Well, outside of a slight lurch that marks the switch between regenerative and friction braking. Like other Sienna models, its stopping distance is on the long end for its segment. Our test team recorded a 129-foot 60-0-mph result but commented on the van’s stable, controlled posture under full braking force. For reference, in a recent MT comparison test, a Honda Odyssey stopped in 123 feet, a Chrysler Pacifica in 122, and a Kia Carnival in 118.
More Sequoia Than Sapling
Measuring 203.7 inches from bumper to bumper, the Sienna Woodland is closer in length to the 2022 Toyota Sequoia than it is to the Highlander. And at 4,834 pounds, it’s little surprise that the Sienna Woodland’s handling isn’t spry. The van traipsed around our figure-eight course in 29.9 seconds at 0.54 g average, among the lowest results of any 2022 vehicle we’ve tested; even Toyota’s off-road-ready 4Runner and Tundra do better. That said, our test team noted unexpected composure at the Sienna’s limit.
Slow steering and large size are factors when attempting to carve a course through traffic or trying to avoid an unexpected obstacle. The raised ride height elevates your line of sight a bit yet avoids making the Woodland tippy and top-heavy like some SUVs. Ride quality is generally comfortable; the SIenna’s suspension smooths out road chatter but responds abruptly to larger impacts. Overall, how it felt on the road had us questioning the prefix typically associated with vehicles in this category—there’s not much mini about this van.
A Jungle of Features
One appreciable aspect of the Sienna is its fuel consumption—at 35/36 mpg city/highway, it’s by far the most efficient 2022 minivan. That’s with AWD, too, a feature unavailable on the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, or Kia Carnival. What’s more, with AWD the Sienna ekes out a city mile over the Kia Sorento Hybrid AWD and a highway mile on the Highlander Hybrid AWD, those being the most fuel-efficient AWD three-row SUVs. Adding to the Sienna’s efficiency accolades is a refuel range of 630 miles, better than any AWD three-row vehicle on sale.
A potential caveat is whether the Woodland can actually deliver on its EPA ratings, which are identical to every other AWD-equipped 2022 Sienna. Basic aerodynamic tenets dictate that strapping crossbars to a roof and raising ride height increase mpg-sapping drag, and adding 53 pounds of trailer hitches can only make matters worse. Even if the Woodland therefore can’t match those figures in real-world driving, a fuel tank good for 600-ish miles helps balance out other gripes.
Then there’s the interior, which presents a brilliantly versatile layout and packaging solutions. Dual power-sliding side doors reveal (non-removable) super-long sliding second-row seats, which provide limousinelike legroom. Practice is needed to quickly access the third-row bench, but passengers back there will find a good amount of space, if not good visibility through the small windows. Overall capacity is vast regardless of how the seats are arranged; when the third row is folded into the deep cargo hold, there’s an enormous flat floor.
Minivans are typically built to serve riders-along, but the Sienna’s front occupants also get an exceptional setup. The seats are as plush and supportive as lounge chairs, with heating elements that warm up nearly instantly. Seemingly every surface within and around the bridgelike center console is a cubby, slot, shelf, or bin, allowing convenient storage of handheld items.
The Sienna’s tech is less effective. The 9.0-inch infotainment system has lower-resolution graphics than the segment leaders’ displays, and it runs an aged, slow-responding user interface. Although the standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of driver assistance and active safety features is better to have than not, equivalents from competitors such as Honda work better. During our drives, its adaptive cruise control was slow to react to traffic ahead, and the lane departure warning system gave frequent false alerts.
Getting to the Root of the Matter
Given how the Woodland’s appeals and foibles mirror those of other Sienna trims, that 0.6-inch increase in ground clearance becomes its sole differentiating factor. Our evaluations didn’t convince us it makes enough of a difference to choose the Woodland in the Sienna range. Theoretically it adds some benefit over uneven off-road surfaces, but if you plan to venture on such terrain you’ll be better served by a different vehicle.
Perhaps, though, this van’s specific style or the simple idea of sitting a bit higher is appealing enough. If that suffices to sway you away from SUVs, you’ll also be rewarded with similarly stellar fuel economy and packaging as in all Siennas—and a version of the van that ultimately transcends what could easily be seen as a cynical marketing gimmick.
Looks good! More details?
|2022 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD (Woodland Edition) Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$48,475|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door van|
|ENGINE||2.5L direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4, plus front/rear elec motors|
|POWER (SAE NET)||189 hp @ 6,000 rpm, plus 180 hp (front elec), 54 hp (rear elec); 245 hp (comb)|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||176 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm, plus 199 lb-ft (front elec), 89 lb-ft (rear elec)|
|TRANSMISSIONS||Cont variable auto (fr), 1-speed auto (rr)|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,834 lb (53/47%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||203.7 x 78.5 x 68.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||8.5 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||16.5 sec @ 84.5 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||129 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.77 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||29.9 sec @ 0.54 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||35/36/35 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||630 miles|