2021 Toyota Sienna

2021 Toyota Sienna Test Drive Review: The Family Car Made Efficient

The third-generation Toyota Sienna lasted a full decade on the market, in which time other minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey blew past it with improvements and innovations. Toyota has finally introduced the fourth-generation Sienna for 2021, bringing the model up to date with competing minivans and offering a unique hybrid-only setup. That's right, the new Sienna arrives exclusively as a hybrid with no gas-only option available.

The switch to a hybrid Sienna has increased the price significantly, but it has also dramatically improved fuel efficiency. Whereas the outgoing V6-powered Sienna could only muster up to 26 mpg on the highway, this new model averages up to 36 mpg. Inside, the Sienna is gifted with Toyota's latest safety features and infotainment technology, making it a stronger competitor than ever before. Toyota even hopes the Sienna can steal away potential SUV buyers who never considered a minivan before. We tested the Sienna in its Limited grade to find out if it's truly worth considering over an SUV.

Read in this review:

2021 Toyota Sienna Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Sienna?

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is an all-new arrival and marks the fourth generation of the brand's minivan. Along with bolder styling, the Sienna boasts a totally revised interior with practical solutions like Super Long Slide second-row captain's chairs which can slide up to 25 inches, plus a Bridge Console in front that provides massive storage space. An array of upscale features are on offer, too, such as a 10-inch color head-up display and a kick-open function for the power sliding doors. Notably, the Sienna is now exclusively powered by a hybrid powertrain, dispensing with the less efficient V6 engine used previously. Two electric motors and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine work together to provide 245 horsepower, while an electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive system is on offer.

Pros and Cons

  • Snazzier styling than before
  • Highly efficient hybrid powertrain
  • Spacious, airy interior
  • More fun than you expect
  • Driver-assist technologies work well
  • A multitude of storage options
  • Uninspiring acceleration
  • Only one available powertrain
  • Second-row seats can't be removed
  • Engine drones unpleasantly when pushed
  • Brakes feel underpowered

Best Deals on Sienna

2021 Toyota Sienna Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$34,460
XLE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$39,750
XSE
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$42,000
Limited
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$46,700
Platinum
2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$49,900

Sienna Van Exterior

It's not easy to work with the considerable proportions of a minivan and end up with something that's enticing to look at, but Toyota has done a great job with the Sienna in this respect. Toyota claims that the frontal area was inspired by the Shinkansen Japanese Bullet Train, with the headlights stretched as if they've been "shaped by the wind." Theatrical marketing speak aside, it looks stylish, and details like the black taillight canards are claimed to improve aerodynamics. LED headlights with LED DRLs are standard, but upper trims have signature bi-LED projector headlights and wide-angle LED fog lights. A black grille on the base model makes way for a sport mesh or metallic finish on other trims. Dual power sliding side doors are standard, along with a power liftgate, but hands-free dual power sliding doors are optional. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard on the LE and XLE versions, 18s on the Limited, and 20s on the Platinum and XSE in varying finishes.

2021 Toyota Sienna Front View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Front-End View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

The new Toyota Sienna is taller and wider yet lower than its predecessor. Key dimensions include a length of 203.7 inches, although the sportier XSE is a bit longer at 204.1 inches. All versions share a width of 78.5 inches, a 120.5-inch wheelbase, and a height that varies between 68.5 and 69.7 inches depending on whether roof rails are equipped. The 6.37 inches of ground clearance make the Sienna easy to get into and out of. In terms of curb weight, the FWD LE starts off at 4,610 pounds while the AWD Limited/Platinum trims weigh 4,725 lbs at the top of the order.

  • Length 203.5 in
  • Wheelbase 120.5 in
  • Height 68.5 in
  • Max Width 78.5 in
  • Front Width 67.7 in
  • Rear Width 68.5 in

Exterior Colors

A choice of eight colors are available for the base model Toyota Sienna van, and it's not just a sea of greys and whites, either. The shades that won't cost any extra are Blueprint, Super White, Celestial Silver Metallic, Midnight Black Metallic, Predawn Gray Mica, Cypress, and Sunset Bronze Mica. Ruby Flare Pearl will add $425 to the final bill and is one of the boldest colors along with Sunset Bronze Mica. Moving up to the XLE trim sees Super White fall away in favor of Blizzard Pearl, which costs $425. Next is the XSE, which is offered in six colors; Cypress and Sunset Bronze Mica aren't available here. The top two trims offer most of the colors that are available on the base LE.

  • Super White
  • Predawn Gray Mica
  • Celestial Silver Metallic
  • Midnight Black Metallic
  • Sunset Bronze Mica
  • Cypress
  • Blueprint
  • Ruby Flare Pearl
  • Blizzard Pearl

Sienna Performance

In an effort to chase greater efficiency, the 2021 Toyota Sienna is now exclusively powered by a hybrid powertrain. Most of the grunt comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque on its own, but the system's combined output stands at 245 hp. That falls short of the 296-hp output of the V6 used previously and acceleration consequently suffers. Based on independent tests, the Sienna minivan will take close to eight seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, making it quite a bit slower than rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica. The continuously variable transmission can't do much to extract brisk performance from the Sienna. Fortunately, the standard FWD setup can be upgraded to an electronic on-demand AWD system, which adds a third electric motor that directs power to the rear wheels. This configuration helps to keep the vehicle's weight lower as an AWD transfer case and driveshaft aren't required. The brand new powertrain retains the same 3,500-pound towing capacity of last year's model, which matches the more powerful Honda Odyssey. If you must know, the Sienna's top speed works out to 116 mph.

2021 Toyota Sienna Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Gear Shifter CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Engine Bay CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

The new Toyota Sienna employs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 189 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. Together with two electric motors generating 180 hp (and a third electric motor for AWD variants with 54 hp), total system output works out to 245 hp. An eCVT transmission with a sequential shift mode is the sole gearbox on offer. With the electric motors providing instant shove from low revs, the Sienna is a reasonable performer around town, while the nickel-metal hydride battery allows for EV-only driving for short distances and at lower speeds. It's only when more is asked of the powertrain that it lacks the conviction of the previous V6, such as when passing at higher speeds. When pushed, the four-pot comes across as quite coarse.

  • Engine
    2.5L Inline-4 Hybrid
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

We couldn't say many kind words about how the previous-generation Toyota Sienna drove. It felt like a bowl of pudding on wheels. This new model, thanks to a new TNGA platform, feels remarkably composed. Yes, it's still a van, so you can expect a mushy brake pedal feel and plenty of body roll. But the steering feels much sharper than before and the handling no longer feels like a roller coaster that's about to fall off the track. Toyota wanted to make this new Sienna drive more like an SUV, and in this regard, it's hit a bullseye. There's even a sport mode that tightens up the steering and puts the throttle in a more aggressive position.

The ride feels smooth over most roads but when you go over seriously torn up pavement, the ride comfort gets pretty bumpy. Though our Sienna might be a pre-production model, we feel the need to mention some squeaks and rattles over rough pavement. As for wind noise, the Sienna is quieter than other Toyota models, matching the Highlander SUV on highway refinement. Toyota's hybrid system feels as smooth as ever, offering silent acceleration off the line so long as the driver doesn't mash the throttle with too much vigor. Sure, the engine drones when pressed hard, but we imagine most minivan drivers won't demand this much acceleration from the Sienna. Most owners will happily trade the effortless V6 for the hybrid's improved fuel efficiency.

Sienna Gas Mileage

Unlike most other vehicles, the hybridized Sienna puts in strong economy numbers whether in the city or on the highway. EPA estimates work out to 36/36/36 mpg city/highway/combined for FWD variants, while the AWD models aren't far behind with figures of 35/36/35 mpg. In our testing, we easily matched these numbers. That's a huge improvement over the outgoing Sienna, which managed a best of 19/26/21 mpg from its V6 engine. The latest available figures for the plug-in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will see it manage 30 mpg or 82 MPGe. With an 18-gallon gas tank, the Toyota Sienna should be able to cover around 648 miles between visits to the pumps.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    18.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 36/36 mpg
* 2021 Toyota Sienna LE FWD 8-Passenger

Sienna Interior

In prior Toyota Sienna reviews, we noted that the dashboard had become very dated. Fortunately, the new Toyota Sienna has taken a big step forward inside, with a much more attractive design than before. A larger touchscreen interface and hard buttons for the ventilation system means that everything is easy to use and understand. A tall and broad center console places the cupholders within easy reach of those in front, and the bridge-style design opens up space for a handbag or similarly sized item in the center of the floor. Hands-free access to the rear passenger area is made possible by simply waving your foot beneath the power-sliding doors, a feature equipped to most trims. We discovered an abundance of space in the second row, although these seats can't be removed. Available features include a power moonroof, a 360-degree camera system, four-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, and a color head-up display.

2021 Toyota Sienna Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Steering Wheel CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Driver Seat CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

Depending on the trim, the 2021 Sienna offers seating for eight people with a bench seat in the second row, or, seating for seven with 2nd-row captain's chairs. We prefer the captain's chairs, as they offer better comfort and easier access to the 3rd row, but some owners might prefer to have the extra seat. For those who want outright luxury, however, upper trims get reclining second-row seats with an ottoman for ultimate relaxation. No matter how you configure the Sienna, rear passengers have plenty of space. The 2nd row offers a generous 39.9 inches of legroom and even the 3rd row feels spacious enough for adults with 38.7 inches. Headroom is generous as well in all three rows, exceeding 37.4 inches in the tightest spots at the back. Getting into the 3rd row is simple with the captain's chairs but we found the mechanism to slide the 2nd-row seats forward to be clunky and difficult to use with only one hand.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 40.3 in
  • Front Head Room 40.1 in
  • Rear Leg Room 39.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 39.3 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The base model comes with gray fabric seats, with no other options on offer at this level. Next is the XLE which introduces Softex upholstery in a choice of either Graphite or Chateau, while a leather-trimmed steering wheel is added too. On the XSE, there are sport-trimmed Softex seats in either Moonstone/Gray Flannel or Gray Flannel/Black. The Limited is the first trim to get leather upholstery in a choice of Graphite or Chateau, while the top-spec Platinum features leather upholstery in Noble Brown. The top two trims are the only ones with premium leather extending to the third row as well. The XSE comes with satin-grain-style accents while all other trims received wood-grain-style accents on areas like the center console.

Sienna Trunk and Cargo Space

SUVs may be all the rage these days, but the minivan remains unbeaten when it comes to carrying both passengers and luggage at the same time. Behind its 60/40-split third row, all Toyota Sienna models offer a useful 33.5 cubic feet of volume, a number that swells to 75.2 cubes when the third row is folded flat. With the second row folded as well, total cargo volume grows to 101 cubes. However, our Toyota Sienna review did reveal one shortcoming relative to other minivans: the second row of seats can't be removed. Toyota says this is because it would be dangerous to take out the 2nd row seats with the airbags attached and active. Still, there is plenty of space for lugging around the paraphernalia that comes with the average family. The power tailgate is welcome, although it does take its sweet time opening up and emits an annoyingly long beep when it's fully open.

Interior storage space is excellent. The fixed center console features four illuminated cupholders and a deep storage compartment, along with a pass-through at the bottom which is perfect for storing a handbag out of the way. There are two glove compartments, with the lower one being lockable, plus an overhead console for sunglasses storage. The door pockets are usefully sized and there are no less than 16 cupholders (we counted 18), including six in the second row and four in the third row.

2021 Toyota Sienna Second-Row Seats CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Third-Row Seating CarBuzz
2021 Toyota Sienna Cargo Capacity With Third Row Down CarBuzz

Sienna Infotainment and Features

Features

The Sienna range is generously equipped, and there are some high-tech features available on the upper trims. On the base LE, three-zone climate control is standard, while all other derivatives employ a four-zone system. Other standard features include a rearview camera, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a 4.2-inch multi-information display, and remote keyless entry with push-button ignition. Dual power sliding side doors and a power liftgate are welcome standard inclusions for a minivan. As part of the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, every Sienna gets pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist. Further up in the range, the Sienna is equipped with a 10-inch color head-up display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a seven-inch multi-information display, a heated steering wheel, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, and heated seats in the first two rows. Wireless smartphone charging is equipped to the top two trims and optional on others. All but the base LE get a power tilt/slide moonroof with a sunshade.

Infotainment

The outgoing Sienna was a dinosaur in the technology department, but this new model at least puts Toyota on even footing with competitors. All trim levels include a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system with clear graphics and support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Sadly, Toyota's larger 12.3-inch screen from the Highlander and Venza is not available here. Lower trims have only six speakers inside but the Limited grade and above get a 12-speaker JBL sound system with a 1,200-watt amplifier and built-in navigation. Buyers can also opt for a 1080p HD rear entertainment system with an HDMI input, two pairs of wireless headphones, and a remote.

Sienna Problems and Reliability

As a brand new model, it's too early to accurately assess the reliability of the Toyota Sienna. At the time of writing, no early recalls had been issued by the NHTSA. J.D. Power has no rating for the 2021 Toyota Sienna just yet.

Although not matching the Kia Sedona's warranty coverage, the Sienna is covered by an otherwise competitive three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, and five years of corrosion perforation cover regardless of mileage covered. Additionally, the hybrid system is covered for eight years or 100,000 miles, while the hybrid battery warranty runs for 10 years or 150,000 miles. As with other new Toyotas, the Sienna comes with ToyotaCare which covers factory scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Hybrid/Electric Components:
    8 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    2 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    2 Years \ 25,000 Miles

Sienna Safety

At the time of writing, both the IIHS and the NHTSA had yet to crash-test the new Sienna. However, as a brand new arrival and with plenty of safety equipment, we expect impressive Toyota Sienna safety ratings in the near future.

Key Safety Features

Toyota hasn't cut any corners here. The Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite bundles together driver-assist technologies such as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane tracing assist, lane departure warning with steering assist, automatic high beams, full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control, and road sign assist. Added to these features are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, hill start assist control, a backup camera, tire-pressure monitoring, traction control, stability control, and brake assist. A total of 10 airbags protect occupants in the event of a collision, with the suite including a driver's knee airbag, side curtain airbags, and side airbags for the front two rows. Most trims come with front/rear parking assist along with automated braking, while the top Platinum gets a surround-view camera system and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Toyota Sienna a good Minivan?

With this new generation, the Sienna goes from a minivan that we could only advise to purchase based on its Toyota reliability to one that we can easily recommend. By making the Sienna a hybrid-only vehicle, Toyota has ensured that its minivan is the most efficient in its class. Yes, the Chrysler Pacifica also comes as a hybrid, but some buyers may not enjoy the benefits of a plug-in hybrid setup versus the Sienna's more conventional system.

The interior, which was a major sore point in our previous Toyota Sienna review, now feels like it belongs on sale in this decade. The Pacifica offers a more posh cabin with better storage space, but the Sienna certainly feels competitive. Someone coming from a V6-powered minivan will marvel when they go more than 600 miles on a tank of gas, averaging over 35 mpg. Those same minivan buyers will also be amazed at how well this new Sienna handles compared to the outgoing generation. Even shoppers who are set on an SUV might be pleasantly surprised by the Sienna, and could consider buying a minivan instead. Toyota has taken its best shot to lure SUV shoppers back into a minivan, and we think there will be more than a few converts.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Toyota Sienna?

The most affordable route to Toyota Sienna ownership comes via the base LE, which has a starting MSRP in the US of $34,460. It's followed by the XLE at $39,750 and the XSE at $42,000. After this, the Toyota Sienna price goes up by nearly $5,000 for the Limited at $46,700. Topping the lineup is the Platinum at a cost of $49,900. These prices all represent the trims in their lease expensive guise, but upgrading to AWD will add $2,000 to the bill on the lower two trims, $760 on the XSE, $1,800 on the Limited, and $560 on the Platinum. Prices are also exclusive of tax, licensing, and registration costs, along with a $1,175 delivery and processing fee. Fully loaded with accessories and optional extras, the Toyota Sienna Platinum AWD will cost over $56,000 including the delivery charge.

2021 Toyota Sienna Models

The 2021 Toyota Sienna lineup consists of five trims: LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. All are powered by a hybrid powertrain consisting of two electric motors and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with the combined output working out to 245 horsepower. A CVT transmission is standard. By default, power goes to the front wheels, but each trim can be upgraded to AWD which adds a third electric motor that directs power to the rear wheels. Both seven- and eight-seater configurations are available.

The base LE comes with LED headlights/taillights, LED taillights, a black grille, dual power sliding side doors, a power tailgate, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, fabric upholstery covers the seats and there is a three-zone climate control system. As standard, the LE seats eight occupants as it uses a second-row bench seat. It also comes with a nine-inch touchscreen display and safety gear like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

Next in line is the XLE which adds wide-angle LED fog lights, hands-free dual power sliding side doors, four-zone automatic climate control, SofTex-upholstered seats, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The sportier XSE gets special exterior upgrades like LED-strip DRLs, a metallic black sport mesh front grille, and 20-inch dark alloy wheels in FWD guise. Beneath the skin, there is a sport-tuned suspension. Inside, it gains a Driver Easy Speak system, sport-trimmed seats, second-row captain's chairs, and a premium sound system with navigation.

The Limited introduces auto-dimming outside mirrors with puddle lights, 18-inch bright alloy wheels, and chrome roof rails. Inside, additions include wireless device charging, leather-trimmed seats with both heating and ventilation in front, a memory system for the power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a seven-inch multi-information display, and an upgraded sound system with 12 JBL speakers.

Finally, the top-of-the-range Platinum gains signature bi-LED projector headlights and 20-inch metallic wheels in FWD guise. It is the most advanced and luxurious model in the range so boasts a 360-degree camera, heated second-row captain's chairs, a heated steering wheel, and a 10-inch color head-up display.

See All 2021 Toyota Sienna Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

On the base LE, one of the biggest upgrades comes via the $2,300 LE Plus Package. This adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power moonroof, and an upgraded audio system with eight speakers. Buyers can also spec a range of individual accessories such as a cargo organizer for $239 and illuminated door sills for $245. On the XLE, there are several variations of the XLE Plus Package, with the priciest one costing $3,790 and adding a 1500W inverter, a spare tire, an HD entertainment center with an 11.6-inch display, wireless headphones and more. The XSE offers similar package upgrades with minor price differences, as well as two Entertainment Packages, the cheapest going for $2,715 and adding the aforementioned entertainment center, among other items.

🚗What Toyota Sienna Model Should I Buy?

If we were buying a new 2021 Toyota Sienna, we'd opt for either the XSE or Limited grade. If you can live without a sunroof, sun shades, ventilated front seats, and the JBL audio system, the XSE grade offers the best all-around package for $42,000 with front-wheel-drive or $44,000 with AWD. The XSE grade still includes stand out features like the super long-slide captain's chairs, blind-spot monitoring, SofTex sport seats, sport-tuned suspension and 20-inch wheels. The Limited Trim adds aforementioned features for $46,700 ($48,700 with AWD) and undercuts the pricey Platinum grade without missing on any must-have options.

2021 Toyota Sienna Comparisons

Honda Odyssey Honda
Chrysler Pacifica Chrysler
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Toyota Sienna189 hp36/36 mpg$34,460
Honda Odyssey 280 hp19/28 mpg$30,790
Chrysler Pacifica 287 hp19/28 mpg$34,045

2021 Toyota Sienna vs Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey had the upper hand on the previous Toyota Sienna, but the latest Sienna is a much-improved product. The Odyssey still lacks the option of all-wheel drive, which is available on the Sienna, while the base Sienna offers more safety equipment than the cheapest Odyssey. If it's fuel-efficiency you're after, the hybrid Sienna convincingly trumps the Sienna's V6, but the Honda is now easily the faster minivan of the two. We also enjoy the Honda's 10-speed automatic transmission. These are family haulers, so cargo capacity is important. In this respect, the Odyssey remains in the lead, although the Sienna does provide a bit more room behind its third row. Unlike in the Toyota, the Honda's second row of seats can be removed, so it is the better option for serious load-lugging. Although we aren't crazy about the Honda's powertrain, its efficiency can't be ignored. This, together with clever features like the hands-free power sliding side doors, are enough to see it edge past the Odyssey.

See Honda Odyssey Review

2021 Toyota Sienna vs Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica is one of the best minivans for sale, and for 2021, it's an even more appealing minivan as it can now be ordered with all-wheel drive. A naturally aspirated V6 engine endows the Pacifica with good acceleration off the mark, and it can tow 100 lbs more than the Sienna as well. There's also a Pacifica Hybrid producing 260 hp (more than the Sienna's 245 hp), although it starts at over $5,000 more than the base Toyota Sienna LE. The Pacifica offers 87.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind its second row, which trumps the 75.2 cubes in the Sienna, and the difference is even greater when all the rear seats are folded flat. However, the Sienna provides more legroom for occupants occupying the second and third row of seats, so it's up to you whether passenger or ultimate cargo space are more valuable. The affordable Sienna runs the Pacifica very close, but we're not quite sure it topples it.

See Chrysler Pacifica Review

Toyota Sienna Popular Comparisons

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