It's nice to see that some automakers still offer minivans. Like it or not, these vehicles are often superior to most SUVs and crossovers when it comes to space, comfort, and convenience. As such, it's especially nice to see an automaker striving to expand the minivan's style and capability, and that's exactly what we have here with the new Toyota Sienna Woodland Special Edition.
It's a snazzy name, but it's not just a standard Sienna with black trim. Yes, there is black trim – specifically, you'll find dark chrome accents on the outside along with black badges, but you'll also find roof rails with crossbars that can carry goods or various accessories. There's also a standard tow hitch that Toyota says is good for pulling 3,500 pounds, but the big upgrade is extra ground clearance under the Sienna. Toyota doesn't specify how much extra or how it's accomplished, but paired with standard all-wheel drive, the Woodland Special Edition should be a bit more capable off the beaten path.
Inside you'll find more black with sport seats featuring black trim and contrast stitching. A 1,500-watt power outlet is included at the back, and navigation with the up-spec 1,200-watt JBL stereo is included as standard equipment. Second-row captain's chairs with long-slide capability and Toyota's Split & Stow third-row seats are also standard, as are kick-activated sliding doors, heated front seats, and gobs of USB ports. In other words, the Woodland Special Edition is an adventure-vehicle makeover that also comes well equipped.
We can't help but wonder if Toyota is responding – at least partially – to Subaru's recent Wilderness initiative that launched at the end of March with the Outback Wilderness Edition. Subaru never had a problem catering to the adventure lifestyle crowd, but the Outback Wilderness Edition is decidedly targeted at buyers that might otherwise consider an SUV. There's also the Kia Carnival that debuted in February, wrapped in a chiseled SUV-like body but still packing all the family-friendly conveniences of a minivan.
The Sienna Woodland Special Edition isn't nearly as aggressive as these two examples, but it's certainly a step towards grabbing the attention of SUV and crossover buyers. We'll see how buyers respond in the fall, when the Woodland Special Edition goes on sale for the 2022 model year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.