- Standard hybrid powertrain
- Available all-wheel drive
- Roomy interior
- Clever seating arrangements
- Spacious, spartan cabin
- One available touchscreen
- No word on price
- Lack of power-folding seats
The 2021 Toyota Sienna injects new life in the minivan with a standard hybrid engine and available all-wheel drive.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna minivan with available all-wheel drive now comes as a hybrid that Toyota estimates will get 33 mpg combined. The fourth-generation minivan comes with more standard features, updated technology, more premium options, and a new look inside and out.
Even though Toyota took design cues that range from bullet trains to SUVs, the Sienna is at its core a minivan that can seat up to eight in comfort and with convenience. Lop off the back end and it could pass for something else, but then it would lose the roominess and cargo volume you can’t get in an SUV. The cockpit is streamlined and uncluttered but some people might be tempted instead to ride in the second row and its available ottoman foot rests kicking up from the captain’s chairs. This is not the minivan of your youth.
The Sienna will go on sale at the end of 2020. The combined 243-horsepower hybrid powertrain with or without all-wheel drive is the only offered across the lineup, which includes LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum trims. Pricing will be announced later this year.
Standard features on the redesigned Sienna include second-row sunshades; three-zone climate control; power windows and power sliding doors; a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa compatibility; Bluetooth connectivity, seven USB ports; and SiriusXM and wi-fi trial subscriptions.
Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, automatic high beams, a rear-seat reminder, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts.
Available options include a built-in vacuum, a refrigerator, and up to 18 cupholders. And the Sienna can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Forget the SUV.
Style and performance
Designed and built in the U.S., the 2021 Sienna aspires to look sportier than its boxy predecessor. From the side, a crease extends from the rocker panel up over the rear wheel into the slim horizontal taillights. The front has a broad lower grille, which is honeycombed in XSE trim, and a much more flowing, subtle trapezoidal style with LED headlights sweeping back into the body. It’s an alluring improvement, and one that Toyota says was inspired by a Japanese bullet train. Even with the 20-inch wheels standard on XSE trim, the Sienna’s boxed end makes it hard to mistake for anything other than a minivan.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially on the inside. Standard seating for eight can be upgraded to fit two captain’s chairs with collapsing ottoman footrests for optimal comfort. Those available seats come heated and can slide up to 25 inches to optimize the space for whomever might be sitting there. Those seats don’t stow in the floor, though the mid second-row seat is removable and stowable in the standard set up.
Up front, the spaciousness opens up even more. The stretched horizontal display of the dash conceals a generous storage area beneath the center console. The hybrid powertrain, and available all-wheel drive that uses an electric motor mounted to the rear axle, means there’s no drive shaft tunnel through the center of the vehicle.
The Sienna uses the same two-motor hybrid system found in the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The 2.5-liter inline-4 engine pairs with two motors in front-drive configurations to make 243 hp and return a Toyota-estimated 33 mpg combined. An independent rear suspension promises to keep the ride soft. Available all-wheel drive adds a third motor to power the rear axle. Even though the driver can toggle between four modes, including a “Sport” mode that provides more electric boost, the standard hybrid and available AWD don’t require any intervention from the driver. Electric-only driving is available at low speeds under light throttle. A sequential shifter acts as a low gear to recoup more energy from the regenerative braking system.
The hybrid powertrain is covered by an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Comfort and features
If the Sienna owner wants to play with the drive system or customize the hybrid display, it can be done through either a 7.0-inch vehicle info display or a 9.0-inch touchscreen standard across the lineup.
Toyota hasn’t released all the specs yet, but it sounds like the Sienna will be roomier than its predecessor. The LE and some XLE trims come with eight seats and a second row that has two captain’s chairs split by a stowable middle seat. Some XLE models, as well as all Limited and Platinum trims, come with seven seats and second-row captain’s chairs. Front-drive versions of Limited and Platinum come with ottomans.
Cloth seats line the base LE model, while synthetic leather, heated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat start in the XLE. For leather, heated and cooled front seats, step up to Limited and Platinum trims, which also have a power telescoping steering wheel.
In addition to the standard convenience and safety features listed above, the 2021 Sienna can be had with a power-tilting moonroof, a 10.0-inch head-up display, and an available HD rear entertainment center with 11.6-inch displays. The return of the built-in PA system customizes the level of comfort and reprimands necessary for each passenger. An available digital rearview mirror that projects what’s behind the rear camera if there is too much commotion in the cabin to see clearly with the regular mirror. A surround-view camera system provides a 360-degree birds-eye view around the vehicle, and in parallel parking situations there is a curb view. The top Platinum trim comes with a vacuum and a refrigerator.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna will arrive toward the end of 2020.