2023 Toyota Sienna Long-Term Update: Pacing toward the hall of fame

Our long-term 2023 Toyota Sienna minivan arrived for its second stint in my personal fleet in mid-August. I then proceeded to spend the next six weeks jealously guarding it, twice postponing its departure. I’ve said it before, and this late-summer session reinforced it: Minivans aren’t for everyone, but they can be indispensable for some.

Here’s my notes:

A trusty family hauler

Shortly after its arrival, I took my family for a weeklong vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Typically, this trip taxes even large SUVs. After packing everything, including sleeping bags, coolers, golf clubs, fishing gear, clothing, flashlights, etc, I gazed out the back window and realized I had an unobstructed line of sight. A tribute to good packing? Sure (pats self on back), but really, the Sienna is so cavernous with the third-row folded, there was no need to stack cartoonishly high. It all just … fit. Depending on the size of your family and the length of your trip, it’s conceivable that this minivan will fill up. But it will take a lot.

Sliding doors FTW

Speaking of family duties, sliding doors are a great hack. This isn’t news to anyone who’s driven a minivan in the last 40 years, but let me remind you of their many benefits. Kids can operate them (you can also put the child locks on if you prefer they don’t). The doors move slowly so there’s less of a chance of fingers getting pinched. In tight spaces, like a school parking lot, the doors move laterally rather than swing out, meaning there’s no need to worry about door dings. The Sienna lets you open the doors via handles, the key fob, buttons on the handles, the inside handles and via a driver-operated button up front. You’ve got options.


I rolled up about 1,400 miles during my six-week stint, averaging 31.23 mpg combined. That’s a touch below the 35 mpg combined rating the EPA gives the Sienna, but still very solid. On my 2,000-mile trek to Gulf Shores earlier this year, I checked in with 31.87 mpg for the 2,000 journey from Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico. That all tracks with the 32.67 mpg we’re averaging as a staff through nine-plus months in our test fleet. While the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid is the only minivan with electric range and still the favorite of some editors (the Sienna DID win our comparison test, though), we’ve enjoyed the Sienna’s traditional hybrid setup. It’s effective and efficient. While I like the early-adopter feel/challenge of charging EVs, it’s also nice to not have to think about it.

What the hell was the chirping noise?

I did have a somewhat bizarre experience where the Sienna made a random chirping noise. Apparently it was nothing. After dropping my son off for a morning playdate, I put the vehicle in park, turned off the engine and opened the door to go inside my house. An annoying chirping sound stopped me in my tracks.

There were no warning lights on the dash or open windows. My kid definitely wasn’t there, so it wasn’t a backseat reminder. And the vehicle was indeed in park. I turned the engine off and on a few times. Still chirping. It was coming from the dashboard. A quick Google search revealed nothing salient. I got in and out of the van, thinking the action of opening and closing the door might do something. The chirping persisted.

At this point, it was barely 9 o’clock in the morning and my coffee drip was low. I went inside and hoped the problem would heal itself. A few minutes later, I returned and the chirping had stopped. It never happened again, and no other Autobloggers experienced the chirp.


Random noise aside, this Sienna has been one of our most-used and enjoyed long-termers in recent memory. It’s a little bland and it’s certainly ubiquitous among parents with school-age children, but it’s comfortable, efficient and a solid value. We don’t have a hall of fame for Autoblog long-termers, but if we did, the Sienna is certainly pacing in that direction.

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