2021 Toyota Sienna Revealed With Hybrid-Only Powertrain

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 18, 2020

With the rise of three-row SUVs, the humble minivan has become all but obsolete. Apparently, no one told Toyota that. The automaker just introduced a fully-redesigned 2021 Sienna that’s radically different from the previous generation. It’s not just the minivan’s design that’s changed, but the amount of technology and powertrains that have been completely overhauled, too.

While the old Sienna used a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the new version of the minivan will only be available with hybrid powertrains. Every Sienna will come with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a combined output of 243 horsepower. That’s a decrease of 53 hp compared to the old V6 motor. Sure, horsepower is down, but fuel efficiency has gone up. Toyota claims the 2021 Sienna will carry a combined fuel of 33 mpg, a dramatic increase of 12 mpg from the V6. Towing capacity remains the same, as the Sienna will be able to haul 3,500 pounds.

Unlike the old Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica, the new Sienna’s optional all-wheel-drive system doesn’t use a transfer case or a driveshaft. Instead, there’s an independent electric power that powers the rear wheels. The electronic on-demand all-wheel-drive system is simpler, capable of sending up to 80% of power to the rear wheels, and aids in cornering ability. We highly doubt owners will be pushing the Sienna around corners to the point where they’ll feel assistance from the all-wheel-drive system, though.

Toyota Sienna

With the move to a hybrid-only powertrain, the Sienna looks like it will have class-leading fuel economy, if Toyota’s combined figure is to be believed. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which is a plug-in hybrid model, is rated by the EPA to get up to 33 mpg combined. The other main minivans, the Honda Odyssey (22 mpg combined), Chrysler Voyager (22 mpg combined), and Pacifica (22 mpg combined) lag behind. The Odyssey, Pacifica, Voyager, and Pacifica Hybrid all have more powerful engines, though. With the Pacifica and Voyager, you’re getting a 287-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine.

Underneath the radically designed body, the Sienna now sits on a new TNGA platform that is found on a lot of the automaker’s other vehicles. The interior has been redesigned, too, with seven- and eight-passenger configurations still available. Opting for an eight-passenger layout on a lower trim brings a nifty, stowable eighth seat that sits between the second-row captain’s chairs. On higher trims, the available captain’s chairs have a recliner-style footrest for extra comfort.

Toyota hasn’t released information on pricing or cargo capacity, two extremely important things with minivans. Unfortunately, while Toyota has done a lot to update the Sienna and make it more attractive, the minivan segment is dying. And there’s just no stopping that. Consumers enjoy the high driving position of SUVs, as well as the rugged, go-anywhere capability. You won’t find those things in the new Sienna. For the few consumers out there that are shopping for a minivan, the new Sienna looks like it’s going to be a much better option than before.

We expect pricing for the Sienna to cost a little bit more money than before. The 2020 model starts at $32,760 including destination. Sales for the 2021 are expected to begin later this year.

Learn more about the 2021 Toyota Sienna »

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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