Monday, 28 November 2022

Hybrid-only 2021 Toyota Sienna delivers strong fuel mileage, spacious interior Featured

Posted On Sunday, 17 October 2021 00:01 Written by
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The Toyota Sienna gets a full reinvention for 2021, going hybrid-only and getting a new complete redesign. The Toyota Sienna gets a full reinvention for 2021, going hybrid-only and getting a new complete redesign. Photo courtesy of Toyota

To say the 2021 Toyota Sienna is brand new would be an understatement.

Between its bold new exterior design and its new hybrid-only power plant, Toyota is swinging for the fences with this latest version of its long-running minivan — looking to distance itself and stand out from the rest of the minivan pack.

I recently spent time in a 2021 Toyota Sienna, and I’m back with a full report on how these bold new changes worked.

LOOKS

MInivans aren’t known for being lookers, but I was pleasantly surprised when the 2021 Sienna showed up in my driveway with its sharp red paint scheme.

With bold and aggressive styling and lines added throughout the exterior, from the grille to the rear and sides of the vehicle, it’s a machine that definitely grabs your eye much more than the previous iterations of the Sienna. Of all the current minivans for sale, the only one that has caught my eye more is the new Kia Carnival, but the Sienna is running a close second and outshines the remaining competitors’ designs.



The Sienna features 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with auto on/off, hands-free dual power sliding side doors, a power liftgate, and a power moonroof.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna can fit either 7 or 8 passengers, depending if the second row is a bench or the optional Captain’s Chairs. I tested a version with seating for 7 and the Captain’s Chairs, which slide back and forth, and was thoroughly impressed with the roomy and versatile interior setup.

With all three rows of seats up, the Sienna will provide 33.5 cubic feet of storage space for cargo. WIth the third row down, that number grows to 75.2 cubic feet, and with the second row also down, you hit triple digits with 101 cubic feet of space. Those are impressive numbers. This versatility of seating and storage is key for families and a big draw to the Sierra and minivans in general.

While the 2nd-row bench will allow for the most passengers (8), the setup with Captain's chairs offers the most roominess. And as an aside, the Captain’s Chairs provide such a strong experience you might have people wanting to sit in the 2nd row instead of calling shotgun.

Regardless of setup, all passengers will have plenty of head room and leg room, but best to keep the third row to your smallest passengers.

There’s also tons of storage space inside the vehicle. You get a big shelf up front for storage in addition to the center bin, for example. High-quality materials are used inside the vehicle, more than you would expect from a nonluxury ride.

The vehicle offers four-zone automatic climate control, Softex-trimmed seats, plus heated and power front seats.

HOW’S THE RIDE? 

The Toyota Sienna comes into 2021 with a brand new powertrain, and going hybrid is your only option. This move was made to boost fuel economy and stand out from its competitors.

The Sienna is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder hybrid engine, paired with either two or three electric motors depending on whether you choose FWD or AWD. The system is paired with an electronic Continuously Variable Transmission, and the Sienna features a Sport-tuned Suspension.

The total output from this hybrid system is 245 net horsepower, and 288 pound-feet of torque.

These numbers, while decent, are not overly powerful, but they will still get you moving at a decent pace. Sport mode is also available to help out the experience a bit. I was a bit disappointed in the braking, which took longer than I expected at times.

Overall, the driving experience is decent and the vehicle handles well. Just understand that this ride (and all minivans, really) are about utility, not power. To get the extra fuel economy with this hybrid, you’re going to sacrifice some oomph … but that’s probably acceptable for a lot of minivan buyers.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY 

The 2021 Toyota Sienna offers an intuitive infotainment system that is very easy to use, both through touch controls and voice commands. It featured a 9-inch touchscreen, Navigation, Bluetooth streaming for phone and music, SiriusXM satellite radio with 3-month trial, and there are 6 USB ports in the vehicle. The Sienna is also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for phone mirroring.

There’s also an optional Rear Seat Entertainment System offered, featuring a 1080p HD Entertainment Center with 11.6-inch display, HDMI input, remote control and two pairs of wireless headphones.

One optional package adds wireless smartphone charging, black roof rails, and upgraded audio system including subwoofer and amplifier. 

Since minivans are primarily family vehicles, safety will be top of mind for buyers. Toyota has you covered with a ton of strong safety features, including:
— Rear Seat Reminder (lets you know to check the back seats before leaving the vehicle)
— Front and Rear Parking Assist with Auto Brake 
— Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, including: Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, and road sign assist
— LATCH system for child seats
— Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert


MPG 

Being a hybrid, the fuel economy numbers on the Sienna have high expectations from potential buyers, and they live up to those expectations.

Official numbers are 35 city/36 highway/35 combined. In real-world testing, I averaged 33.1, but used sport mode regularly, so the number would grow with more conservative driving.

The Sienna easily beats its non-hybrid competition in fuel mileage easily, but has one strong competitor in this arena. The Chrysler Pacifica offers a plug-in hybrid which offers 32 miles of all-electric driving, 82 MPGe (combined gas and electric), and 30 MPG from the gas engine alone. Keep in mind that the price for the Pacifica plug-in hybrid also starts at over $40K.

Another interesting number: The Pacifica hybrid can go 520 miles on a full tank of gas (and a full electric charge), but the Sienna can go over 600 miles on a tank of gas.
 

PRICE

The 2021 Toyota Sienna I tested had all the bells and whistles and was priced just over $48,000; its base price starts around $35K. This price range is similar to what you’ll find from competitors like the Kia Carnival, Chrysler Pacifica (nonhybrid), and Honda Odyssey, and as mentioned above it’s a lower starting price than the Pacifica hybrid. 

With the 2021 Sienna’s strong fuel mileage, you will also save long-term on gas prices. Also, keep in mind that Toyota’s strong reliability likely means a long vehicle life.

BOTTOM LINE

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is one of the strongest minivan options on the market, with its new, unique hybrid-only approach. It will get you far on a tank of gas and is designed for maximum versatility of use for you and the family. Even against stiff competition like the brand new Kia Carnival, it holds up very well and is worth a test drive. 

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Toyota Sienna  
  • Price as tested: $48,029 (starts around $35K) 
  • Best feature: Spacious and well-designed interior, bold new exterior redesign, hybrid fuel mileage  
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Minivan lovers who want a versatile family vehicle with strong fuel mileage 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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