The first Toyota Sienna debuted in the US in 1997 – but a lot has changed since then. The new 2021 Toyota Sienna sheds its predecessor's blasé personality for a bevy of more modern, stylish, and tech-savvy features, like a standard hybrid powertrain and an optional all-wheel-drive system. It even sports 20-inch wheels for the first time in its 23-year history. But those are just some of the highlights.
Bold Looks, Hybrid Power
The 2021 Toyota Sienna looks bold, and not just for a minivan. Thank Calty Design (the same firm responsible for the stunning FT-1 concept), in part, for styling the new Sienna atop the versatile TNGA-K platform. That's the same platform that sits under the Camry, Highlander, Avalon, RAV4, and of course, the new Venza. The Sienna's key visual features are its massive front grille (found on most Toyota products), sharply angled headlights, and aggressive rear fender details that mimic the Highlander SUV. The new Sienna also comes in five uniquely styled trims – LE, XLE, XSE, Platinum, and Limited. But the XSE is the sportiest of the bunch. The Sienna XSE sports black accents, a black mesh grille, and for the first time ever on the minivan, 20-inch wheels.
The new Sienna is powered by a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors (or three electric motors with the all-wheel-drive option). Unlike the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, though, you never need to plug the Toyota in. It's a similar setup to what you get in sibling crossovers like the RAV4 Hybrid, but here it produces 243 horsepower (181 kilowatts) and returns up to 33 miles per gallon combined. It can even tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kilograms) in the right spec.
The Sienna has four distinct driving modes: EV, Normal, Eco, and Sport. Sport mode, Toyota says, unlocks extra boost from the hybrid setup, while Eco mode limits battery power for extra efficiency. And as mentioned, the Sienna also gets an available all-wheel-drive system.
Tech, Safety, And Stylish Seats
Standard inside the new Sienna is a 9.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, as well as a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster with a "Hybrid System Indicator." The Hybrid System Indicator keeps the driver aware of things like battery regeneration status and eco-driving habits. There are also seven USB ports throughout the cabin, so everyone can plug-in.
Standard on the XLE model (but optional on the LE) is Toyota Audio Plus, which adds eight speakers, rather than the base model's six, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Move up from there, and the Limited and Platinum models get a standard, more advanced Toyota Premium Audio System, which adds 12-speakers and a dynamic navigation system. But the Platinum model is the only one that offers a 10.0-inch head-up display and a 360-degree camera.
Of course, this Sienna is safe, too. Every version of the 2021 Sienna comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane departure alert with steering assist, road sign assist, and automatic high beams.
Fabric seats with eight-way adjustability come standard on the base Sienna LE. But buyers wanting better bolstering can select the XLE model, which gets two-tone, Softex fake leather with eight-way power adjustability on the driver's side and four-way power adjustability on the passenger's side. And above that, the Sienna XSE also gets the Softex faux leather, but atop sporty-ish bucket seats rather than the standard units.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna, with all its impressive kit, goes on sale later in the year. Unfortunately, the hybrid minivan doesn’t have an official price yet. Given that the 2020 Sienna starts at $31,640, expect the new-and-improved model to ask a bit more.