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Despite the unabated rise in popularity of SUVs, the minivan is the ultimate suburban utility vehicle. With seating for up to eight, cargo volume like a box van, incomparably easy sliding doors, and versatile seating arrangements, the minivan lacks only the powertrain options of SUVs. No longer.
For years, if you wanted an all-wheel-drive minivan, the Toyota Sienna was the only choice. Now the Chrysler Pacifica can put its power to all four wheels, too. At the same time, if you wanted a hybrid minivan, the plug-in hybrid version of the Chrysler Pacifica was the only choice. Now the Toyota Sienna comes standard as a hybrid and gets an EPA-rated 35 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.
The decision between the two minivans has never been harder, and the outcome has never been better. But which one is better, and why?
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna trims
At least four versions
Sienna has new Wilderness model
Our picks: Pacifica Touring L Hybrid, Sienna XLE
Each of these bestselling minivans comes in at least four versions. Chrysler sells the Pacifica in Touring, Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle editions. Until recently, it sold a lower-cost model named the Voyager, but that has been dropped. The Pacifica Hybrid comes in Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle trim.
The Sienna’s sold as an LE, XLE, Limited, or a Platinum.The Sienna gained a quasi-SUV Wilderness trim with standard all-wheel drive for 2022.
Advantage: The Pacifica offers more variety.
2022 Toyota Sienna
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna price and features
Base prices below $40,000
Can top $55,000—or more
Sliding side doors are standard
Which Toyota Sienna should I buy?
The base Sienna LE costs less than $40,000 and comes with a standard set of power sliding doors, a slew of safety technology, and a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The XLE adds synthetic leather upholstery and a sunroof, while the Limited gets real leather, navigation, JBL audio, and an intercom system for the driver to speak to people in the third row.
How much is a fully loaded Toyota Sienna?
The 2022 Sienna Platinum costs more than $55,000.
Which Chrysler Pacifica should I buy?
It costs less than $40,000 for a Pacifica Touring, which comes with heated front seats, LED headlights, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s sold only with front-wheel drive. It’s worth it to spend a little more for the Touring L, which adds leather upholstery and opens up access to packages that include better safety technology, tech, and available AWD.
Step up to the Limited to get higher-grade leather, a sunroof, and, but know that all those can be had on the Touring L. All-wheel drive adds about $2,800.
How much is a fully loaded Chrysler Pacifica?
The Pinnacle edition costs nearly $60,000.
Is Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid worth it?
The Pacifica can be had as a plug-in hybrid but only with front-wheel drive and costing about $7,000 more than the base Sienna. If you have access to electric-car charging, the Hybrid Touring L costs about $50,000 and offers good electric-only driving range. We’re impressed.
Advantage: Sienna in base trims, but the Pacifica’s nicer at the top end
2022 Toyota Sienna
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna gas mileage
Sienna tops fuel-economy charts
Base Pacifica scores much lower gas mileage
Pacifica Hybrid: 32 miles of electric range
The Toyota Sienna gets the advantage here for efficiency. Even with all-wheel drive, the Sienna’s EPA-rated 35 mpg combined is remarkable for a vehicle this size. It’s 36 mpg combined with front-wheel drive.
The Pacifica gets 20 mpg combined with all-wheel drive, and that difference would cost owners an extra $650 in fuel costs annually over the Sienna, according to the EPA. With front-wheel drive, it earns 22 mpg combined.
The 32-mile electric range of the Pacifica plug-in hybrid satisfies the distance of most everyday needs before plugging it into the garage overnight. Without electric juice, it gets a very good 30 mpg combined.
Advantage: In base spec, the Sienna; as a plug-in hybrid, the Pacifica
2022 Chrysler Pacifica interior
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna interior and cargo space
Stow ‘N Go excels at utility
Pacifica Hybrid doesn’t get Stow ‘N Go
Sienna has smaller third-row seat
The Pacifica has a bigger interior and a more high-end look than the Sienna, and its seating system ultimately is more useful.
Drivers are treated well in either minivan. The standard power driver’s seat in the Pacifica includes an armrest that is part of the seat; in the Sienna the armrest is part of the console and the other armrest is on the door. It can make for awkward driving positions, whereas the Pacifica has more road-trip ready comfort.
The Sienna has a convenient dashboard storage shelf that runs from the center stack to the passenger’s outside vent. It’s ideal for phones and the detritus of family life. A two-tiered center console adds more storage space, but the utilitarian Sienna can’t match the premium fit and finish of the Pacifica.
Does the Chrysler Pacifica have stow-and-go seats?
The Pacifica’s versatility shines with second-row “Stow ’N Go” fold-away seats that collapse and stow into the floor, though it does take some finagling. It’s offered on all-wheel-drive models, as well—but not with the Hybrid, which stores its battery where the seats would be stored. Access in and out of the third row is made easy for little or big hands with pull straps down low and firm latches up top. The fixed position of the Pacifica’s second row limits third-row space, though the third rows in both minivans recline for increased comfort.
2022 Toyota Sienna second row seat
2022 Toyota Sienna second row seat
Does the Sienna have removable second row seats?
The Sienna’s second-row seats offer a different advantage: They can slide up to 25 inches (and can be equipped with footrests) that make accessing the third row much easier. The Sienna has more seating room, and much more leg room to comfortably fit two adults in the front two rows.
The problem for many Sienna fans is the second row can no longer be removed because of second-row airbags. However, the seat bottoms flip up, and the seats move up flush against the front seat backs.
Folding down the Sienna’s third row doesn’t require much finagling. The handles on the 60/40 split seat can be pulled out with one hand and dropped into a cargo bay deeper by one cubic foot than in the Pacifica. Top trims of the Pacifica have power-reclining seats that take a little longer but can’t be beat for convenience.
Is a Toyota Sienna bigger than a Pacifica?
From the rear, the Sienna beats the Pacifica with a lower load floor. The Pacifica maximizes the space, however, delivering 140 cubic feet with both rows folded flat compared to 101 cubes in the Sienna.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica with all-wheel drive
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna performance
The Pacifica’s 287-hp 3.6-liter V-6 springs off the line quicker than the Sienna. In Hybrids, a battery pack and electric motor team to a 260-hp version of the same engine. Both run power through a 9-speed automatic for generally responsive power output, though heavier Hybrids are noticeably slower.
Does the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid have all-wheel drive?
All other versions of the Chrysler minivan offer AWD except for the base Touring and the Hybrid, due to its tightly packaged gas-electric drivetrain.
The Sienna, in contrast, sports a 2.5-liter inline-4 and a 1.9-kwh battery powering an electric motor, for a total of 245 hp. Under light loads it can accelerate in EV mode up to about 15 mph, but under heavier throttle the gruff engine strains to meet demand. It’s the slowest minivan, but still quick enough to satisfy most drivers.
Is the Toyota Sienna AWD?
Some versions of the Sienna come with all-wheel drive. On those models, a rear electric motor sends up to 80% of the torque to the rear axle.
The Sienna feels more assured and handles with more confidence than the Pacifica, which has good highway tracking and a more composed ride. The Sienna feels more buttoned down through corners, while the Pacifica tends to lean into corners more readily.
Advantage: Split decision between the Pacifica’s power and the Sienna’s composure.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica in-car camera
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna safety
The Sienna comes with 10 airbags to the Pacifica’s eight, but both come standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and automatic high beams. The Pacifica adds blind-spot monitors, while both offer optional surround-view camera systems and cabin cameras.
Both the Sienna and the Pacifica earn five-star NHTSA ratings and Top Safety Pick+ awards from the IIHS.
Advantage: It’s slight, but the Pacifica has more standard safety equipment.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna design
Pacifica’s rounded and elegant
Sienna borrows Highlander style
Chrysler’s more upscale feel
Every minivan appears in need of some Crossfit or a corset, but either of those things would ruin their jolly interior room.
The Sienna takes on more sculpted shapes from the Toyota Highlander, such as flared rear haunches. The stout front end and broad lower grille borrow elements of Toyota’s trucks as much as its three-row SUVs but there’s just no getting around that block of cheese rear end.
The Pacifica takes a sportier approach; from the rear wheel forward, the Pacifica looks as good as the better-looking SUVs out there, especially with available 20-inch wheels.
Advantage: The Pacifica is prettier, inside and out.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica infotainment
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna infotainment
The Pacifica comes with more features that look, act, and feel better. The centerpiece is a 10.1-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use and has excellent natural voice commands. The standard setup in the Sienna is an improved 9.0-inch touchscreen, but it still feels older. Both vans come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
2022 Toyota Sienna
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna warranty
Hybrids carry separate battery warranties
Both vans have mediocre standard warranty coverage
Toyota includes two years or 25,000 miles of free scheduled service
Both vans carry a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty. Both minivans add on a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Pacifica Hybrid battery is covered for at least 10 years or 100,000 miles; the Sienna’s battery is covered for 10 years or 150,000 miles. Toyota now also covers all vehicles for two years or 25,000 miles of scheduled service
Advantage: The Sienna has a longer battery warranty.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler Pacifica vs. Toyota Sienna: Which one is the better minivan?
We tend to prefer the performance and flexibility of the Chrysler Pacifica. It’s been the best family hauler on the market, though the competition is catching up—not just the Sienna, but also the Kia Carnival, offer much of the same safety and space.
The Pacifica can overcome the deficit compared with the Sienna’s fuel economy, but it costs much more to upgrade to the plug-in hybrid edition—and doing so omits the fold-away second-row seat.
The 2022 Toyota Sienna is an impressive minivan worthy of a place on any family’s shopping list. It’s refined and has excellent gas mileage no matter which model, but the middle-row seats don’t fold out of the way, and the third row is less spacious than that of the Pacifica, though it can be easier to access.