2023 Toyota Sienna XLE Woodland Edition – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
The top of the class
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Toyota has concocted a singularly appealing variant of their Sienna van for 2023 called the Woodland Edition. While casual observers might barely notice the many features differentiating the Woodland from more common Siennas, a closer inspection reveals much thought has gone into making this one appeal to the burgeoning Adventure Van market.
Let's start with ride height, which stands at 9 inches, perfect for clearing trail brush or minor water fording. All-wheel-drive, which is optional on other Siennas, is standard on Woodland. Part of the taller stance is attributable to the use of 18 inch alloy rims fitted with 60 series Bridgestone Turanza LS 100 tires (235/60R18). If you plan on towing a 'canned ham' trailer, Toyota is one step ahead of you, fitting a standard tow hitch receiver good for 3,500 pounds of trailer weight. Woodland adds black roof rails fitted with crossbars in case you plan on packing a couple of kayaks up top. Perhaps the most useful addition to the camping portfolio is the 1500W-capable power outlet, with two 120V AC outlets for lighting the night in the forest.
All these goodies are wrapped in a special cosmetic package that deftly understates the Woodland's prime mission in life. Our test van was finished in a subdued but handsome shade called "Cement" with all exterior designations done in matte black to match dark chrome accents on the grill and headlights. The only items that stray from the game plan are a set of bright aluminum alloy rims which look splendid by virtue of their contrast. Inside, the safari motif continues with full rubber floor mats front and rear, and SofTex sport seats with an alligator-like embossment on the back cushions.
Like all other current Sienna vans, the Woodland is Hybrid powered. A 2.5 liter inline-4 produces 189hp and 176lb.-ft of torque. FWD versions of the Sienna add a pair of electric motors to the gas engine. But the AWD Woodland adds a third electric unit to the rear axle. This trio boosts combined horsepower to 245hp, good for a quarter mile run of 15.8 seconds @ 88mph and a 0-60mph time of 7.5 seconds. While the Sienna is hardly NHRA material, its over-the-road performance is quite adequate for any eventuality. We especially appreciated Toyota's inclusion of a prominent stick shift control for the CVT transmission. It made us wonder why so many manufacturers have given up on this gold standard for shift selection.
The interior of the Sienna is cavernous. Although the second row seats are not removable, they can be repositioned from front to rear by full two feet, thanks to what Toyota calls the "Super Long-Slide Feature." This allows you to insert bulky items into the cabin through either of two sliding side doors. These doors are a marvel of design, with a single tug causing them to open automatically, or close when needed. The Woodland also offers a pair of collapsible third row bench sears which are designed to tumble into their own deep well when not in use. Overall interior storage amounts to 33.5 cubic feet when all 7 seats are in use, increases to 75.2 cubic feet with the 3rd row folded, and 101 cubic feet with the second row captain's chairs folded. Toyota fitted our test van with an optional ($1,415) HD Entertainment center with a fold-down 11.6 x 6 in. 1080p screen. A pair of stereo headphones complete the package, but the driver will lose almost all rear vision if the screen is dropped when underway.
I was amazed at how agile this 4,800 pound bus was on the twisting backroads near home. The steering feedback proved exceptionally good, making lane placement of this 204-inch long van much easier than expected. The Hybrid package offers good low end response when the need to pass slower traffic arises. On longer freeway trips, the Woodland tracked straight and true, with no wind noise to interfere with the output of the Premium Audio system's 12 JBL speakers. The front door pockets are a marvel of smart design, offering an unexpected variety of cubby spaces. An especially deep well located between the front seats also serves to hide away tall bottles or elongated objects. The front seats on the Woodland are heated and power adjustable. Vision to the rear is surprisingly good if you fold the third row headrests flat. A steering wheel heater is the only item missing from the portfolio.
You could buy a $50,000 Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition and add a canned ham trailer for another $50,000 (maybe less) and still be well under the asking price for any aftermarket- built Adventure Van. Not only that, but you'll get 35MPG Overall Mileage, plus Toyota's ironclad 10 year/150,000 mile guarantee on the Woodland's Hybrid Battery.
2023 TOYOTA SIENNA WOODLAND EDITION
ENGINE: 2.5 liter inline-4, DOHC, 1-valve + 3 electric motors
HORSEPOWER: 245hp (Combined)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 35MPG City/36 MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $50,985
HYPES: Swiss Army Knife for Campers
GRIPES: Non-Removable 2nd Row Seats
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10
©2023 David E Colman