Behind the Wheel

2021 Toyota Sienna — U.S.-Built AWD Hybrid Minivan

2021 Toyota SiennaModel tested: Toyota Sienna XLE AWD

Engine: 2.5-liter, gas 4-cylinder plus electric motor

Transmission: Electronic CVT

Horsepower: 189 gas, 180 electric, 245 combined

Torque: Unavailable

EPA rating: 35/city, 36/highway, 35/combined

Base price: $41,750

As tested: $48,047

Overview: The Toyota Sienna is a minivan with available electronic on-demand all-wheel drive. Totally redesigned and built in Indiana on a new platform, it offers the latest technology, and for the first time comes with Toyota’s hybrid system. Road-tripping to Pendleton, Oregon, and back along interstates 5 and 84, it delivered 36 mpg at well over 75 mph. There are five models, but this review focuses on the XLE — our test driver.

Walkaround: It’s impossible to make a minivan look like anything else, but the Sienna boasts a low, raked hood flowing smoothly into LED headlights and a steeply sloped windshield. The sides are smoothly contoured with large electric sliding doors and power liftgate.

2021 Toyota SiennaInterior: The cabin has been redesigned with a “bridge console” extending to the dash, providing small storage spaces above and large ones below. A horizontal cargo tray graces the dash, plus there’s wireless charging, six USB ports, a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen, four-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 1,500-watt AC inverter with two outlets — and a moonroof. The mostly soft-touch materials are tough enough to handle kids and spills. The power and heated front seats are quite comfortable — as our long drive proved. The second row offers captain’s chairs that slide back, revealing 25 inches of leg room. The third row is roomy — for a third row — with a split 60/40 seat that easily flips forward and drops into a rear storage well, providing a flat cargo floor. Our test driver featured the XLE Plus package, which included the rear-seat entertainment system with an 11.8-inch display, HDMI input and 12-speaker JBL audio. Ingress and egress are easy. Either use the key fob or swing your foot under the rocker panel to open the power sliding side doors.

Behind the wheel: The Sienna rides comfortably quiet — like a luxury car — with handling that’s light, quick and precise while the suspension minimizes bumps. The hybrid system utilizes a 189-horse, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder powerplant married to a 180-horse electric motor and 1.9-kwh battery pack, totaling 245 ponies. The all-wheel-drive system includes an additional 54-horse electric motor driving the rear wheels, adding up to 80 percent of the power distribution.

Bottom line: The Toyota Sienna provides every comfort and convenience, handles well, rides smoothly and gets 35 mpg with all-wheel drive. It’s a great value for a road-tripping family van.