2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid: A Closer Look at the New Minivan

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Toyota’s fourth-generation Sienna minivan hits dealerships with all-new styling, cutting-edge infotainment technology and a hybrid powertrain. The newcomer replaces a decade-old model that nonetheless remains a popular choice.

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There are only three rivals left in the full-size minivan market – Kia, Honda and Chrysler – but Toyota thinks it can still do good business with the right product. “We still sell a lot of minivans and sedans in North America, so we have no intention of exiting those markets,” said Scott MacKenzie, senior national director of external affairs for Toyota Canada. “There’s a big opportunity for us if we have the best product in this space.”

Here is an overview of all the vans on the market today.

2021 Toyota Sienna Price

US price:

Category Front-wheel drive price All-wheel drive price (all prices MSRP)

XLE: (8 passengers) $39,750

XLE: (7 passengers) $39,750 $41,750

Limited: $46,700 $48,500

Platinum: $49,900 $50,460

Canadian price:

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Category Front-wheel drive price All-wheel drive price (all prices MSRP)

TA C$39,990 C$41,990

XSE TA $45,690 CAD $47,690 CAD

XLE FWD CA$42,990 CA$45,390

XSE TA Technology CA$51,190 CA$53,190

Limited TA $56,190 CAD $58,190 CAD

Bold exterior design

2021 Sienna Hybrid: Photo: Toyota

The Sienna’s US-based design and engineering team has made a number of major changes in pursuit of a modern take on the minivan that will also appeal to customers who might otherwise be tempted by an SUV.

There are hints of Highlander and Lexus in the Shinkansen (high-speed train)-inspired front end, and from Supra in the flare around the rear wheel arch. LED lights are standard, front and rear.

The efficient hybrid powertrain of the new Sienna

As before, AWD options will keep the Sienna going in all weathers and off the beaten path, but a standard hybrid powertrain on all models – a 245 HP setup similar to what we’ve seen in the Camry and the Highlander – brings a considerable improvement in fuel economy.

2021 Sienna Hybrid fuel economy

The FWD’s combined figure of 6.5 L/100 km (36 mpg) is a 41 percent improvement over the outgoing gasoline-only model. For the AWD Sienna, the figures are 6.7 L/100 km AWD (35 mpg) and a 43% improvement.

Overall power is considerably less than the outgoing V6, but, as in the Highlander, Toyota is confident that the torque available is more than adequate. There’s no published combined figure, but the Sienna has 176 lb-ft from the engine, 199 lb-ft from the front electric motor and 89 lb-ft from the rear on AWD models. An improvement should be especially noticeable at low speed thanks to the electric motor(s); for comparison, the outgoing V6’s 263 lb-ft peak came at 4,700 rpm. The new Sienna will also tow 3,500 lbs, which is unchanged from the outgoing car.

The new look of the 2021 Toyota Sienna’s interior and cabin tech

Interior of the 2021 Sienna Hybrid
2021 Sienna Hybrid: Photo: Toyota

Traditional minivan virtues remain, such as generous space for seven or eight passengers and their luggage, depending on trim level. The hybrid system’s battery lives under the front seats, so there’s no impact on passenger or cargo space.

New seating system

Only the LE and XLE FWD are available with a second-row bench seat in an eight-passenger configuration, with Toyota citing customer preference for the seven-passenger layout with captain’s chairs. These ‘Super Long Slide’ seats move up to 635 mm/25 inches in the new Sienna. Lighter resin frames instead of steel make folding the third-row seats easier, just as the resin tailgate and aluminum sliding doors should be easier to handle.

Major design updates and new technologies

Up front, the Sienna’s dash gets a distinctive new look with the addition of a “bridge” console that connects the dash to the center console in a unique, sleek design. Technical content is enhanced with a standard 9-inch multimedia screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and 7 USB ports. Higher grades offer the option of a 12-speaker JBL audio system, 1,500W power outlets, wireless phone charging and a rear-seat entertainment system centered on a 11.6-inch screen with streaming and HDMI connectivity.

2021 Sienna XSE: the sporty version

Toyota is joining the trend of fully loaded luxury minivans like the Pacifica Pinnacle with the new Sienna Platinum model (currently only in the US). This quality was supposed to have a vacuum cleaner and in-car refrigerator, but these features were delayed for several months due to component supply issues.

In the meantime, Toyota is branding the XSE as something of a halo model for the Sienna lineup, designed to appeal to younger drivers who prefer a sportier ride and handling. There’s firmer suspension on all XSEs, and the FWD version gets 20-inch wheels. These are not available on the XSE AWD as the extra weight would have impacted fuel economy. Toyota says ambitiously that XSE’s chassis changes won’t compromise ride comfort; we’ll know for sure when we drive it. Expect a full review soon.

Interior and exterior photos of the 2021 Sienna Hybrid

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