Built on Toyota’s TNGA-K platform, the Sienna has a brand new chassis and electrical system. The revised architecture allowed Toyota’s designers to recraft the exterior of the Sienna. Check out the defined rear haunches, gaping front grille and sharply creased tail lamps. Very SUV-esque one might say. Specifically, Toyota was inspired by the Shinkansen Japanese Bullet Train for the front end. Sleek and confident were the words used. I agree.
Another headlining change is the hybrid only powertrain. As in, no more regular gasoline engine. All Sienna’s will now be powered by an inline-4 joined by a pair of electric motors putting out a combined 243 horsepower. Toyota is touting the fuel economy of this setup, which is impressive at upwards of 36 mpg. However, they run the risk of alienating customers that specifically want a big V6.
Fortunately, the all-wheel drive option remains with the 2021 Sienna. Worth noting is the lack of a transfer case and rear driveshaft with this AWD system. Instead, there is a separate electronically activated motor that puts power to the wheels that need it instantaneously. A simple and efficient design.
In a somewhat perplexing move, the new Sienna comes with the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) active safety suite, just not the latest version. While there is a TSS 2.5 on other Toyota models, this minivan comes with the previous iteration, 2.0. That being said, it is standard and duly impressive. The Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, in concert with Lane Trace Assist and Lane Departure Alert, can give the driver a relaxed and confident day behind the wheel out on the highway. Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist and Pre-Collision round out TSS 2.0.
Minivans are in a constant state of one-upmanship with the competition. Toyota is doing their part in this on the interior of the new Sienna. You can opt for a seven or eight-passenger layout. If it’s seven, you’ll get captain chairs in the second row that slide 25 inches for huge legroom and have their own ottomans! Another thoughtful touch is the new Bridge Console. Spanning the space between the center console and dashboard, it leaves an open area beneath it for simple storage of bags and the like.
An entire article could be written about just the technology in the new Sienna so here are some highlights. Four zone climate control works to keep all occupants comfy. And if those in the rear are not as comfy as hoped, the driver can yell, er, TALK to them via Driver Easy Speak, a sort of built-in PA system. The 9” touchscreen is ready for Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Apple Car Play. You can also check the box for a Wi-Fi hotspot, digital rearview mirror, 1080p HD rear entertainment system, onboard vacuum cleaner… and the list goes on.
Overall, the 2021 Toyota Sienna brings the Swagger Wagon back on the styling front. It also has a quiet, comfortable ride and incredible fuel economy. But the CVT has a tendency to drone under acceleration, the brakes are stiff and the hybrid setup feels a bit underpowered. Drivers Only scores the 2021 Toyota Sienna 94. Be sure to check out the video above for more of George’s thoughts on this vehicle and to see how it ranks amongst the competition check out Best Minivans for 2020 & 2021.
Front-engine, front- or all-wheel drive, 7- or 8- passenger, 4-door van
16-valve DOHC 2.5-liter, inline-4 + dual electric motors: 243 hp, N/A lb-ft
Continuously variable automatic
Wheelbase: 120.5 in
L/W/H: 203.7-204.1/78.5/68.5-69.7 in
Curb Weight: 4610-4725 lb
0-60 mph: 7.7 sec
¼ mile: 15.8 sec @ 88 mph
Top speed: 116 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY