Stylish may not be the first word that comes to mind when it comes to minivans, but Toyota is making an effort to add a bit of zing to these family haulers. The Japanese automaker may have done just that with the 2021 Sienna.
The Sienna has been a staple in Toyota USA's lineup, and it's not just the looks that are bolder. The fourth-generation model will be hybrid only, and it aims to deliver V6-like performance while sipping on fuel.
With sharp lines featured throughout the minivan's body, the fourth-generation Sienna has little resemblance to the previous-generation model. The front-end boasts a gaping front air intake, just like what you see in the Camry. Upswept headlights add a bit of visual flair, while the grill design flows seamlessly in between.
Minivans typically have slab-sided flanks, but the all-new Sienna has flares and creases to make it look less plain. There's a deep character line that runs from the bottom to the rear quarter panel, giving it 'hips' at the back. The overall shape looks more rakish too, thanks in part to the windows which are now less upright.
Like the front end, there's a hint of Camry over at the rear. The slim, wraparound taillights take a page from Toyota's mid-size sedan, along with the interesting lower bumper design detail. As one would expect from a minivan, the tailgate opening is wide and low to make packing in cargo easier.
Inside, the dash follows Toyota's current two-layer look with a wide 'floating' screen right in the middle. They also made the center stack and console at the driver and front passenger's arm level. That frees up space below it, leaving room for a sizable storage bin with an optional wireless charger.
Still, this is a minivan so passenger capacity is still a priority. Base and mid-spec variants have seating for eight with two at the front, three in middle, and three at the back. Higher-grade trims ditch the middle-row bench with two individual sliding seats, which is something you would find in an Alphard or Hiace Super Grandia. Rear entertainment, along with a 12-speaker JBL Premium Audio system, can be added as options, but all come with seven USB charging ports. Toyota will even throw in a refrigerator and a vacuum cleaner if the customer wants it fitted.
As mentioned, all Siennas will be hybrids from now on. Its 2.5-liter engine is hooked up to two electric motors. While Toyota wouldn't say how much juice the electric drive system makes, the combined output is an impressive 243 horsepower. This being a hybrid, fuel economy is a priority, and Toyota estimates the electrically-assisted minivan can do 14 kilometers per liter in mixed city and highway driving. Not only that, but the Sienna Hybrid can also be specified with all-wheel drive, making it one of the few gas-electric minivans to come with that option.
Despite all that's going on around the world at the moment, Toyota has made a lot of noise this year. Japan's largest automaker has, so far, launched over five all-new or fully redesigned models over the past six months.
Unfortunately, the odds of selling the Sienna here are slim, and that's because it's primarily designed for the North American market. Still, there might be something Toyota Philippines can do bring it in here, but, of course, that could all depend on the cost of selling them here. But with the Alphard being available locally, the Sienna might eat up some of the Alphard sales or the Alphard might negate the need for the Sienna locally. Given the Alphard's popularity here, it's further hints to it not being sold elsewhere outside of the US.