By on September 23, 2016

2017 Toyota Sienna 3.5L V6

Updated for 2015 with a revised interior, an invisible facelift, and improved LATCH access, the 2015 Toyota Sienna was nevertheless mechanically identical to the Sienna of 2011-2014. The Toyota Sienna was America’s best-selling minivan in calendar year 2015.

For model year 2017, the Sienna remains visually identical and continues on the third-generation platform, but Toyota is installing the Tacoma’s direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 underhood and linking it to a new eight-speed automatic.

With a 30-horsepower jump to 293, the 2017 Toyota Sienna is now the most powerful minivan on sale.

This is a long way from the 187 horsepower, 2.7-liter four-cylinder that served in the base Sienna in 2011 and 2012. Compared with the outgoing V6, the new 3.5-liter engine’s torque output rises by 18 lb-ft to 263.

The new engine reaches peak torque at 4,700 rpm, just as the old mill did in 2016. Maximum horsepower arrives at 6,600 rpm, 400 revs higher than in the 2016 Sienna.

Yet more power does not equal more fuel consumption. City mileage rises by 1 mpg to 19 in front-wheel-drive Siennas; the van’s EPA highway rating rises from 25 mpg in 2016 to 27 mpg in 2017. The all-wheel-drive 2017 Toyota Sienna’s city figure jumps by 2 mpg to 20; its highway number climbs from 23 to 24 mpg.

2016-2017 U.S. minivan horsepower chart

The Pentastar V6 in the Sienna’s newest rival. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica makes 287 horsepower, four more than the 3.6-liter in the 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan. The Pacifica, with a nine-speed automatic, achieves a rating of 18 mpg city, 28 highway. With a six-speed automatic, the Grand Caravan’s mileage is more akin to the all-wheel-drive Sienna at 17 mpg city, 25 highway.

Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 sends 276 horsepower to its front wheels via a six-speed automatic. The highest-mileage Sedona is the SX at 18 mpg city, 25 highway. The Nissan Quest is the only minivan in America equipped with a continuously variable transmission. The Quest’s 3.5-liter V6 produces 260 horsepower. EPA rates the Quest at a best-in-class 20 miles per gallon in the city. Highway mileage, at 27 mpg, is 1 mpg shy of two competitors. The least-powerful minivan in America, aside from the commercial-van-oriented Ford Transit Connect, is the Honda Odyssey. Honda will replace the Odyssey shortly, but for now, Honda’s 3.5-liter V6 shuffles 248 horsepower through a six-speed automatic and achieves 19 mpg city, 28 highway.

As we all know, there’s nothing more important in America’s minivan wars than horsepower.

Despite a 7,015-unit year-over-year decline from the discontinued Mazda 5, America’s minivan market is up 19 percent in 2016.

At this pace, automakers will sell more minivans in the United States in 2016 than at any point since 2008.

Thanks to horsepower, obviously.

[Image: Toyota.com]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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40 Comments on “With 30 Extra Horses, 2017 Toyota Sienna Becomes America’s Most Powerful Minivan...”


  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    “Tonight’s evening news: teenager busted street racing stole his moms Sienna van. The suspect says his modded Toyota 86 just wasn’t fast enough.

    Police caught the van after responding to the crash of a Mustang GT that lost control after a burnout.”

    • 0 avatar
      Lex

      I know you were joking but Toyota actually offered a TRD supercharging kit on the 1 MZ-FE 3L V6. You could literally get a factory bolt on that bumped up the juice by 50HP, maybe more with a different pulley setup. Obviously it was not a common option but still a common donor car.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Better hope that transmission holds up.

    I could be biased, but most minivans I’ve observed (owned by friends) have ultimately wound up spending time in the shop with tranny problems.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      People might think you’re referring to Chrysler/FCA minivans, but the Sienna has had its share, first with the 5 speed auto, and the most recent 6 speed. The fact that Toyota is leaving the “U” transmissions behind for a new 8 speed auto would make me very leery of a Sienna with even more torque.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        no, the Honda Odyssey’s transmission woes are well known.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          What are the particulars on the Odyssey’s trans issues? I always thought they coincided with the Acura issues, and were over after 09.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Corey actual mechanical failures were over after the ’05 redesign, the ‘issues’ with 05-09ish Odysseys was some unpleasant feeling torque converter locking/pulsing, that they released a TSB for reprogramming for IIRC but no longer an actual failure. The 98-04 transmissions would actually run hot and fail due to improper lubrication of a certain internal component as I remember it.

            That’s not to say that a certain make/model/year of minivan is automatically immune to transmission failure, their commodious interiors that can easily be overloaded above GVWR ratings and transaxle layout make them inherently vulnerable to failures IMO. I’d install a big beefy external transmission cooler on any minivan if I bought one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ahh, thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Our Sienna is pushing 7 years old. No problems with the transmission. It has needed a water pump and a heater blower motor and a recall on the cable that holds the spare in place.
        The Grand Caravan we had was in the shop at least 3 times a year. No transmission failures but it would need calibration for rough down shifting on an 18 month interval.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The five-speeds aren’t too bad.Our ’08 has 152,000 miles on it, and is doing alright. It has a slight flare on the 1-2 shift at light throttle and low speeds (like when maneuvering in a parking lot), which is a common feature, even in Lexus vehicles that used it (like the ES and RX).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The Sienna doesn’t tend to have epidemic transmission issues.

      What it does have, from what I’ve seen in the stats, is epidemic door issues.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    OK, I’ll bite… what is that blue scribbly sh1t covering the front of the van?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    SPEC MINIVAN RACING! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!

    WE’LL SELL YOU THE WHOLE SEAT BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Star of the show this week – the mid-engine and supercharged Previa! Look at those glass roof panels folks!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      PrincipalDan,
      I think van racing is large in some EU countries.

      I think Algarve is in Portugal where they have a Van racing series (or used to);

      http://www.rml-adgroup.com/racing/LMS_2010/04_Algarve_Race/images/ford_transit_trophy_01.jpg

      A Ford Supervan;

      http://www.automania.be/files/Image/FORD%20(EUROPE)/Utilitaires/Transit/Ford%20Transit%20Supervan/1995%20Ford%20Transit%20Supervan%203/Ford%20Transit%20SuperVan3%201995%20%20speed03.jpg

      Added this one for the guy driving the van, courage is the only word to describe him;

      http://s33.photobucket.com/user/155V6/media/ford_tranny_zpsd27fc2b7.jpg.html

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Did the same announcer do the promotion for every track in the country? He must have been a busy guy.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Can a minivan demolition derby be far behind?

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    One of the reasons I bought the 2016 (that and I got a good deal). I never liked beta testing products, not even for Toyota. Although I only have 6100 miles on it, not sure I have even come close to the 6200 RPM peak horsepower numbers. Maybe I should put a six speed manual transmission in it so I can do 5000 RPM clutch dumps and smoke up the neighborhood.

    These horsepower rating “wars” in minivans are funny. At the end of the day, it is still in a big boxy vehicle. Yeah, you may be the tallest midget on the basketball team, but you are still not going to dunk the ball.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    FCA can’t catch a break, right after then new well received Pacifica with best in class V6 power train, here comes Toyota to spoil it for them.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Honestly though, I don’t think a lot of van shoppers are going to be swayed by a few HP or a claim of superior horsepower. These are practical buyers looking for a children conveyance. They’ve also got brand loyalty.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I’m not pro-minivan, but I recently drove a company owned T&C- it was pretty fun to squeal the tires.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Nonetheless it’s a number on a spec sheet, and to many non-car folks looking for clues as to what model might edge out another, seeing Toyota’s almost-300 to Honda’s “paltry” 248 might just push them towards the Sienna. Regardless of whether they’d ever drive the vehicle in a manner that would show off those extra 50hp.

        A different angle might be the dad who is wistful about giving up a more fun/sporty car, and is grabbing at straws to have at least a bit of fun behind the wheel. “Don’t diss the van buddy, she’s got 300hp!”

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Swagger Wagon! I’m too lazy to check what is the weight of a loaded Sienna to a loaded Pacfica?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      What do you mean by “loaded”? All the options or the most cement blocks that will fit into it? Or maybe maximum rated payload? The curb weights are similar,4375 lbs. for the Sienna, 4335 for the Pacifica. The Sienna’s maximum payload is 1380 lbs. but I can’t find the number for Pacifica. A fully loaded Sienna is approaching three tons!

      These are heavy vehicles! I owned an ugly 1963 Chrysler Newport sedan that weighed 3990 with a full tank, 3840 with an empty tank. The car itself was a “tank”, with a 361 V8 and Torqueflite automatic that did 0-60 in under 10 seconds with a top speed of 122 mph, built so stoutly that 1959-67 full size Chrysler cars were banned from demolition derbys, so it’s surprising the minivans weigh so much more.

      BTW, the 1984 Dodge Caravan was 176″ long (shorter than a 2016 Corolla) had 101 HP and weighed 2910 lbs.

  • avatar
    banerjba

    I was not aware that the Toyotas are having tranny trouble. Please tell me more.

    I have the 2011 with the 2.7L and 6 speed tranny. No issues at al with it in 5 years other than a dead battery and a wheel bearing (covered by Toyota). It does eat brakes and tires though.

    Very comfortable for driving around the Greater Toronto Area and city economy is not much worse than our 2.5L 2013 RAV4 AWD (about 2 mpg less) and about 4 mpg less than our 2006 2.4L Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      banerjba – our Sienna went to 65,000 km on a set of brakes.Tires don’t tend to last as long as advertised. Our mpg is similar to advertised numbers so no complaints.

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      Toronto traffic and pavement kill brakes and tires. Even driving stick and leaving it in 1st with plenty of space, the brakes would get a work out on an average 401/DVP trip.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I guess Toyota figured that the minivan segment is poised for a horsepower race, just like pony cars.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Does the V6 in the Camry or Avalon also get a power increase or do the car owners get shafted?

  • avatar
    jmo

    With the new tranny and the HP bump does this mean it’s 0-60 in less than 6s?

  • avatar
    kosmo

    We buy a new AWD Sienna about every 8 years for winter ski travels. Nobody else makes an AWD minivan, so it makes for very easy comparison shopping. It’s probably time for a new one in 2019.

    So I’ll take every improvement they want to make.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Wait, how is the AWD version getting better city mileage than the FWD version? Did someone mix up the numbers, because that makes no sense to me.

    Also since they’re using this in the Sienna and reportedly also the 2017 Highlander that means it’s fairly likely that when the 2018 Camry comes out it very well might have this as the high end option? I would hope it’ll come in AWD then.

  • avatar
    MatadorX

    All I can gather from this is that the days of the 200k Sienna are long over. 9 speed auto scares the crap outta me. I own one of the first Sienna’s even built, a 1998 Model manufactured in 1997. It provided our family with 250k trouble free miles from the drive-train before I took it down for elective surgery. Good old fashioned 4spd auto/194hp timing belt V6.

    Toyota is a great company because they stick to old, time tested designs forever, working out all the kinks, and build all of their critical mechanical parts in USA/Japan for *most* not all models. Exactly why I just bought a 2015 XB, because it is essentially a 2008 Toyota product, with a 2002 engine/transmission and 2nd Gen Prius mechanicals. Every single mechanical part is made in Japan, and the factory that built it also put together the 1st Gen IS300, one of the most reliable vehicles ever made, bar none. Other than the oil consumption issues of earlier cars, the 2nd gen XB has no issues and surprise surprise, was rated the most reliable vehicle for 2015 by CR.

    This is no coincidence that arguably the most outdated vehicle sold by the most reliable automaker in the US is also the most reliable car they, and automakers on the whole manufacture.

    If I were in the market for a new Sienna (planning on keeping my 1998 until they outlaw it in California, which they are trying to do now) I would RUN to a 2016 model. They fixed all the interior cheapness of the earlier models of this gen, while improving the reliability of the V6 fixing earlier issues with leaking VVT-I lines, coolant system, transmission, etc.

    The very best Toyota will always be the last model to use an outgoing power-train. Completely independent of body/packaging/model.

    Given the issues with the latest gen Tacoma, stuff that has never happened reliability wise with newer Toyotas, and they are slow to fix, the vehicle from which the new Sienna engine comes from, I’d avoid it for 3-5 years until Toyota figures out how to build it effectively. My personal opinion, Texas/Mexico built trucks alike suffer from issues traced to new lowest bidder suppliers of components in recently constructed plants south of the border, Denso is heavy into Mexico, and their components have gone from essentially faultless, to much more parity to the rest of the market, largely Bosch.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “Good old fashioned 4spd auto/194hp timing belt V6.”

      I have the same transmission and 1MZ-FE motor in my ES. Smooth as silk at 20 years and 200k+ miles, not anticipating anything less in the foreseeable future.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    So the minivan/crossover engine goes into a truck, then makes it back into a minivan.

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