The 2022 Toyota Sienna is getting a lifted, all-wheel-drive model dubbed the Woodland Special Edition. This revival of the jacked-up minivan concept packs some nice adventuring goodies along with some popular premium content from the run-of-the-mill Sienna.
At the heart of this package is an all-wheel-drive Sienna with 15 mm (about 6/10ths of an inch) of additional ground clearance, for a total of 6.9″, thanks to a unique set of shocks and springs. This may not seem spectacular on paper, but consider this: the Honda Odyssey sits at 4.5 inches; the AWD Chrysler Pacifica at 5.4. In that context, this thing might as well be a Hummer.
The Woodland also gets a 1,500-watt power outlet in the rear, roof rails with included crossbars, contrast-stitched interior elements, 18-inch wheels and some blacked-out trim elements. And since even the regular Sienna is fairly capable, it also benefits from 3,500 pounds of trailering capacity.
Toyota says the Woodland can be had in one of two colors: Cement (pictured) and Midnight Black (not pictured). We’re a little befuddled by the fact that the only color unique to this particular model is named for an ingredient used to make concrete. You couldn’t at least play it up with a name like “Rainforest Mist” or something?
On the surface, this seems like a bit of a Hail Mary from an otherwise mostly irrelevant segment, as if somebody pointed to a sketch of a Subaru Outback and said, “Yeah, like that, but dorkier.” Still, it seems a natural addition given that basically anything with four wheels and more than five inches of ground clearance seems to be a candidate for a rugged trim level these days. Besides, a crossover is just a minivan without sliding doors.
This also isn’t a new concept. Remember the Pontiac Montana? It’s OK if your answer was “no;” even your author had to be reminded. It also wasn’t the only example of a small, high-riding passenger van. Volkswagen went down that road with the Vanagon Synchro, for example, and Mazda sold an MPV in the 1990s with on-demand AWD and some rugged fender treatments. The latter even performs an end-around on the current lifted crossover craze because it didn’t have sliding doors. See above.
The Sienna Woodland will go on sale this fall. For each one sold, Toyota will donate $250 to the National Environmental Education Foundation. Don’t worry; the company has pledged a minimum of $250,000, so we don’t need to actually rely on anybody buying these things for some good to be done.