Hybrid cars complement gas engines with electric motors to improve gas mileage or to increase power through the use of a combined-propulsion system. Toyota and Honda are both major players in the hybrid space, but just about every other automaker is working on a hybrid model. We've picked our top hybrid cars based on great gas mileage and good performance.
Toyota updates its Sienna minivan for the 2015 model year with a refreshed interior and a few new tech amenities. The new Swagger Wagon, as Toyota cheekily calls it, debuted today on the automaker's YouTube channel in a series of promotional videos starring the "Eh Bee" family of Vine fame, "Convos with My 2-Year-Old"s Matthew Clarke, and the father of viral YouTube sensation "Action Movie Kid," Dreamworks after-effects artist Daniel "Hashi" Hashimoto.
The bulk of the 2015 Sienna's changes are in the cabin, starting with the redesigned dashboard and "more upscale interior." There's also a new black leather interior with a white contrast stitching option that should make the SE model look just a bit more sporty.
The 7-inch Entune infotainment system moves to a higher position on the center stack and is now flanked by capacitive buttons. Below it, you'll find the larger climate controls that, at a glance, appear to make more sense thanks to their more traditional layout and the new monochrome climate control display.
The previous generation's small multi-information display, which sat under a brow at the top of the dashboard is gone. In its place, you'll find an optional 4.2-inch, color multi-information display that sits in the center of the redesigned instrument cluster, which is now symmetrical. This new display placement should put information such as turn-by-turn directions closer to the driver's line of sight.
Interior changes aren't just cosmetic; the Sienna has learned a few new tricks.
New cabin tech includes the available Driver Easy Speak feature which uses vehicle's hands-free microphone to amplify the driver's voice through the rear speakers, so parents don't have to shout all the way back to third row of the vehicle to be heard. It's sort of like a subtle in-car PA system. I saw this odd yet useful feature first debut on the new 2014 Toyota Highlander, and it seems like an excellent fit for the Sienna.
The Sienna debuted with the Dual-View rear-seat entertainment system back in the 2011 model year, which could display two video sources side-by-side on one ultrawide, flip-down monitor. The 2015 model now makes Blu-ray video available as one of those sources. I'm still holding my breath for dual HDMI inputs, which are not mentioned at all in Toyota's release.
Finally, the available panoramic backup camera is now a standard feature on all Sienna models, which aids in parking with its dynamic trajectory overlay and aids pedestrian safety.
What stays the same?
Pretty much everything else about this refreshed fourth-generation Toyota Sienna is unchanged for the 2015 model year.
Expect the Sienna's port-injected, 3.5-liter aluminum V-6 to persist, outputting 266 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque. That engine will be mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and should be offered in front- and all-wheel-drive flavors.
The exterior design is largely unchanged. The 2015 Sienna will be available with optional LED daytime running lights at higher trim levels and that's about all that changes as far as I can tell. The SE model still has the most swag of the various Swagger Wagon trim levels with its cool, clear taillights and a sport-tuned suspension.