With SUV sales through the roof in the United States, it’s easy to forget that the country remains the last bastion of the MPV, and Toyota is throwing everything at its disposal at the all new 2021 Sienna (not to be confused with the much smaller Sienta, of course) with a whole host of new technologies and features.

It’s been revealed alongside the new Venza, a rebadged Harrier, and shares many of the same design cues. At the front, that means that the Sienna has a slim, blanked off upper grille, framed by V-shaped chrome trim and striking L-shaped headlights. The creases around the fascia, which is said to be inspired by Japan’s shinkansen bullet trains, form an X shape that emphasises the massive lower grille.

This grille is flanked by a pair of slim fog lights that are pushed to the far corners, helping to visually enhance the car’s width. While the boxy profile has been retained for maximum space, Toyota has added a bit of dynamism here with a fast D-pillar rake and prominent rear fender bulges – the latter is a styling detail you’d recognise from the Alphard and Vellfire.

Around the back, the arrow-shaped tail lights bear a striking resemblance to the aforementioned Sienta and come with the same black fins that are also claimed to improve aerodynamics. The deeply sculpted tailgate with its integrated spoiler has been manufactured using a moulded resin process. Those looking for a sportier look can opt for the XSE, which comes with an even more aggressive honeycomb lower grille, front corner air intakes and a fake vent in the rear bumper insert, plus 20-inch gunmetal split-spoke alloy wheels.

The revolution continues on the inside, with a layered horizontal dashboard design and wraparound cabin that also borrows freely from other recent Toyota models. By far the most radical feature is what the company calls a Bridge Console, a tall centre console that splits the driver and passenger environment and hides a large amount of open storage space underneath – perfect for purses and bags.

A freestanding nine-inch touchscreen sits atop the dashboard and comes as standard as part of the Toyota Audio infotainment system, which also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Amazon Alexa compatibility, SiriusXM digital radio, six speakers and Toyota Connected Services with Safety Connect. Toyota Audio Plus on the XLE adds two speakers, HD radio and WiFi connectivity.

Stepping up to the XSE nets you the Toyota Premium Audio with Dynamic Navigation, whilst the Limited and Platinum models throw in 12-speaker, 1,200-watt JBL sound system. Options include Qi wireless smartphone charging, a digital rear-view mirror (also lifted from the Alphard and Vellfire), a rear 11.6-inch entertainment display with HDMI input and twin wireless headphones and the Platinum’s 10-inch colour head-up display.

The Sienna is still a people carrier, of course, and the latest model is more practical and luxurious than ever before. The standard configuration is with eight seats and a removable centre second-row seat, but the XSE, Limited and Platinum come with seven seats and second-row captain’s chairs that can slide 25 inches; the top two trim levels add ottomans to these Super Long Slide (their words, not mine) seats.

There are plenty of other features, including handsfree sliding doors and tailgate, a 1,500-watt inverter with a 120-volt AC socket, an onboard vacuum cleaner and even a refrigerator at the rear of the centre console. Parents can also use the Driver Easy Speak function to broadcast their voice across the entire cabin and quell any quarrelling kids.

Safety-wise, the Sienna comes as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, featuring autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection and nighttime functionality, full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, lane keeping assist, lane centring assist, traffic sign recognition, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and auto high beam.

One important new safety feature is the Rear Seat Reminder, which detects rear occupants through the sequence of doors opening and closing, prompting the driver upon exit. Ten airbags are fitted as standard, including a front passenger cushion airbag to prevent submarining.

The Sienna shares the Camry‘s K variant of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K), with increased body rigidity and optimised sound insulation and body sealant to keep noise out. The chassis features optimised geometry and trailing arm multi-link rear suspension to provide what Toyota says is a more natural and intuitive driving experience, while towing capacity stands at an impressive 3,500 pounds (1,590 kg).

Every Sienna is powered by a hybrid powertrain, which consists of a 2.5 litre Dynamic Force naturally-aspirated VVT-iE four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, delivering a total system output of 243 hp and a combined fuel consumption figure of 7.1 litres per 100 km. All-wheel drive is available as an option, utilising a second electric motor on the rear axle.

The car comes with EV, Normal, Eco and Sport drive modes, and the driver is able to “downshift” using a sequential shifting feature, which simulates the engine braking of actual gears. There’s also a Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) feature that analyses driving habits and memorised road and traffic conditions to provide driving guidance, helping to reduce fuel and energy consumption.

GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited


GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE
GALLERY: 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum