Even if this isn’t your cup of tea, you can’t deny that the interior design of the new Toyota Sienna diverges surprisingly from the minivan standard. That he finds himself in Siena, an entry forever conservative in the most conservative of segments, is all the more surprising. It’s as if Toyota’s designers stumbled upon a Previa in the company’s museum and found inspiration. As we go through our full review of the 2021 Toyota Sienna, this is one of the main reasons to consider this all-new minivan.
The best thing about this new design is that it helps you forget you’re driving a van, a fact that can be a bit depressing for those who have come to the ultimate family transporter segment screaming and screaming. The raised touchscreen is tilted towards the driver. The center console is also tall and comparable to a car’s steering wheel, with a traditional gear lever instead of a rotary knob (Chrysler Pacifica) or odd button arrangement (Honda Odyssey).
Now that new styling and car-like design is fine for the perception, but what about the functionality? After all, the Sienna is still a minivan and 100% of buyers will get one because of its oversized functionality compared to other types of vehicles. Well, the answer is, not only does the new Sienna not betray the end goal of a practicality minivan, it actually improves it. Prepare for a deep dive.
Let’s start with this center console. Traditionally, vans had an open space between the front legs with some sort of storage space between the seats. The Kia Sedona was the first minivan to offer a center console more like that of a car or SUV, but it sacrificed that open space between the pits. The Chrysler Pacifica (bottom right) attempted to divide the difference with a âfloatingâ center console that has an open area underneath. The Sienna (below left) builds on this concept with a noticeably larger and more useful area under the console.
One of the attractions of this open space is the possibility of accommodating a handbag (my mother used to love the floor open in her Honda CR-V 97 for this very reason), and as you may know, a mom’s purse can get terribly big. In this case, bigger is better.
The Sienna’s space is indeed large enough to store a purse and, as such, can keep it off the floor or out of a seat. I didn’t have a handbag handy, but this Skip Hop changing bag should be a nice addition.
And since we have this bag handy, let’s use it to show off the space you have in the center console bin.
A smaller handbag will therefore also find its place, just like the Yeti bottle pictured above.
OK, let’s step into the console and start dealing with the cup holders.
The Sienna has four cup holders in its center console. The two main ones are large enough to hold this Yeti, while the two smaller, covered cup holders are perfect for a can or coffee mug. Each of these areas also has additional storage space.
The trash can lid leaves a thin rectangular channel open so you can store things like wallets or hand sanitizer or a mask or whatever. I found it to be very handy, especially since these items usually ended up in a cup holder. The one on the front is probably suitable for a smartphone, but not exclusively, especially given what is behind …
Borrow a page from the last Highlander, the Sienna has a shelf that spans the dashboard from the steering wheel to the passenger door. This is where the available wireless charger resides, with small bumpers on either side. Unfortunately, the USB / media port is also up there, which means that if you connect your phone with a wire (needed for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), that wire winds around that shelf or hangs down in the foot area. I would prefer that one of the charging ports only in the center console bin was the media connection, especially since there are both USB-C and USB-A connectors.
There is another small tray on the left side of the steering wheel, much like the interior of the Toyota RAV4.
Here is the front door. There is a small halfway up bin for anything (more hand sanitizer?) And two bottle holders. It was a bit tight for the Yeti, but he’s also quite tall and wide. Two could still fit in each door, which means you could have six of those suction cups in the single front seating area. And two cups of coffee. Hope the road has restrooms along the way.
Let’s move on to the second line.
At the back of the center console is this plastic floor unit which, yes, can hold two more Yetis. There’s also a small tray on the front of the two cupholders, plus one of the Sienna’s two house-style sockets (the other is in the charging area) and an HDMI port. Two USB ports are above.
Each sliding door has another Yetiholder and this bin the size of a phone.
Each captain’s chair then has that mesh cup / bottle holder. At first glance, they might seem a little weird, but once you use them and realize how much they can expand to accommodate a variety of bottle sizes (bring this Nalgene M. Snyder bottle!) They can be enjoyed as a simple refreshing and effective solution. They don’t take up a lot of space and aren’t hinged plastic parts that will inevitably break. I guess the elastic can start to wear out after a while, so there is that potential downside.
The Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica have several integrated pockets in the backs of the front seats for various items, including headphones and entertainment system remotes. The Sienna just has a simple card pocket design. A rare opportunity missed here in Siena. Oh, and by the way, the Sienna has a one-screen entertainment system. The Pacifica continues to reign supreme with its twin screens.
Let’s move on to the caboose.
The third row is a no-go zone at the Yeti. Although there are four cup holders, none are large enough to store this artillery shell which contains water. Oddly enough, the size of the cup holders actually differs on each side.
The ones on the right have one the size of a standard soda can (top left), but the other is the size of a Red Bull.
On the left side, however, the two cup holders are the same size and capable of holding a regular soda can. By the way, Canada Dry Bold is delicious.
So fans, if you’re scoring at home, the 2021 Toyota Sienna has 18 cup holders. Twelve of these are big enough for a large water bottle, five are the size of a can, and one is for the caffeine-hungry kid in row 3.
And finally, in the loading area …
There are grocery bag hooks in the third row seatbacks, as well as a large open space. This would be where the vacuum in the van is supposed to go, but has been delayed due to supplier shortages linked to the pandemic. So while it’s a loaded Sienna Platinum at $ 53,000 (!), It lacks the vacuum. It sucks. Or, literally, it isn’t.
So this is it. If that doesn’t satisfy your insatiable appetite for the Toyota Sienna cup holder and trash can contents, I’m afraid nothing will.