Remember the minivan? While most Americans seem to have forgotten those once popular people-movers, at least some still find them the best way to move their families around.
And Toyota has something special for them — a special edition of its Sienna minivan.
The Japanese automaker plans to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sienna with, appropriately enough, 2,525 anniversary models specifically built for the U.S. market.
The special edition will be based on the XSE, the sportiest version of the Sienna. It adds a number of more luxurious features normally found in the Limited model. It also gets exclusive interior and exterior trim, according to Toyota.
What do you get for silver?
The list includes auto-dimming exterior mirrors with memory, puddle lights, black leather-trimmed seats — heated and cooled up front — illuminated door sills and 25th Anniversary badging.
To mark the silver anniversary, the Anniversary Limited Model will come in Celestial Silver, though Wind Chill Pearl will also be available. Buyers will have the option of front- or all-wheel drive, and the anniversary model will, like all other Siennas, come exclusively with a hybrid drivetrain.
The mix of options includes dark 20-inch split-5-spoke wheels, unique front and rear bumpers, black-painted caps and a sport-tuned suspension. And with the XSE Plus Package, Toyota adds roof rails, a premium audio system with JBL speakers and navigation, wireless charging and a 1,500-watt converter.
Back when the Sienna made its U.S. debut as a 1998 model, minivans still made up one of the market’s most popular segments. But the segment peaked at 1.33 million in 2000 and has been on a steady dive ever since — until 2021.
Don’t call it a comeback
Last year, minivans actually gained a bit of momentum, sales climbing 14% at a time when the overall U.S. market rose just 3 percent. But it was a modest victory, at best, 2021 sales the second-worst ever for those people-movers.
Toyota did finish the year as the American market’s best-selling minivan — with sales jumping a huge 152% over 2020 — giving it a 34.8% share of the people-mover segment. It overwhelmed the second best-selling minivan, the Chrysler Pacifica, Sienna selling 10,000 more for the year, with Honda in third place.
Where having a minivan in the line-up was once an essential, the segment has narrowed down to just a handful of offerings. While Kia is another player in the market, brands like Ford and Chevrolet long ago threw in the towel.
Toyota initially billed the Sienna as “the Camry of minivans,” reflecting the fact that it shared the sedans underlying platform. The original model measured 193.5 inches in length, with a 114-inch wheelbase. It was powered by a 194 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 paired with a 4-speed automatic.
It was produced at the automaker’s assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky.
The latest version was launched in 2020 and rides on a version of Toyota’s TNGA platform which is shared with a wide range of its model lines. Where the original was sold only in a front-drive configuration, both front- and all-wheel drive are now available. But all versions are powered by a hybrid drive system making 245 hp and yielding a combined rating of 36 mpg.