The Toyota Sienna is one of the most popular minivans in the United States. This is due to a few innovative features and advancements in safety and practicality, which means anyone looking for a cheap and usable minivan will be hard pressed to find a better one.
Since its inception in the late ’90s, the Sienna has paved the way for minivans around the world and made transporting families much easier. Below are some things you need to know about the Toyota Sienna and some things you might have forgotten about this high-performance van.
Although this is a Japanese minivan, you might be surprised to find out that the Toyota Sienna is actually made in the USA and was officially designed to replace the hugely popular Previa.
Since the late 1990s, the Sienna has been manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, based in Princeton, Indiana, and the Sienna is still manufactured there today.
Being a minivan, some expectations come in the form of safety. It would of course be unwise for anyone to transport their family into something dangerous, and luckily the Sienna excels in that regard.
So much so, in fact, that the Toyota Sienna has won awards for its safety. In 2011, the Sienna won the “Top Safety Pick” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Sienna’s impressive number of safety systems has even earned it a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.
Even those less familiar with the world of minivans have heard of, or quite possibly even known, someone who has owned one at some point. The Sienna has been one of the top choices for mainstream MPVs since the late 1990s.
Between the years 2000 and 2019, the Sienna sold a minimum of over 73,000 vehicles each year. In some years the car has even managed to exceed 163,000 units sold in one year as in 2006, making it immensely popular.
To give a little insight into what makes this MPV so popular, you have to look at its history and previous models. As previously stated, the Sienna replaces the Previa and has been manufactured since 1997.
The name derives from the Italian city of Siena, which is in the region of Tuscany. The Sienna was launched with a 3.0-liter V6 engine, producing a high-performance 194 horsepower. The Sienna’s initial base was the Toyota Camry as it shared the same platform, which even led it to be dubbed the “Camry of Minivans”, further increasing the vehicle’s popularity by capitalizing on the success of the Camry. Since 1997, there have been four generations of Toyota Sienna, and they are as popular as ever.
Another part of the Sienna’s success comes from its fuel efficiency. It’s important for families to be able to save money wherever they can, and Toyota knows it, which is why making the Sienna fuel efficient is paramount.
As an example, the 2021 Sienna’s combined 36 mpg fuel mileage far outperforms any rival vehicle and not only that, it even manages to outperform much smaller subcompact vehicles like the Nissan Versa and Kia. Rio, although they are much larger and heavier. .
One of the most interesting features of the new models of the Sienna comes in the form of its integrated vacuum cleaner. Toyota definitely knows its target market and where minivans appear, as do less careful kids.
Families will have a much easier time dealing with the mess caused by groups of children or even particularly messy adults, as Toyota engineers have installed a vacuum cleaner under the Sienna’s console. It has been fitted here for convenience and also to save space in the rear of the vehicle.
The seating of a van is probably the most important factor. Of course, having a vehicle that is fuel efficient, fun to drive, and convenient means absolutely nothing if you can’t house your family in it, and Toyota’s Sienna is one of the best in the game.
For added comfort and convenience, the new Sienna goes above and beyond the expectations of second-row passengers. The aptly named captain’s chairs from the Toyota offering feature a long slide allowing an additional 25 inches of space, creating unprecedented legroom. Even taller than average passengers should have no problem stretching their legs. Second, the seats can help improve cargo space with built-in slide and fold features.
As a relatively bold move by Toyota, the Sienna’s V6 is now completely abandoned in favor of a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid powertrain. A battery pack is now placed under the front seats, and some added motor-generators now help provide variable transmission.
The result of this change gives the Sienna just 243 hp. Better yet, and more importantly, this setup now significantly improves fuel economy. The newer Sienna also features an EV mode, allowing the driver to travel short distances on electricity alone.
For potential customers who need or want to drive in particularly difficult terrain, the 2021 Toyota Sienna is also available with all-wheel drive. On top of that, it’s even available on any version of the Sienna.
Unlike more typical systems, the Sienna is fully electric with a separate motor powering the rear wheels when needed and when taking off from a stop. This system can actually send up to 80% of the power to the rear wheels alone, which makes it very versatile.
Convenience and storage
Finally, another important aspect of any van is its storage capacities. A large number of passengers often means a large amount of luggage and tackling this vast cargo space is vital.
All versions of the Sienna should be able to provide more than enough space for luggage and groceries, and more. Newer models even have additional features like the ability to move or fold the seats, providing more space than ever before. When it comes to practicality, the Sienna is hard to match which is why it has been so popular for over two decades now.
Many boring cars are given a second life as thrill machines when modified by the right people, and minivans are no exception!
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