Hybrids & Electrics

2021 Minivans: Which Will Be the Better Hybrid?

So far in 2020, we know that 2021 minivans are moving in the hybrid direction. There will be two hybrid options for buyers seeking alternatives to a regular gasoline engine. A Toyota minivan and a Chrysler minivan are going to have to battle it out to see which one is the best.

But until we get to see them in action we can do little more than compare the specs to see which 2021 hybrid minivan is the best on paper. Will it be the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid? Or the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid?

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid | Chrysler

The 2021 Toyota Sienna

Inspired by the Japanese bullet train, the 2021 Sienna’s redesigned exterior is inarguably the most contemporary design we’ve seen so far on a modern minivan. It is, no doubt, a minivan. But it still manages to somehow look ready and capable.

Though it isn’t the first hybrid minivan (the Pacifica did it first), it has surpassed the entire segment in terms of its hybrid powertrain. Every new gen Toyota Sienna will come equipped with hybrid power, according to Road Show. A 243 horsepower electric motor is paired with a 2.5-liter inline 4 cylinder gas engine to mobilize its wheels will be the 2021 Toyota Sienna’s new claim to fame.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica

In 2016 the Chrysler Pacifica debuted and set the stage for more minivan makeovers. It defined the contemporary minivan and upped the competition big time. The Pacifica competes on every level as one of the best family vehicles on the market today.

The 2021 Chrysler hybrid minivan packs a little more heat in terms of horsepower. The Chrysler Pacifica hybrid generates 260 horsepower from its 3.6-liter V-6 and two electric motors backed up by a 16-kilowatt lithium-ion battery. It is a plug-in hybrid, unlike the Sienna’s technology.

All-wheel-drive

The 2021 Sienna will continue offering all-wheel-drive. The Chrysler Pacifica offers this feature for the first time in the 2021 model year. The Toyota minivan’s AWD is an optional setup. A third electric motor gets added to the hybrid system and sends power to the rear wheels. Rumor has it that the new Sienna will match its 3500-pound tow capacity from the previous generation, as well.

red, white, and silver 2021 Toyota Siennas in the desert
The all-hybrid available AWD 2021 Toyota Sienna family | Toyota Media

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The Chrysler Pacifica’s AWD is very different from the Sienna’s in that it is a mechanical three-piece connection to the rear drive module. The 2021 Sienna on the other hand is implementing a third electric motor for its rear wheels. The AWD Chrysler minivan is only an option for Pacificas with a gasoline engine; the 2021 Toyota minivans will all be hybrid, so AWD and hybrid can be had together.

Sienna vs. Pacifica

The 2021 Toyota Sienna gets an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of up to 33 mpg combined. That is a 12 mpg improvement from the previous generation, according to Car and Driver. The EPA rates the Hybrid Pacifica for 30 mpg overall, 82 mpge with a full charge, and a total range of 520 miles.

RELATED: Is the Toyota Highlander or Sienna a Better Family Vehicle?

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that the Chrysler Pacifica in its hybrid version does not offer stow and go for the seats because that space is where the battery rests. But Car and Driver reports that this gives the seats an opportunity to get a lot more comfortable. It also tows 100 pounds more weight than the Sienna.

The 2021 Sienna is also limited in its ability to stow or remove the second-row seats because of new side airbags. However, in some trim levels, these chairs can push back and recline. The Toyota minivan hybrid offering has not released an official price yet. So, we’ll refrain from comparing the two hybrid minivans on speculation alone. The two at this point are pretty neck and neck and it looks like final judgment can only be made after the 2021 Toyota Sienna has seen a few drive tests.