2021 Toyota Sienna

PHOENIX — With its completely redesigned Sienna minivan for 2021, Toyota takes a bold new step by making it exclusively a four-cylinder hybrid through all five trim levels — LE, XLE, Limited, Platinum and our tested mid-level XSE. As a hybrid, the Sienna is the most fuel-efficient minivan in America with a combined EPA fuel rating of 36 mpg. By comparison, the 2021 Honda Odyssey minivan gets 22 mpg in city-highway combined.

Along with the hybrid change, styling is also a new with a more exciting contemporary design in an attempt to shed its historically frumpy image.  We like the more stylish and massive wide-mouth grille, sliver-thin headlamps and chiseled exterior front, side and back sheet metal design. It’s a thoroughly modern and attractive minivan.

Ditto for the restyled interior that includes a whopping 18-cupholders, deep storage spaces in the center console and between the seats, a built-in vacuum, and unlike the Odyssey and Pacifica Hybrid minivans the optional second-row captain’s chairs are not removable; however, they do slide fore-and-aft just over two feet for limo plus legroom for rear-seat riders.

The powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter gasoline-powered four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors that combine to make 243 horsepower. Power is delivered through a continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available and adds a third electric motor in back that drives the rear wheels. The Sienna's main rival, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, is offered solely with front-wheel drive, but its V-6 engine and electric motors make 260 horsepower.

Vehicle infotainment is courtesy Toyota’s latest 9.0-inch touchscreen display interface which stands upright on the instrument panel like a laptop just above the climate controls. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa connectivity features are all standard, and seven USB ports dot the van's cabin. Toyota provides SiriusXM satellite radio and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot as well.

While fuel economy is the highlight, engine performance leaves us wanting for more. Acceleration is uninspiring taking nearly 8-seconds to reach 60 mph and 16-seconds to complete the quarter-mile run. It’s the slowest performance from all the minivans we’ve tested. We liked the handling with responsive steering and braking inputs. Ride is comfortable and easily handled broken pavement and potholes sans adventure.

Standard safety features include Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 including forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert and a standard rear seat minder to check the back rows for children when exiting the van.

Overall, the all-new Sienna is a significant leap forward and heavily refined over the outgoing Sienna model and the most advanced yet that’s loaded with family-focused technology and features.  Still, it falls short of the minivan class offerings.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $42,000
Price as Tested: $46,452
What Makes it go: 243-hp combined gasoline and a pair of electric motors connected to a continuously variable automatic transmission.
EPA Fuel Economy: 36/36/36 – mpg - City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 7 or 8

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety highest possible 2021 Top Safety Pick+. It has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as of this writing.

Where Built: Princeton, Indiana

Competes With:
Chrysler Pacifica
Honda Odyssey
Kia Sedona

Fab Features
Class leading fuel economy
Available all-wheel drive
Upscale new styling

— Jim Prueter