I'm currently in a 2014 Odyssey and I have been following the new Sienna with great anticipation. I text drove an XLE AWD yesterday, and here are my thoughts:
- The headroom is woeful and shockingly tight. I am 6'4" and had just enough headroom in the driver's seat with it in its lowest setting. Even then, if I fully straightened myself, my hair would brush the ceiling. Unfortunately, the passenger side was much worse. There, the seat cannot be lowered as much as on the driver's side, and I simply could not sit upright. I would say I need about two inches of additional headroom on the passenger side to make it livable. The fact that Toyota would bring a minivan to market that cannot comfortably accommodate a 6'4" person is astounding. This immediately killed the deal for me, as my wife drives and I'm the passenger at least 30% of the time. But I'll continue with my test drive impressions.
- Space in general is lacking, for a minivan. It's certainly better than any mid-size three-row SUV, but is worst in class. The middle row is the best and I would say that is class leading. The third row however is once again very tight on headroom. It would be unusable to me (which is not the case in the Odyssey). Also, the cargo area seems narrower than the Odyssey and Pacifica. The well is however deep and generally sufficient.
- The ride is smooth and the body structure is tight. I made it a point to hit some potholes and poor roads, and the body is commendably tight - more so than any other minivan that I can recall. The suspension has good impact absorption, and is quiet in its work.
- Overall, it is quiet (when the engine isn't being called upon for acceleration). Going 70+ the the highway, or over the aforementioned rough roads, noise is at a low and likely class leading level. There is very little wind noise.
- The engine roars, drones and vibrates, and does so often. I was excited about the hybrid powertrain, but I'm afraid that this 4-cylinder version is overmatched by the size and weight of this van. As others have mentioned, the electric motors provide fairly strong, silent acceleration at low speed (up to about 15-20 mph, depending on terrain). Anything beyond modest acceleration, or to a higher speed, immediately fires the gas engine. And unfortunately the gas engine is rude and unbecoming of a $45k vehicle. It is intrusively loud, coarse in its operation, and even vibrates the steering wheel at certain rpm. I drove it up a ~6% grade with perhaps a total of 300ft of elevation gained, and the engine unpleasantly droned the entire time. And I note this was all with only me aboard. I imagine the engine would fire even more often and struggle more with my family and our stuff aboard. I'd also note that I am not an aggressive driver and was not flogging the Sienna at all. Really, in my opinion, this is a horrible drivetrain for this vehicle. If the lack of headroom hadn't killed it, this terribly unpleasant powertrain would have.
- Power, and accordingly acceleration, is adequate. I did not feel that I needed vastly more power (although it would have been nice). But I did feel like I was in a Cessna with the engine working at 70% of capacity for too much of the total driving experience.
- Infotainment is decent. The graphics are lacking, actually seemingly worse in resolution than my 6-yo Odyssey. On the positive side, I found the infotainment to be very quick in terms of responding, much more so than my Honda. Overall, I didn't love it, didn't hate it.
- Interior feels of passable quality. The materials in some places are quite good, in other places they feel quite cheap. It felt like the trim on the center bridge would scratch and scar quite quickly. I wasn't impressed, but I guess this is about as good as it gets in mainstream vehicles.