Driving the 2021 Toyota Sienna breaks common minivan stereotypes

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We’ve all heard typical minivan stereotypes. For example, the van is slow, not cool, or for soccer moms. But the Toyota Sienna 2021 shatter these misconceptions. The minivan has evolved and the Toyota Sienna is proof that it’s time to change your mind about them.

2021 Toyota Sienna review: a minivan that’s too cool for school

Toyota Sienna 2021 | Allison barfield

I had the Toyota Sienna 2021 XLE for a week, and it was a blast. While some people called me a soccer nerd and mom, others were super excited to see this pickup’s redesign. I used it to challenge typical minivan stereotypes.

The XLE is the third trim level out of five. XLE stands for Exclusive Luxury Edition and lives up to its name with comfort and convenience. I didn’t even think I was missing the top two trim levels. But anyway, let’s get on with those myths about minivans.

Minivans are slow and heavy

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is not slow at all. It features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with two electric motors to generate 243 horsepower and 288 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds.

It’s a lot of speed to overtake people on the freeway and blend in with traffic. If I needed power, it was there. The brakes are also smooth and secure, and the steering is responsive. The Sienna looks like a smaller, sportier vehicle.

It has three driving modes including Sport, Normal and Eco. I spent most of the time in Sport mode, which increased acceleration and steering response at the expense of fuel economy. However, it exhibited some body roll in tight curves.

Parking the Toyota Sienna was easy. It is an agile vehicle that is not complicated to maneuver in tight urban areas. It didn’t seem too long, wide, or heavy for the mountain adventures I took it on.

Minivans are just for carpooling

A red 2021 Toyota Sienna parked in the wild on a cloudy day

Toyota Sienna 2021 | Toyota

I don’t have kids, but I still packed the 2021 Toyota Sienna with tons of goods and people. I took it to my adult kickball league, where my teammates and contestants were in awe of the amount of space and technology. It made sense for the Sienna to be a daily driver.

But I also took it up a mountain at 5,500 feet above sea level to test the all-wheel drive system. While the ground clearance seemed a bit lacking, I felt totally in control on the dirt and gravel roads.

The Sienna could quickly transform into an RV or adventure vehicle. It even has a 12-volt battery and a 120-volt outlet on the back to power devices. I used it to blow up a Nissan Versa with a dead battery on the track. That’s right, a van came to the rescue.

The Sienna gets an EPA estimated 36 MPG, but I mostly drove uphill on steep inclines in sport mode, so I averaged 33 mpg. It’s pretty darn fuel efficient for travel and adventure.

Minivans are lame and ugly

Toyota Sienna 2021 dashboard

Toyota Sienna 2021 dashboard | Toyota

For some reason, people think minivans are uncomfortable with beige fabrics and outdated technology. But the Toyota Sienna 2021 is equipped with modern amenities such as a wireless phone charger, an HDTV with an HDMI port, multiple USB and USB-C ports, a digital gauge cluster, a multi-zone climate system and rear windows that fit. lower.

I decided to sit in the second row as a child or passenger and plugged my Nintendo Switch into the TV. I used one of the two pairs of wireless headphones to play my Mario game and got totally into it. If I had been driven somewhere, the trip would have passed very quickly.

The JBL audio system also sounds great to the driver and passengers. In addition, the third row has headphone jacks, so passengers can listen to what’s going on in the rear seat entertainment system.

In my opinion, the Toyota Sienna looks rather elegant. The black leather seats are attractive and comfortable. The center console has an attractive layout with soft touch materials and wood grain. I just wish the tires looked a bit beefier and maybe they chose a different rim style.

However, the next Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition will offer a more rugged look. Until then, forget the old stereotypes of minivans. The Toyota Sienna isn’t a slow mom-mobile at all.

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota Sienna is the spaceship you never knew you needed


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