Toyota Sienna 2021 minivan becomes hybrid only with radical new design

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The Toyota Sienna minivan has had a facelift and is inspired by the high-speed train.

Toyota

It’s been over a decade since today’s third generation Toyota Sienna minivan made its debut, and in recent years it has become a bit outdated, overtaken by new rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey. But Toyota officially unveiled the new Sienna 2021 on Monday, which has been completely redesigned and is aiming for the crown in the minivan segment. (See how the Sienna 2021 compares to its rivals in our Comparison of the specifications of Siena, Odyssey and Pacifica.)

This fourth generation Sienna was designed by CALTY design teams in Newport Beach, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it looks entirely Japanese. Toyota describes the new Sienna as “bold, sexy and provocative” and says the massive front end grille was inspired by the Japanese high-speed train Shinkansen. More than anything, it reminds me of the awesome, square and overpriced JDM minivans that we don’t sell in the United States.

I don’t think the Sienna looks as aggressive as other recent Toyota models, and that’s a good thing. The domed rear fender is lifted from the Highlander but looks more natural and soft here, and there are a number of nice and subtle surface changes like the lines that stand out from the LED headlights. The rear is a little more angular, with thin LED tail lights and lots of folds, and the tailgate has a slight smell of duck spoiler. An XSE model (the one shown in red) gets a sportier body kit, 20-inch dark wheels and different interior trim.

2020 Toyota Sienna vs. 2021 Toyota Sienna

2020 Toyota Sienna 2021 Toyota Sienna
Engine

3.5-liter V6

2.5-liter I4 hybrid

Power

296 hp

243 hp (net)

Couple

263 lb-ft

N / A

Transmission

8-speed automatic

CVT

Fuel economy

21 mpg combined

33 mpg combined (est.)

Length

200.6 inch

203.7 inch

Width

78.1 in

78.5 inch

size

68.9 inch

68.5 inch

Toyota has also radically redesigned the interior. The automaker claims that minivan owners don’t want to feel like they are driving a bus, so the wide dash is more similar in design to the brand’s SUVs. It has a raised infotainment screen and a good mix of colors and materials, and it looks overall more upscale. The biggest change is a huge “bridge console” between the front seats which is connected to the dashboard, which Toyota says is positioned for better ergonomics and comfort. This console features cup holders, a wireless phone charger and additional storage compartments, while the open area below is large enough to accommodate a handbag or backpack.

But I’m more interested in the second row of seats. The new Sienna offers optional Super Long Slide captain’s chairs, which can slide up to 25 inches back and forth. These reclining seats can also be fitted with integrated poufs. The lower fittings have three transverse seats in the second row with a retractable central seat. On the upper trim, the seats are covered with leather with heating and ventilation for the two front occupants, while the second row can be heated. (The second row seats are not removable and cannot fold, however, due to the integrated side airbags.)


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New platform, new powertrain

The new Sienna rides on Toyota’s modular TNGA-K platform, the same that underpins cars like the Camry, Avalon and Highlander. Compared to the 2020 model, the new generation is 3.1 inches longer and rolls over a 1.2 inch longer wheelbase, and is slightly wider and slightly lower. Toyota has worked to make the new Sienna quieter and less affected by external vibrations.

For the first time, the Sienna is available in a hybrid version – and only in a hybrid version. The single powertrain is the same basic configuration as in other Toyota hybrid models like the RAV4, using a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled to two electric motors and a battery mounted under the front seats. The Sienna’s hybrid system develops 243 horsepower, 53 hp less than the current model’s V6 engine. But power is not the point: Toyota says it estimates the Sienna 2021 will get 33 miles per gallon combined, far better than the 21 mpg the 2020 Sienna gets. It also outperforms the Odyssey and Pacifica, which both use V6 engines and achieve 22 mpg combined.

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Toyota wanted the interior of the Sienna to look less like a bus.

Toyota

Not giving the Sienna a grip is intentional, says Toyota, and there are no plans for a PHEV version. Many Sienna owners are repeat customers, so the new one had to feel familiar, without needing to plug it in to achieve maximum efficiency. In addition to the standard basic three-year / 36,000-mile warranty, the Sienna 2021 has a five-year / 60,000-mile powertrain warranty and an eight-year / 100,000-mile warranty for all hybrid components, including the battery. .

All-wheel drive is an option at all trim levels, the system using a separate electric motor for the rear wheels instead of a traditional transfer case and drive shaft (no words if that adds extra power ). It can send up to 80% of the torque to the rear wheels, and Toyota says the all-wheel drive model is more agile when cornering. I expect the AWD Sienna to achieve slightly worse fuel economy than the FWD, although Toyota has not released official figures.

The Sienna 2021 has several driving modes, including one for EV mode only (for very short distances at low speed), and there is an adjustable regenerative braking function that mimics the act of downshifting, ideal for hilly terrain . A new Predictive Efficient Drive function remembers driving habits, road conditions and repeated routes to optimize when the battery is charged by the hybrid system. This feature is also found in the new Venza 2021 hybrid.

Like the current Sienna, the new one is capable of towing up to 3,500 pounds, and has a 120-volt AC outlet and a 1,500-watt inverter to power equipment and accessories. Toyota will offer accessories from Yakima that have been designed for Siena, including a bicycle rack, crossbars and a roof rack. Who needs an SUV when you have a minivan?

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I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it his most beautiful hers of all time.

Toyota

Innovative technology and features

More than anything, the minivans are all about interior functionality, and the Sienna 2021 has it all. There are up to 18 cup holders, six more than the maximum offered by the 2020 model. Standard equipment for each Sienna includes electric sliding doors, automatic open / close windows, three-zone automatic air conditioning and second row umbrellas. Climbing the trim ladder – LE, Limited, XSE and Platinum – adds features like sliding doors and power liftgate, four-zone automatic air conditioning, sunroof, umbrellas for third row and an electric tilt and telescopic steering wheel which is also heated. The Limited trim receives a built-in vacuum and a storage box, while the Platinum replaces the box with a refrigerator.

The “basic” infotainment configuration is a 9-inch touchscreen Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and SiriusXM capacity, six speakers and seven USB ports. The rise in trim levels adds HD radio, built-in Wi-Fi, navigation, and a 1,200-watt JBL audio system with 12 speakers and a subwoofer. There is an 11.6-inch rear entertainment system available with 1080p resolution and HDMI input, a remote control and a pair of wireless headphones. A 7-inch screen in the gauge group can display information about the hybrid system, while an optional 10-inch head-up display can also project navigation information.

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The new Sienna is longer, lower and wider than before.

Toyota

The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 driver assistance suite is standard in all areas, including automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, blind spots, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning with steering assistance, traffic signal assistance and automatic high beams. Each Sienna 2021 has 10 airbags, including curtain airbags for the three rows and the aforementioned side airbags integrated in the first and second row seats. A digital rear view mirror and a 360-degree sidewalk view camera are new options, and there’s also a rear seat occupant reminder system.

Toyota hasn’t released a price yet, but the Sienna will go on sale later this year and will continue to be built at Toyota’s Indiana plant. It will still face stiff competition under the Chrysler Pacifica facelift and Honda Odyssey and a next generation Kia Sedona. ((Find out how it compares to these competitors in our specification comparison history.) But, at least for now, the Siena 2021 looks set to be a major competitor.

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