2021 Toyota Sienna

absolutely AUTO REVIEW | By Steve Kursar –

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is all-new for this model year. This fourth generation Sienna is built on a new platform and is designed to make you look at minivans as more than just kid taxis. This is a minivan built to go places, places far away from the school carpool lane. It may just make you reconsider how you view the minivan.

There was a time when minivans were all the rage and almost every carmaker had one to sell in their showrooms.  But, as SUVs and crossovers began to capture the hearts of car buyers, minivans lost their appeal. Now, only three carmakers market minivans for the American market and sales for these vehicles have dropped significantly.

A base model of the newest version of the Toyota Sienna carries an MSRP price tag of $34,460 although the higher trims can easily push that final cost over $50,000. Interestingly, the Sienna only comes powered by a 243 hp, Toyota Hybrid System II powertrain that will deliver you a mighty impressive 36 mpg both in the city and on the highway. Drivers new to driving a hybrid will notice very smooth acceleration and hear very little noise. What is noticeable is the kick in low-speed torque from two electric motors working in concert with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

The exterior design is a departure from the archetypal boxy, boring minivan design. The new body design gives the Sienna a more athletic look and stance. Toyota engineers realized that minivan drivers didn’t want to feel like they were driving a bus, so they tuned the suspension to give drivers a more sporty feel.

It’s the interior where the Sienna really shines. There’s a modern instrument panel, a quite large center display and plenty of handy storage capacity. In the second row, the available Super Long Slide second-row captain chairs slide 25 inches, providing unprecedented legroom that mimics a limousine.

The new Sienna has a feature Toyota calls Driver Easy Speak, which is essentially a built-in PA system that carries the driver’s voice through the audio system’s rear speakers right to the source of the disturbance. Say you’re driving along, and your back seat passengers become a bit unruly.  Now you no longer have to turn and shout.  As a parent, you gotta love that.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is designed to make new crossover buyers consider buying a minivan.  Once you take a close look, you may get hooked.