Sienta Launch Main

It doesn’t seem so but the Toyota Sienta has not been officially launched in Malaysia, until this morning.

Here’s the timeline. We gave you a first look at Sienta in April, from Indonesia where the funky-looking MPV made its local and ASEAN debut. A month later, UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) previewed the seven-seater locally, and since then, we’ve had periodic waves of info including a showroom appearance, the release of official pricing and product videos.

The Sienta’s origins as a JDM model is clear from its unconventional styling, a big departure from ASEAN-oriented Toyota MPVs such as the Innova, Avanza and the new Calya. Sienta chief engineer Hiroshi Kayukawa says that Toyota had, from start, plans to sell the second-gen Sienta outside of Japan. The CE, who is in town for the launch, had driven in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia (including a drive up to Genting Highlands) as part of his research.

2016 Toyota Sienta 2

At 4,235 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,695 mm tall, the Sienta is around the size of the Perodua Alza, being 35 mm shorter and 75 mm taller (same width). The wheelbase is 2,750 mm long, matching the Alza. The ASEAN-market Sienta – made in Indonesia for the region – has a 25 mm higher ground clearance than its Japanese-market equivalent, at 170 mm.

The Sienta is powered by a 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine making 107 PS at 6,000 rpm and 140 Nm at 4,200 rpm, mated to a CVT with seven virtual ratios. The 2NR-FE Dual VVT-i engine is from the same modern NR family as the 1.3L unit in the Avanza and Perodua Bezza. Drive goes to the front wheels.

Two trim levels are available, the 1.5G and the top 1.5V. The V model comes with all the bells and whistles, including bi-LED headlights with LED positioning lights, 16-inch machine-finish alloy wheels and light guides for the tail lights. The base 1.5G makes do with halogen headlamps, 15-inch rims and plain LED tail lights (no LED signatures). Both models get LED daytime running lights.

2016 Toyota Sienta 20

The Sienta’s dashboard design is as wacky as the exterior, with a dual-tier dash sporting a Peugeot 208-style high-mounted instrument cluster. The centre console with unique air-con controls, floor-mounted gearlever and added storage space is different from the JDM model, as is a rear air-con blower – but the novel way in which the third-row seats “dive in” under the one-touch tumble second-row seats has been retained.

A note on the floor vs column-mounted shifter. According to Kayukawa, the ASEAN Sienta’s floor shifter location is to accommodate a manual transmission (available in Indonesia), while the JDM Sienta is CVT-only. Also, our CVT model comes with manual mode, which is not present in the domestic model. Ease of use and fuel efficiency is the main priority for minivan customers in Japan.

The V spec car comes with goodies such as an acoustic windscreen, keyless entry, push-button start, Optitron instruments, a Camry-style colour multi-info display, automatic air-con, a 6.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice control and a reverse camera. Also included is brown fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, twin electric sliding doors, premium security and solar tinting and a locally-fitted digital video recorder (dash cam).

The G spec Sienta gets none of the above, and is instead equipped with a 2-DIN Bluetooth-enabled head unit, black upholstery and a single electric sliding door on the passenger (left) side.

Safety equipment is identical on both models, which is good. All Sienta buyers get three airbags (dual front plus driver’s knee), ABS with EBD and brake assist, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Isofix child seat anchors on the outer second-row seats. The Sienta has not been crash tested by ASEAN NCAP yet, but Toyota expects a five-star rating.

Options include a RM2,109 DVD-AVX touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera for the 1.5G, a RM3,169 DVD-AVN navigation system and a RM2,014 upgrade to the DVD-AVN system for 1.5V buyers. Buyers of the G and opt for either the RM1,166 “Toyota Essential Solar Film” or the RM2,109 “Toyota Premium Security & Solar Film”. The latter is standard on the V.

The CBU imported from Indonesia Sienta 1.5G starts at RM92,900, while the 1.5V retails for RM99,900, both on-the-road with insurance, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Seeing that the difference between trims is just RM7,000, the V’s much longer spec sheet appears to be the better deal. What do you think of this funky new entry?

GALLERY: Toyota Sienta 1.5V

GALLERY: Toyota Sienta 1.5G