The Toyota Sienna goes all hybrid for 2021
Optional second row seats can slide 25 inches and feature an ottoman
It can still fit a 4x8 sheet of plywood
The Toyota Sienna minivan is entering its fourth generation in 2021. It takes cues from the new Highlander SUV, including the more upright shape and wild-looking fender flares. Additionally, the Sienna, like the Venza SUV will only be available with a hybrid and CVT. Upgraded models also feature super sliding first-class quality seats with a flip out ottoman, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
"For Sienna, it made sense to make it all-hybrid based on current sales trends and to ensure it stands out in the segment," said Toyota. "In addition to fuel efficiency, the range provided by this hybrid powertrain will allow Sienna drivers more time on the road with their families and friends. We have seen a much stronger demand for hybrid powertrains in our vehicles. RAV4 Hybrid sales have risen from 10% to more than 25% of total sales and Highlander Hybrid is projected to be 20% of total Highlander sales."
And Toyota isn't the only one. We expect the next Jaguar XJ to be all electrified, the Porsche Macan going there, the Hyundai Ioniq is all green and even the next Lamborghini Aventador will have some form of hybridization. And since solar is now cheaper to produce electricity than fossil fuels, the dominoes should start to fall quicker.
The 2021 Sienna will sport Toyota’s 2.5-liter “Dynamic Force” four along with a 1.9kWh battery. The combination provides 245 net hp. That’s down from last year’s V6, but Toyota says it's because the old output was measured at the crankshaft, and this one is measured at the wheels, the contrast isn’t as stark as you expect. And, as we saw in our preview drive, the Sienna feels extra quick off the line and just fine for high-speed expressway cruising. Unfortunately, the hybrid/CVT combo is still a little louder than expected in the cabin, and the brakes still have a spongy feel as the regen system works its magic.
All-wheel drive is offered on all trims and drops combined mileage from 36 mpg to 35 mpg. Torque split to the rear ranges from 0 to 80 percent on those models.
Base Sienna LE trim highlights include blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, dual power sliding doors, three-zone climate control and a 9.2-inch touchscreen. The upgraded XLE trim adds hands-free doors, front and rear parking assist, moonroof, LED fog lights and four-zone climate control.
The second row seats have a 25 inch slide, meaning the kids can swing their legs with impunity. If you step up to the Platinum or Limited trim, those seats can include an ottoman, making even the longest drives an exercise in relaxation. For the kids. You’ll probably be driving.
Moving further up the trim line, the sporty XSE gets black accents and wheels, premium audio, LED daytime running lights and a sport-tuned suspension. The Limited trim adds a better audio system, integrated backup camera, wireless charging, chrome roof rails and a 7-inch driver information display. Finally, the Platinum trim comes with full LED headlights, 20-inch metallic wheels, bird’s eye view camera, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel and a 10-inch head up display. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on all grades.
I drove the Sienna, exactly the green one pictured, over a weekend and the interior front seat and instrument panel area were gorgeous with the cool gray woodgrain bridge, Barcalounger seats and more storage space than you’ll ever need. No big family outings were planned, so the cargo area was empty, but Toyota does note that with the seats folded and slid, a few 4x8 sheets of plywood will fit in a pinch.
The standard 9-inch touchscreen features redundant button on the side and the climate control is thankfully in a separate panel. Having to sift through touchscreen menus to turn the heat up is a pain. The digital mirror uses a camera to project what’s behind you in a wider view, and is a nice touch but takes some getting used to.
Back to the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, it now includes full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control and lane tracing assist to keep you centered in the lane. Both features have been improved since the last Sienna. There's also pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams and road sign assist.
The Honda Odyssey leads the minivan category by a wide margin, with Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica fighting for second place. My family has a non-hybrid Pacifica and we love it, but if we were leasing again now, it would be a tight race between the two. The Honda Odyssey is great and useful—all minivans are—but I think it would come in third on my list. However, I will buy ANYTHING that’s painted in this green color. The Pacifica would look great in it, as would the Odyssey, as would my Mustang and Pontiac StarChief. And my house.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna LE starts at $34,460; the XLE, which will be the bulk of sales, stickers for $39,750 and the top Platinum model will start at $49,900. All-wheel drive is $2,000. It goes on sale in November.