7 Noteworthy Features of the 2021 Toyota Sienna

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A hybrid powertrain, all-wheel-drive and family-friendly features make for a powerful combination

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It’s almost time: the launch of the 2021 Toyota Sienna is imminent. Come on, don’t try to hide your excitement!

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Alright, we get it. The idea of ​​a redesigned minivan doesn’t really get many people’s blood flowing.

While we may not be talking about Nurburgring lap times here, there are early indications that the new Sienna will spark a different discussion that is perhaps more relevant to everyday life: the van is long gone out of favor as the family vehicle of choice, but with what this redesign has to offer, the argument that SUVs are better is starting to wear pretty thin.

In addition to the attributes that apply to all minivans – a lower load floor, more interior space and easy-to-store third-row seats, for example – the new Sienna has a few additions that could propel it to the top. from the list of considerations. for many Canadian families.

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  1. Shopping for a big SUV?  Let us do some van-splaining

    Shopping for a big SUV? Let us do some van-splaining

We should note that we haven’t driven it yet – test drives for Canadian media are taking place at the end of this month – but we’ve had an exclusive look at the interior, and so far we’re loving it. that we see.

Here are a few reasons why we expect the Sienna to quickly become the new standout in its segment and may cause some parents to reconsider their long-held stances on minivan ownership.

Standard hybrid drive

That’s a big deal: you won’t need to pay extra to buy the Sienna as a hybrid because that powertrain is standard equipment. That means no matter your budget, you’ll enjoy Toyota Canada’s estimated combined fuel economy of 7.1 L/100 km for the Sienna, which is damn good for any three-row vehicle.

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Will it be the only hybrid minivan on the market? Technically, no. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid, which means it can achieve even better fuel economy under the right conditions, and it will drive like a conventional hybrid even if you never plug it in. But the Pacifica Hybrid also starts north of $45,000 even after iZEV rebates. Pricing has yet to be announced for the Sienna, but we’ll be surprised if it’s not just under $40,000 to start. This number is a budget cut for many families who need three rows a day.

Toyota Sienna 2021

All-wheel drive available

This isn’t new for the Sienna, and in fact it’s losing its grip on this feature as the non-hybrid Pacifica gains all-wheel drive for the 2021 model year. However, it’s still worth noting. if we argue that minivans can compete with SUVs, since all-wheel drive is often a purchase driver for the latter. Also, as noted, all-wheel drive isn’t available on the Pacifica Hybrid, and all Siennas will be hybrid with the next generation, so you still get the fuel efficiency that comes with it.

Foot activated sliding side doors available

Kick-activated tailgates aren’t that special these days, but kick-activated sliding side doors could be an even more practical application of this technology that will benefit parents carrying babies and older passengers. aged. The kicker – yes, I’ve used that joke twice now for the same car – is that kickstarter activation didn’t work universally well on all brands. However, we can report that in our own test of the version of the Sienna for our indoor deep dive, it performed flawlessly.

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25-inch second row seat rails

In our comparison test of the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, we noted that Chrysler’s fold-out second-row seats trump just about anything the second-row of any minivan can do. But if you don’t mind giving that up, the Sienna offers a rather compelling alternative: the captain’s chairs are installed on 25-inch rails, which creates a lot more flexibility in the distribution of legroom. between second and third row passengers. On the Limited version, the captain’s chairs even come with an integrated ottoman.

Indoor High Power Outlets

On some grades, you’ll find a 1,500-watt household outlet behind the third row, and when you choose a grade with the rear-facing entertainment system, a second is located at the rear of the center console next to the rear-facing entertainment system. an HDMI port. Both of these outlets are powered by the battery for the hybrid drive system and can power small appliances like a video game system – hence the desire to lean back and put your feet up – or a microwave. or a blender.

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Toyota Sienna 2021

USB-A and USB-C for each row

Some automakers have rushed to USB-C. Sure, it’s mostly about replacing cables, but it’s not entirely, and even when that’s an option, it’s also nice not to be forced into it. The Sienna wisely places a USB-A and USB-C port in each row, including the third row (although here the two ports are placed to one side, which could lead to heated debates over seating positions).

Up to 16 cup holders

Yes, the Subaru Ascent has three more. But 16 cupholders is still a lot, and every grade except entry-level contains that many. And each of the captain’s chairs has a side-mounted cup holder with bungee netting, allowing them to hold a variety of containers while keeping them within reach of children in car seats.

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