BraunAbility has unveiled a wheelchair-accessible conversion for the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid van. The company, which specializes in these conversions, says the Sienna is the first hybrid conversion widely available to users with disabilities.
It also means that the Sienna Hybrid will likely have the highest gas mileage of any wheelchair accessible vans. A press release from BraunAbility cited the same EPA combined fuel economy of 36 mpg as the stock version, which is also rated at 36 mpg in city and highway test cycles.
These numbers apply to front-drive Sienna hybrid models, but Toyota also offers an all-wheel-drive version rated at 35 mpg combined (35 mpg city, 36 mpg highway). BraunAbility did not specifically mention the availability of an all-wheel drive conversion.
Toyota first announced the project last summer, and the engineering team said the project had been considered throughout the development of the current generation Sienna, launched as a 2021 model and offered exclusively in as a hybrid. BraunAbility said 55,000 engineering hours were spent on the conversion.
Toyota Sienna 2021
The changes included a 3.0-inch extension of the passenger-side sliding door and additional clearance around the driver’s position to accommodate the widest wheelchairs, and a folding ramp for wheelchair access.
The conversion of the Sienna Hybrid gives people with disabilities and their caregivers the opportunity to benefit from fuel savings, one of the reasons Toyota hybrid owners tend to keep their vehicles for a long time. This is the only option for a hybrid van because, to our knowledge, no wheelchair conversion for the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid is available.
Toyota has another hybrid van, but it is not sold in the United States. The Toyota Esquire Hybrid launched in 2014 for the Japanese market, powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric motor, producing a combined output of 134 horsepower.
While its raised ride height likely makes it unsuitable for wheelchair conversions, the current Toyota Highlander Hybrid offers minivan-like passenger capacity (it seats seven people in three rows), with the same 36 mpg combined as the Sienna Hybrid.