Toyota called the previous generation a “swagger wagon,” and the all-new Sienna takes that to a whole new level. It does that by offering an experience that draws inspiration from the Highlander, making drivers feel like they are driving a capable SUV, rather than a traditional minivan.
The 2021 Sienna was designed by the joint effort of CALTY’s Newport Beach, California and Ann Arbor, Michigan studios with the goal of delivering a combination of room, comfort, convenience, fuel efficiency, and versatility previously unheard of for this segment.
However, the most groundbreaking addition is the hybrid powertrain that pairs the high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine along with two permanent-magnet synchronous motors to provide 243 hp (181 kW; 246 PS) and return a benchmark-setting manufacturer-estimated 33 MPG (7.1 liters per 100km) combined fuel economy.
The gas engine offers a thermal efficiency of 41%, one of the highest of any ICE-powered automobiles on the market. It uses Toyota’s innovative variable valve timing-intelligent system by electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and the established VVT-i technology on the exhaust camshaft. It also packs an electric water pump and thermostat as well as a fully variable oil pump.
For added convenience, the powertrain does not require conventional recharging from an external power source. The Toyota Hybrid System II charges the battery pack automatically as the vehicle drives using regenerative capabilities.
This offers the same gas-and-go experience and power as previous models, requiring fewer stops to refuel, thanks to the smaller, more efficient, and environmentally-friendly powertrain.
Performance and efficiency can be controlled through four driver-selectable modes. EV allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances; Eco can be used to maximize fuel and battery efficiency; Normal is designed to balance performance and efficiency for everyday driving; and Sport boosts acceleration and offers agile handling.
A 7-inch display built in the instrument panel includes a Hybrid System Indicator that shows system output and regeneration status, encouraging eco-driving through a video game-like scoring function.
It distributes torque dynamically, as required by driving and road conditions, promising to prevent front-wheel slip, reduce understeer, and offer a safer driving experience.
The 2021 Sienna is available in Toyota dealerships nationwide, with prices starting at $34,460. Apart from the hybrid powertrain, it brings advanced safety features like Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite or blind-spot monitoring as standard on all trims. It also retains the towing capabilities of previous models, being able to haul up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg).