Auto123 gets a first 2021 Toyota Sienna Review.
Kingston, ON – Manufacturers today only have eyes for utility models and pickup trucks. Today’s passenger vehicle has become synonymous with flexibility, load capacity and even sturdiness! This has come at the expense of cars, which have lost ground at a remarkable rate in recent seasons. So what about the MPV category? The format’s market share is actually quite stable, after all there is a good portion of the population that needs a practical vehicle for everyday use.
It is not for nothing that new generations of existing MPV models are relatively rare. Consumers sold on the format will continue to buy them, regardless of their lines or type of motorization that is not very trendy; for them, space is the key factor. But we could soon witness a very interesting duel between two hybrid MPVs: the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (with a plug-in configuration) and the new generation Toyota Sienna, which, from model year 2021, goes into configuration hybrid on all its garnishes.
For the first time in the category, the space available inside may not be the only deciding factor for buyers. As the industry largely shifts to electric mobility, people carriers will be called upon to reduce their ecological footprint like everyone else. And on that point – it’s worth noting that few of the minivans that Chrysler sells are PHEV variants – Toyota has potentially taken the lead.
Models for everyone … with a budget of $ 40,000 +
It’s been a few years now that no one considered minivans to be super affordable vehicles. Namely, this year marks the end of the iconic – and truly affordable – Dodge Grand Caravan lineup.
The starting asking price for the 2020 Toyota Sienna was just over $ 35,000 in its most affordable trim, and the upward price trend is expected to continue: the Sienna LE starts at $ 39,990 for 2021. Rest assured, however, this entry-level Sienna is not as devoid of equipment as the Sienna CE models of the past. At that time, the hubcap was the most memorable detail on the exterior of the model. No, the 2021 Sienna LE comes with 17-inch wheels, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power sliding doors (yep!), Tri-zone climate control, push-button start and a multifunction 4.2-inch screen, plus a central 9-inch screen. Even better for those who want all-wheel drive, it’s available on all trim levels, even the base Sienna LE. The additional charges here are $ 2,000 manageable.
For $ 42,990, the front-wheel drive Sienna XLE is certainly better equipped to accommodate the masses with SofTex seats, a sunroof, 18-inch wheels, two long-sliding second-row captain’s chairs – more on those later – a smart key, foot-operated tailgate and side doors (which actually work!), and even a four-zone automatic climate system. Here, the all-wheel-drive system increases the price of the Sienna XLE to $ 45,390 and results in the additional cost of a seat (reducing the total from eight to seven), due to weight considerations.
Above the XLE sits the sportier-looking XSE with 20-inch wheels for the front-wheel drive model and 18-inch wheels for the XSE AWD. The price of admission here is $ 45,690, and $ 47,690 if you want all-wheel drive. The XSE takes what you get with the XLE and adds premium LED headlights, sporty suspension, and sporty front and rear fascias, not to mention Toyota Connected Services with integrated navigation. The tech group increases the net cost to $ 51,190 or $ 53,190 depending on the type of transmission, and adds some equipment reserved for the most luxurious edition of the range.
At the top of the scale is the Sienna Limited and it is priced at $ 56,190 with front-wheel drive or $ 58,190 with all-wheel drive. This is where you get the highest level of luxury, at least until the Platinum finish arrives in 2022. We know this is happening because Toyota Canada has confirmed that an upgrade is underway. for next year, so buyers can get a Sienna with even a small fridge and central vacuum!
For now, the Limited gets leather upholstery, heating for the two second row captains, ventilation for the front seats, digital rear-view mirror, JBL 12-speaker audio system with rear entertainment, sound system Clearance with pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic detection with braking, as well as the front lower view system.
A new interior
While the more expressive exterior design is certainly appreciated, it’s the interior of a minivan that really matters. A real living room on wheels for those long journeys, today’s family van must be spacious, comfortable and connected, at the very least! Then, while it’s not the most desirable feature of a minivan, an enjoyable driving experience is the icing on the cake. And it is present here, even if the 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine is mated to a CVT-type transmission.
In the front row, a lot of work has been done to hide the âuncoolâ shape of the vehicle. The new instrument panel here adopts a linear form, mimicking the brand’s latest models with a large central display on the controls of the air conditioning system. What stands out more, however, is the super tall center console that spans the dashboard, leaving an ideal space for a purse or whatever else you prefer to keep close to you.
Of course, there’s no shortage of cup holders aboard the Sienna, which has 15 in the LE and 16 in all other trims, or storage space in the doors and cabin panels. Same story for the USB ports, (there are three A ports and three C ports), not including the socket (s), depending on the model.
Unsurprisingly, the workmanship is excellent, and the few hours I have spent behind the wheel have confirmed to me that Toyota still attaches proper importance to this aspect. However, I did hear some body noises and these were not caused by damaged pavement. Nothing major I can say, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it.
- Out back, the presence of those long-slide captain’s chairs almost makes you want to jump into the limo, as there’s a ton of legroom when the seats are placed in the rearmost position. However, they can no longer be removed to transport the legendary 4’x8 ‘board – although the builder claims that it is always possible to lug one around with a little resourcefulness. It should also be mentioned that the third bench is much lighter, which makes it easier to handle when you want to fold it into the ground. One downside: Rear visibility is affected by the Sienna’s more outgoing design.
A 4-cylinder engine under the hood?
Unlike Chrysler, which chose to combine its V6 engine with plug-in hybrid technology in the Pacifica PHEV, Toyota prefers its good old-fashioned hybrid powertrain without a charging cable. Here we find the same powertrain as in other recent Toyota hybrids (Highlander, RAV4 and Venza), a 2.5L naturally aspirated powertrain with Atkinson cycle coupled to a pair of electric motors and a nickel metal hydride battery. under the front seats, good for 245 hp. For four-wheel drive versions, the number of electric motors jumps to three with the additional motor working on the second axle.
The outgoing Sienna’s V6 delivered a very respectable 296 horsepower, and so the next-gen model, almost identical in weight, gets less raw horsepower to play with. And yet, I found myself hardly at all embarrassed by it. Yes, it’s true that a 4-cylinder isn’t as throaty as a naturally aspirated V6, and the continuously variable transmission makes engine complaints audible during acceleration, but the typical minivan driver isn’t looking. an exceptional driving experience.
In any case, apart from the increasing number of decibels during acceleration, the rest of the driving is smooth, because that is the advantage of a CVT: once at highway speed, you can hardly hear the mechanical. Best of all, being smoother with the right pedal means you’ll be able to drive with ease.
Where the new Sienna shines is in the rigidity of its chassis, which is of the new generation based on the TNGA platform. The firmness is felt at the wheel, for example when approaching tight bends while the Sienna is simply more reassuring.
Clearly, someone at Toyota has convinced senior management that the van segment needs to be attacked with determination. After all, the withdrawal of the Dodge Grand Caravan opens a gap in the category, and Toyota’s offering is very compelling, even if the asking price is a bit high at the base of the trim scale. The technological content included partly justifies this, especially since the owners’ monthly fuel bill will be lower with this new generation of the model.
While the official figures of 6.5 L / 100 km and 6.7 L / 100 km (for two and four-wheel drive models respectively) can be difficult to record daily in the real world – note that I managed to register 6.6 L / 100 km while being very careful with the right pedal – an average of 7.5 L and 7.7 L / 100 km should be easily achieved without any driving restraint. Remember, we’re talking about a minivan here, not a hybrid subcompact!
The fuel consumption of a compact sedan
The rigidity of the chassis
The wide choice of toppings
We like less
The absence of a spare wheel on all versions except the LE version
Second row seats cannot be removed
Reduced rear visibility
Chrysler Grand Caravan / Pacifica
2021 Toyota Sienna pictures