Spending time with the 2021 Toyota Sienna AWD absolutely upset me in unusual ways.
I’m not much of a hybrid fan, but the 2021 Toyota Sienna AWD is the most logical, utility, and family-friendly vehicle that has a hybrid power plant. Honestly, I was blown away by its ridiculous efficiency. It makes so much sense to me now.
When I first heard that Toyota was going all-hybrid on their minivans, I thought it was a bad idea. My experience has taught me that many people who need minivans opt for efficient mobility for large families. That’s something a ton of other automakers kind of forgot about, and now you have minivans that can hit the $ 50,000 zone. It’s ridiculous.
Yet those same automakers have entry-level models that are (usually) well priced. This is where I thought Toyota would fumble, because hybrid technology is expensive. I was wrong. A basic model Toyota Sienna 2021 hybrid with front-wheel drive starts at $ 34,460. It’s not too bad for all the standard tech you get. All-wheel drive models cost an additional $ 2,000.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna AWD has some interesting numbers
Toyota salvaged its old V6 and installed a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that developed 189 horsepower. Then they added a 180 horsepower electric motor. Everything is connected to Toyota’s planetary gear system, which gives you a combined output of 245 hp. It weighs 4,610 to 4,725 pounds – depending on the model and whether you’ve added all-wheel drive.
Towing is listed at a maximum weight of 3,500 pounds.
The Sienna can hold up to 33.5 cubic feet behind the third row and up to 101 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded up. While the rear seats (third row) fold flat, the second row slides forward.
Let’s talk about the all-wheel drive of the Toyota Sienna 2021
Despite being a brand new minivan, the 2021 Sienna uses old technology, and that’s a good thing. The all-wheel drive (AWD) system is basically the same setup as in the RAV4 and Highlander hybrids. That is, it is already tested and perfected, much like the hybrid system itself. We have tested all of Toyota’s 4 × 4 / AWD hybrid crossovers with this system, and they all worked well.
There is no mechanical connection between the main power source and the rear wheels. No drive shaft and no transfer case. The Sienna AWD has an independent electric motor that powers the rear wheels when additional traction is needed. This system operates at all vehicle speeds and is fully automatic.
With smart packaging and the elimination of heavy mechanical end caps, the overall penalty for having a Sienna AWD is minimal. The regular Sienna hybrid gets up to 36 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway – and 36 combined. The 2021 Toyota Sienna AWD is rated at 35 mpg combined. It’s insanely good, and the range with the 18 gallon tank can exceed 600 miles.
The van (which has the aerodynamic qualities of a toaster) averaged 34 mpg in aggressive driving.
Drive the box
Of course, minivans aren’t fun to drive. This Sienna is no exception. In the past, we have even raced against the current Honda Odyssey. It was a boring race, sure, but it wasn’t fair to either vehicle. The purpose of a minivan is to transport comfortably, to be utilitarian, and (hopefully) to be economical to drive. The Sienna AWD is all that – shovel.
Sure, the Pacifica AWD can haul it, and upcoming minivans from Kia and Hyundai look promising, but this Sienna AWD is definitely the new leader. The ride is the best I have sampled in a hybrid and minivan. It moves intelligently, but you have no sense of direction. The brakes can be a bit sensitive, but I figured it out after just one day.
We moved a lot of items with this van and I also carried my little ones. On top of that, I considered stealing Tommy’s old Mini Cooper clone – because I think it could fit inside. Fearing an oil leak from the Mini and Tommy having an anxiety attack, I chose to stick with normal things – like EV quads. In an upcoming video, you’ll see this pickup truck hauling some cool stuff.
Verdict: we are one step away from perfection
As I said before, this hybrid makes perfect sense to me. Sure, our premium Cypress-colored Platinum is priced at $ 52,000, but you can save a ton of paste and get an LE or SE – with AWD. It is remarkably economical, spacious as an airplane hangar and very comfortable on the highway. Smart from start to finish.
The only other issue I have had with this pickup is its appearance. In 2021, I know for sure that there are manner nicer minivans out there. Toyota’s insistence on a massive grille undermines the image of this vehicle.