Toyota takes the Hybrid Route with 2021 Sienna
Safety, comfort, and sporty elegance take the classic minivan to a new generation of drivers.
TORONTO – Toyota Canada is looking to redefine the traditional minivan segment in Canada with it fourth-generation Sienna, adding new features and design elements to enhance driver and passenger comfort – and raising the bar on fuel efficiency with a now standard hybrid powertrain.
Journalists were invited to have a sneak-peak at two of the new Sienna models that will be coming to Canadian dealerships later this fall at the head office of Toyota Canada, the Sienna XSE and Platinum. They will join the Sienna entry-level LE, XLE, and Limited. The LE, XLE, Limited and XSE will come in both front-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations, while the Platinum will be four-wheel drive only.
The sporty Sienna XSE, whose design takes inspiration from the sleek Shinkansen Japanese Bullet Train, comes with high-mounted, smoke-accented headlights that stretch around the sides with a large honeycomb grille design that adds to the sporty feel. Black side mirrors and accents add to the effect, as well as the sports-tuned suspension. A neat addition to the XSE are the standard 20-inch aluminum black clad wheels with P235/50R20 tires for FWD – the first-ever 20-inch wheels on a Sienna.
Olivier Depenweiller, product knowledge expert with Toyota Canada, said all 2021 Siennas now come with the Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain meant to deliver some 243 total horsepower but with an estimated 7.1 L/100 km fuel consumption.
Depenweiller said that drivers will be pleasantly surprised with the Sienna’s smooth acceleration and quiet operation as the powertrain features a 2.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine combined with two front-wheel electric motors with a third motor powering the rear axle in the four-wheel drive configuration.
Think of this not as a gas-guzzler, but a sipper of martinis delivering style and power.
An added bonus is the excellent tow rating of up to 3,500 lbs. and a factory optional 1,500-watt inverter with 120V AC outlet to power camping equipment.
“All the Siennas are about comfort and practicality,” Depenweiller said, pointing out the range of standard features that will come with each model. These include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control and powered hatch, for example, along with both standard USB and USB-C ports, a nine-inch multimedia display along with support for both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Standard as well as the second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0) that includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection/Low Light Detection and Bicycle Detection; Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert with Lane Trace Assist; and automatic high beams. Other safety features with the 2021 Sienna are 10 airbags: driver and front passenger airbags; driver’s knee airbag; passenger seat cushion airbag; front seat side airbags; rear outboard seat side airbags, plus curtain side airbags for all three rows.
The Bridge Console is one standout feature that will attract both a driver and passenger’s attention, and were highlighted by Depenweiller in the XSE and Platinum on hand for the media. Positioned high between the driver and passenger the Bridge Console connects the vehicle’s instrument panel with the armrest making it easier to reach the control panel and to reach the cup holder and wireless charger. It also opens up space beneath the bridge giving extra storage.
Where the previous hybrid versions of Sienna had the battery housed beneath one of the passenger seats, in the 2021 Sienna, the nickel-metal hybrid battery pack is discreetly tucked beneath the driver’s seat. This allows for more room for the rear seats adding to the feeling of spaciousness when sitting inside. The Sienna LE and some XLE models come equipped in eight-seat configurations with two captain chairs, a long slide second-row seat, and a stowable middle seat. Some XLE models, as well as the XSE, Limited, and Platinum, will be seven-seat models featuring the Super Long Slide second-row captain’s chairs, with the Limited model equipped with optional ottomans. Luxury never had it so good.
Because long road trips require entertainment and refreshments, the Platinum comes with an added bonus, something that should be appreciated by families with children. Nestled just to the back of the centre console is a small fridge, that Depenweiller said could hold some six 500 ml beverage cans, or act as a freezer. And because kids – and adults, to be honest – can get a little messy, the Platinum comes with a vacuum cleaner, which will be welcome in order to pick up stray popcorn or chips that have fallen after the passengers have finished watching a movie on the 1080p HD entertainment center with drop-down 11.6-inch display, HDMI input, remote control, and two wireless headphones.