Toyota unveils all-new 2021 Sienna minivan as a hybrid
Toyota has revamped its Sienna minivan with an all-new 2021 model that comes standard with a hybrid powertrain delivering 33 mpg combined. The 2021 Sienna will retain its all-wheel drive option, makes safety a priority, and includes a new high-level luxury option.
Toyota says this new-generation Sienna has been designed and engineered in the US for the North American market and will be produced at its Indiana manufacturing plant. Various trim levels of the Sienna, including its new Platinum grade option, will have new features such as kick-open sliding side doors and rear gate, heated second-row captain’s chairs with longer sliding rails, an on-board vacuum and refrigerator, power tilt and telescoping steering, a digital rearview mirror, and a 10-inch color head-up display. All versions of the 2021 Toyota Sienna will be rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds (1,588 kg) when equipped.
The 2021 Sienna was redesigned using the Toyota New Generation A-K platform (TNGA-K). The new look falls into line with Toyota’s current lineup of crossover-SUV models like the Highlander and RAV4, with a more aggressive front grille and stronger fender lines.
“This is an all-new vehicle from the ground up, including a new chassis platform as well as a new electrical platform,” said Chief Engineer Monte Kaehr.
The “shoulders” created by the front fenders carry to the rear fenders along a lower body line and flare. The grille is minimized so that the lower intake can be enlarged, creating a look similar to that of the RAV4 and Avalon at the front end. The roofline of the new Sienna is lightly tapered rearward with this slope accentuated by a thinning greenhouse to pinch things for a sportier look.
For the 2021 model year, the “Swagger Wagon” has a changed interior meant to help drivers feel like they aren’t piloting a bus. Rather than keep the open space between the driver and front passenger for large item storage, as previous models and other minivans have done, the new Sienna adds a “bridge console” that connects the center stack to the center armrest and storage bin, allowing the shifter and small item storage to float above an empty space beneath that bridge.
In the back, the second-row captain’s chairs can be upgraded to Super Long Slide option, which allows a full 25 inches (63.5 cm) of fore-aft seat slide travel. Also available is an “ottoman” feature as a slide-out leg rest on those captain’s chairs. An eight-seat configuration with second-row bench is also available.
The suite of active and passive safety systems now includes blind-spot monitoring as standard, which joins the forward collision warning and emergency braking. There are also advanced options such as a wider-angle rear view camera, a 360-degree surround view camera system, and a new digital rear view mirror that can “see through” the van’s interior via a higher rear-mounted camera on the vehicle. The new 10-inch color head-up display is an option on most trims and standard in the new Platinum trim level. Rear seat entertainment can be added and includes an 11.6-inch display with HDMI inputs and remote controls.
Entertainment in the 2021 Toyota Sienna includes a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment interface, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 7 USB ports along with Amazon Alexa compatibility. A year of Wi-Fi connectivity via Toyota Connected Services is also standard in the 2021 Sienna. Upgrades include improved stereo sound, including a JBL Premium Audio option and Dynamic Navigation.
The Sienna will come standard as a hybrid vehicle, with the new Toyota Hybrid System II offering 243 horsepower (181 kW) of total system output and achieving a combined MPG rating of 33 (7.1 l/100km).
The new powertrain combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors integrated into the automatic transmission. Toyota says that the “gas-and-go” model of the Sienna’s hybrid system is easier and more convenient than a plug-in option would be. A direct stab at Chrysler, whose top-selling Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in. The Sienna includes drive modes that add EV to the mix for all-electric driving at low speeds and for short distances. Toyota has not specified how much range the Sienna will have in EV-only mode.
As of this year the Sienna is no longer the only minivan on the market with all-wheel drive as an option, but it will be the only hybrid-electric model that offers AWD. The AWD upgrade is available at all Sienna trim levels. The hybrid powertrain foregoes the differential and driveshaft required to power the rear wheels in AWD, and instead adds an electric motor at the rear to power the rear axle. This system was first introduced in the RAV4 Hybrid a few years ago and has worked well for Toyota.
The new 2021 Toyota Sienna will enter markets in North America in the third quarter of 2020. Pricing and further details will be released closer to product launch.