Remember when Toyota's quintessential family vehicle, the Sienna, was called a minivan?
Today, the Sienna stretches nearly 17 feet in length, and with generous seating for seven or eight people and impressive cargo space, the Sienna no longer is mini.
Even the Sienna's four-cylinder engine is gone for 2014, leaving all Siennas to be powered by a strong, responsive, 266-horsepower V-6.
It's a good thing, because the V-6 is well suited to moving the large, heavy Sienna van around town and down highways.
Plus, federal government fuel mileage ratings for the V-6 are akin to those of last year's four cylinder: 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway.
Also noteworthy about the Sienna: It's the only passenger van on the U.S. market that still offers all-wheel drive. The system operates on demand to shift torque to rear wheels when needed, such as in snowy conditions.
Best of all, the 2014 Sienna, with and without all-wheel drive, earned top, five out of five stars overall in federal government crash tests. This is up from four out of five stars for the 2013 Sienna.
And the Sienna is a recommended buy of Consumer Reports magazine, which lists predicted reliability as above average.
Base price is up with the departure of the four-cylinder Sienna.
Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge is $27,780 for a base, front-wheel drive, 2014 Sienna L. The L includes tri-zone air conditioning, fabric-covered seats, cruise control, keyless remote entry and power windows and door locks. It does not, however, have a rearview camera, which is standard in base models of some competitors.
The lowest starting retail price for an all-wheel drive, 2014 Sienna is $33,780 and this is the LE trim level that includes standard rearview camera. All 2014 Siennas come with a 3.5-liter, double overhead cam V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
Competitors include the top-selling U.S. passenger van, the Honda Odyssey, which has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $29,655 for a 2014 LX with 248-horsepower V-6 and automatic transmission. The base 2014 Odyssey comes with rearview camera, two-zone air conditioning, fabric seats, cruise control, remote entry and power windows and door locks.
Meantime, the second best-selling passenger van in the United States, the Dodge Grand Caravan, has a starting retail price of $21,390 for a 2014 American Value Package trim level with 283-horsepower V-6, automatic transmission, fabric-covered seats, dual-zone air conditioning, keyless entry and power windows and door locks.
Prices for passenger vans can reach into luxury territory, as they did for the test, 2014 Sienna Limited AWD.
With a price tag of nearly $48,000, this seven-seater was a showcase in comfortable, multiple-passenger travel.