There is no doubt---no logical argument to be made to the contrary. The Toyota Sienna is an excellent minivan.
As I said in my last review of a Sienna two years ago, the minivans currently on the market (Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival, Chrysler Pacifica) are the best minivans ever made, and none of them are giving an inch to the other.
Still, when you factor in overall reliability, a Toyota hallmark, the Sienna is at the top of the list.
So, why that headline? Well, it's more to do with this specific trim level than the Sienna itself.
This is the Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition. And Toyota's writers may have pulled a muscle or two trying to sound convincing about the Woodland Edition somehow being better suited to the outdoor life than any other Sienna:
"...the new Sienna Woodland Special Edition combines adventure-inspired rugged styling, a standard Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive System and increased ground clearance for taking the fun further afield." Dude.
First, apart from some blackout trim that's chrome on other Siennas, the "adventure-inspired rugged styling" is the same across the Sienna line. Second, you can get AWD on the entry-level Sienna LE. And third, the increased ground clearance is 4/10ths of an inch---from 6.5 to 6.9. That's still too low for any real "further afield" adventures (the minimum realistic ground clearance for anything other than a well-maintained dirt road is eight inches).
Finally, if the Woodland Edition is really about outdoorsiness and adventure, why is one of the two available exterior colors---the one pictured here----"Cement"? Seriously. That's Toyota's name for the color---"Cement" (the other available color is Midnight Black Metallic).
Isn't that literally what you're trying to get away from?
To be fair, the Woodland Edition does pack some useful features for soft-road camping---roof rails with crossbars, super-long sliding second-row seats and a fold-and-stow third row so you can roll out your sleeping bag and snooze in the Sienna---plus a 1500-watt inverter with two 120-volt AC outlets, a tow hitch receiver and heavy-duty rubberized floor mats rather than carpet for easy cleaning.
So, beyond all that, this is a thoroughly excellent Toyota Sienna. Current-generation Siennas are hybrids---a 2.5-liter gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. Total system output 245 horsepower. EPA fuel economy estimate 35 miles per gallon combined city/highway.
Base price of the 2023 Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition is $49,030, including destination. That brings all the things we've discussed, plus 18-inch wheels, Toyota's comprehensive Safety Sense 2.0 active safety suite, a nine-inch touchscreen with navigation and a 12-speaker JBL audio system with amplifier and subwoofer, and four-zone automatic climate control.
Our test vehicle did have some extra-cost options...$1,415 for the rear seat entertainment system (and 11.6-inch 1080p display with HDMI input and two wireless headphones), $130 for a cargo tray, $345 for illuminated door sills and $65 for wheel locks, bringing the bottom line of the window sticker to $50,985.
When it's all said and done, the Toyota Sienna is the best of a field full of excellent choices, and the Woodland Edition is fine. There are people who never leave pavement who could make use of the easy-clean interior, the available space from the seating arrangement and the power inverter. Just don't let Toyota's PR folks make you think you're ready for the Rubicon trail.