2021 Toyota Sienna hybrid unveiled, takes on the Kia Carnival

By Aditya Srinath

Toyota Motor launched the much-awaited new Sienna for the USA market this week and it was well-received by the internet audience. The design is a farewell to the traditional boxy proportions of a minivan and takes an SUV-like approach to its styling. The Sienna delivers in most fronts and on paper nails all the requirements and features associated with a good minivan. Starting with the powertrain, it comes with a combination of a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder engine and two electric motors which provide a combined output of 243 hp. The Toyota Sienna will only be offered as a hybrid and remains the only option in its class to do this.

Four-wheel drive is an added bonus as none of the rivals including the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid offers it at this point. The four-wheel-drive adds a third electric motor that drives the rear wheels for some extra grunt. Toyota claims the Sienna is capable of towing up to 1,587.5 kg.

On the inside, the Sienna is feature-packed with the latest tech. It comes with Toyota’s 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system which supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa as standard. It has 7 USB ports across the cabin for everyone to plug their devices. Toyota offers an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot as well.

The Sienna is loaded with modern safety features like 10 airbags, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. It promises good fuel efficiency figures thanks to the hybrid tech. It will deliver a combined city and highway economy figure of 33 mpg, or 14 km to the litre.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna rides on the Toyota TNGA-K platform used by the RAV4 Prime SUV that was released at last year’s LA Auto Show. The RAV4 Prime packs in 302 horsepower which makes it the second quickest accelerating Toyota available. Despite the high-performance figures, it manages to deliver an estimated 90 combined MPG which is roughly 38.30 km to the litre. It can drive 39 miles on battery power alone which is the highest EV range of any PHEV SUV. The Sienna essentially shares the same underpinning, and a full-fledged Sienna PHEV or Sienna Prime could be a really attractive value proposition. However Toyota has no plans for a PHEV version anytime soon and until then the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid remains the only option for families looking a full PHEV minivan.

Back in India, Toyota, which enjoys a monopoly in the premium MPV segment, has launched the hybrid version of the Alphard this year. TKM does not seem to have ideas to bring the RAV4 or the Sienna to the Indian market.