Stigma-fighter – the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna
Let’s face it, minivans will probably always be stuck with the stigma that it has suffered for decades. But for the all-new Sienna minivan, Toyota has gone through great lengths to lessen the minivan stigma by the way it looks. On top of that, they have added yet another reason why the Sienna is the ultimate people mover – fuel economy. Let’s welcome in the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna.
In an attempt to make the all-new Sienna look more aggressive and SUV-like, Toyota has raised the hood and the A-pillars have a sharper angle. At the rear, the roof line slops down some, and around the rear wheels are fender bulges that run along the side of the van. At the end of the day, the Sienna looks better than most minivans on the market, but it still looks like a minivan, albeit, a slightly aggressive one.
The Sienna can seat seven or eight passengers depending on trim level. All come with dual sliding doors with power windows in them, second-row sunshades, triple-zone climate control system and a 9-inch touchscreen. Sienna’s can even be fitted with a small refrigerator in the center console, a built-in vacuum and foot-activated power sliding doors.
Breaking away from Sienna’s of the past that saw them equipped with Toyota’s 3.5-liter V6 engine, this all-new Sienna takes on a new approach – it’s a hybrid. Standard on every Sienna is a hybrid powertrain that uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors that provides 245 horsepower. Front wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive remains an option.
Last week Toyota had me in a top-of-the-line Platinum with the available all-wheel drive system and I must say, stigma or not, the practicality of this vehicle is amazing. Driver and front passenger sit in comfortably with a floating center console separating the two. The console flows out of the dashboard and leaves a large and practical storage area below. And hats off to Toyota by using a traditional shifter rather than buttons (Honda Odyssey) or a dial (Chrysler Pacifica).
Behind the front seats is an amazing amount of room for the second-row passengers. The seats, which are some of the best found in any vehicle, slide fore and aft and can recline. Unlike the previous Sienna, the second-row seats in the new Sienna do not come out or fold into the floor, making this Sienna more of a people mover rather than a cargo hauler.
On the road, the V6 power from previous Sienna’s is missed, as this new Sienna is down by more than 50 horsepower. Power down low is good, but once at highway speeds or trying to pass slower traffic, the lack of power becomes evident.
But while the new Sienna is less powerful, it’s much more fuel efficient than the previous model. With the V6, the old Sienna brought in 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway). With the new Sienna, it brings in 36 mpg combined (along with 36 mpg in both city and highway). Going with all-wheel drive, those numbers come down to 35 mpg combine (35 mpg city and 36 mpg highway).
The Sienna has always been one of the top picks in today’s minivan market – it and the Honda Odyssey methodically duke it out for top honors, much like two geniuses playing chess. With the all-new 2021 Sienna, Toyota has raised the playing field by making it a hybrid and adding some aggressive styling. Make no mistake, it’s still a minivan, but these changes make it a little easier to accept the stigma.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
2021 Toyota Sienna Premium All-Wheel Drive
Base Price: $54,050.00 (est)
Price as Tested: $54,050.00 (est)
Layout: front-engine / all-wheel drive
Engine: hybrid 2.5 liter four-cylinder with dual electric motors
Horsepower: 245 hp
EPA Fuel Economy: 35 city / 36 highway mpg
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