The 2015 Toyota Sienna SE: Same Swagger, New Video, New Features, Better MPG

Hip-hop and minivans do not usually mix, but Toyota got laughs and accolades for its 2010 music video when it introduced the 2011 Sienna "Swagger Wagon", and now that the Sienna's been refreshed, they've enlisted Busta Rhymes for a new "Swagger Wagon" video:

Call me old school, but I preferred the original video.  The 2015 Sienna, on the other hand, is much improved.

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Sienna
The 2015 Toyota Sienna SE.
The new Sienna is stiffer, benefits from some aerodynamic tweaks, and in the case of the mid-level SE, which was our test vehicle, gets new headlights, as does the top-of-the-line Limited. Every trim level but the SE gets a new grille and new taillights.

The SE's base price is $34,900.  But our test Toyota was the SE Premium, which starts at $39,680. Choosing the Premium trim gets you color-keyed heated outside mirrors with blind spot warning indicators and rear cross-traffic alert (optional on the standard SE), chrome-accented door handles with touch-sensitive lock/unlock (not available on the standard SE), a moonroof (optional on the standard SE), an ugraded Entune premium audio system with navigation (optional on the standard SE), the Entune app suite (optional on the standard SE), a dual-screen Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system (not available on the standard SE), leather-trimmed seating (not available on the standard SE) and Driver Easy Speak (available as an option and more about which later).

Why not just spend the extra $1,970 and get the Limited, which has all of the above?  Because the Limited has captain's chairs in the middle row.  It only seats 7.  If you need seating for 8 and want that level of equipment, the SE Premium is the one for you.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Toyota Sienna SE
2015 Toyota Sienna SE.
The Sienna is still powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 266 horsepower.  The transmission is still a six-speed automatic.  The EPA fuel economy estimate has improved over the 2014 model.  The new figures are 18 city/25 highway.  That's an increase of two in the city and two on the highway. It still lags behind the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest, but it is now close enough to be considered on par with the competition. Credit the aerodynamic improvements.

Interior view of 2015 Toyota Sienna
2015 Toyota Sienna interior.
The interior of the 2015 Sienna gets a complete makeover, with a new instrument panel and the aforementioned Driver Easy Speak.  Have you ever tried to get your kids' attention when they are sitting in the third row?  Especially when watching a video?  With Driver Easy Speak, you press a button and talk.  It comes over the rear-seat speakers or the headphones, overriding what they are listening to. A brilliant invention that will get a lot of use from moms and dads. Inexplicably, Toyota passed on competing head-to-head with the Honda Odyssey's HondaVac system, setting up an internal debate within parents over which is more valuable, the ability to be heard or the ability to get several pounds of crushed Cheerios out of the car in a matter of seconds.

Our test vehicle had only three options, roof rack cross bars ($185), wireless headphones ($55) and a security system ($359).  With 885 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price was $41,164. It is a heavy refresh, not an all-new Sienna, but it has helped to give Toyota some of its swagger back.