2021 Toyota Sienna
- $33,000-$50,000 (estimated)
- Fall 2020
What to expect
- The Sienna is fully redesigned for 2021
- Swaps the V6 for a thrifty four-cylinder hybrid powertrain
- Newly available features, including a refrigerator console
- 2021 model launches the fourth Sienna generation
What is the Sienna?
The Toyota Sienna is one of the most recognizable minivans on the market. This is due in no small part to the "Swagger Wagon" ads that defined the last-generation model early in its life cycle. Though the quirky marketing — and Toyota's traditionally rock-solid reliability — helped carry the previous Sienna for nearly a decade, a new minivan would need more than a rapping family to connect with modern buyers. The fully redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna debuts later this year with a healthy list of unique features, along with a potentially groundbreaking powertrain.
What's under the Sienna's hood?
Out with the old and in with the ... familiar. Gone is last year's 3.5-liter V6; in its place is a hybrid powertrain that uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for the bulk of its output. If that sounds familiar, that's because this system is the heart of most of Toyota's larger hybrid vehicles, including the Avalon Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid. It produces 243 total system horsepower, which is a far cry from the current Sienna's 296 hp.
Though we will lament the power loss, there are a few positives. The two electric motors that help drive the front wheels will give the Sienna some extra oomph at lower speeds, so it shouldn't feel slow as you're accelerating from a stop. We have liked the smooth acceleration this powertrain provides in other Toyota vehicles, but we're concerned the Sienna's extra mass will make the engine feel strained.
Of course, the primary reason for switching to a hybrid is the gain in fuel economy. Toyota estimates the new Sienna will earn 33 mpg combined, which is a whopping 50% improvement over the current front-wheel-drive model's 21 mpg. All-wheel drive will again be offered on the 2021 Sienna. And despite the drop in power, the Sienna can still tow up to 3,500 pounds.
How's the Sienna's interior?
Our first look at the interior illustrates that the powertrain isn't the only revolutionary change in store for the redesigned Sienna. The vast open space between the front passengers is replaced by what Toyota calls the Bridge Console. This two-tiered center console connects the instrument panel to the center armrest. While we'll miss the sense of airiness, the Bridge Console's extra storage seems to be a worthy trade-off.
Another notable item is the second-row's available Super Long Slide captain's chairs. They can slide fore and aft 25 inches to provide an incredible amount of legroom and flexibility for taller individuals. We're especially eager to try them with the ottomans included on Limited and Platinum models.
How's the Sienna's tech?
While the current Sienna lacks some features of its newest rivals, the redesigned model is fully competitive. New additions to the Sienna lineup include a digital rearview mirror (which uses the rear camera if passengers or cargo obstruct the rear window), a head-up display, a bird's-eye view parking camera, a vacuum and a console refrigerator. A 9-inch touchscreen is standard, as is integration with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. Every Sienna also comes with seven USB ports, satellite radio and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Sienna also enjoys the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of advanced driving aids. Standard safety features include pre-collision warning, lane departure assist, a blind-spot monitor and adaptive cruise control.
The self-proclaimed "Swagger Wagon" has become more sophisticated, more spacious and more utilitarian. Now with a hybrid powertrain, modern technology and a more accommodating second row, the new 2021 Toyota Sienna has us wanting to take a road trip with our team ASAP. For testing purposes, of course.