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- Fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain
- All-wheel drive available
- Long sliding second row
- New Platinum Top Trim
- Pricing starts at $ 34,460 (plus $ 1,175 in destination fees) | Price yours
The 2021 Toyota Sienna is the first redesign of this minivan mainstay in over a decade. It has been a long time to come, but the result is worth the wait. Much of the change is a new hybrid powertrain. It is the only one of its kind available in a van, and it offers excellent fuel economy.
There are many practical reasons for owning a minivan. Some buyers find that they need more than they want. However, Toyota is looking to change that perception with a redesigned interior that mimics its more popular Highlander SUV and takes the creature’s cabin comfort level to new heights. It is this impressive combination of functionality and amenities that earned the Toyota Sienna Kelley Blue Book the Best Buy Minivan award for 2021.
High-speed train-inspired style
Helping to make the Sienna more futuristic, Toyota says the styling is inspired by the Japanese bullet train, the iconic Shinkansen. The resemblance is there, especially on the models with white colors. The nose is large and blunt, and the upright body tapers back. There is also a bit of Highlander in the fluid rear wheel arches. It still has the functionality of the one-piece minivan shape, but with a bit more personality than we’d expect from this class of vehicle.
Inside, the cabin is inspired by SUVs rather than traditional MPVs, especially in the front row. The traditional open passage to the second row disappears in favor of a large center console with plenty of storage in a central bin and an open area under the front half that connects to the dashboard. The controls and layout with a large infotainment screen add to the modern look of the new Sienna.
Under the hood is a new hybrid powertrain standard on all models. It consists of a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to electric motors and a battery pack. Total system power is 243 horsepower and allows the Sienna to be offered in front-wheel drive with one engine or all-wheel drive (a $ 2,000 option) when a second engine is added to the rear axle.
It’s not a plug-in hybrid like the Chrysler Pacifica, but it still offers impressive fuel economy. Front-wheel drive versions are rated at 36 mpg for city and highway, and only lose one mpg in the city when equipped with all-wheel drive. These numbers are significantly higher than the fuel economy of conventional V6-powered rivals like the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica.
Even though the cabin looks more like an SUV, the Sienna maintains its high seating position and good forward visibility, inspiring confidence. While other MPVs produce more power than the Sienna, its hybrid powertrain delivers solid acceleration thanks to the instant response of the electric motors. The CVT transmission works well. However, those looking for the smoothness of a V6 or the feel of a traditional torque converter transmission will have to look elsewhere.
The overall build and quality of the Toyota Sienna is high. The body is tight, and the steering is precise and responsive. Braking is also linear and predictable and is the product of Toyota’s long history of building hybrids. We have complained in the past that other systems vary regenerative braking. When handled poorly, it becomes a guessing game about how much pedal is needed to stop the vehicle. This is not the case with the Sienna.
The new Sienna features high-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces to give the cabin a premium look and feel. Toyota has paid attention to the comfort and accessibility of the seats. The smoothest element is the new second row Long Slide with 25 inch front / rear travel. This means you can slide the second seat forward enough to accommodate full-sized adults in the third row. Or you can push the second row to the third row (and beyond when that bench is stowed) for a real limo experience.
The Sienna seats up to eight people with a second row featuring removable seating between the outboard seating positions almost like captain’s chairs. Seating for 7 passengers with real captain’s seats can be fitted with rear ottoman legrests for ultimate comfort. Keep in mind that none of the second row configurations allow the outboard seats to be removed.
For rear passenger entertainment, an optional 11.6-inch rear entertainment system is available. Other home-like comforts include an optional refrigerator and vacuum cleaner (both standard on Platinum).
The new Platinum trim comes with second row seats with legrests, a 360-degree panoramic camera, leather upholstery and a color head-up display. All Sienna models include Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 which features full range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, sign assist signaling and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.
Price, cost of ownership over 5 years
The Toyota 2021 is available in five trim levels: LE, XLE, XSE, Limited and Platinum. The base LE is available in front-wheel drive only and starts at $ 34,460. XLE costs $ 39,370 and offers 7 or 8 seats. Then the XSE starts at $ 42,000. List of models limited to $ 46,700, and the best Platinum sells for $ 49,900. All prices exclude $ 1,175 destination charges.
The biggest expense in calculating KBB’s 5-year operating cost is depreciation at $ 20,590 over those 60 months. Overall, the cost per mile for all expenses is 68 cents. The Sienna performs better than the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica thanks in large part to the fuel efficiency of its hybrid powertrain, where its 60-month gasoline bill of $ 7,022 is roughly $ 4,000 lower. The only vehicle that beats it is the Pacifica Hybrid, which uses just over $ 3,000 in fuel. And overall the cost of ownership over 5 years, the Sienna is only $ 1,600 higher than the Pacifica Hybrid, at $ 50,960.
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