Hybrids & Electrics

A $50,000 Toyota Sienna Only Makes Sense for 1 Type of Family

If you’re looking to haul people and their stuff on road trips, minivans make more sense than SUVs. While the selection has shrunk in recent years, the Toyota Sienna remains a common favorite. And it’s been updated for 2021, with a new hybrid powertrain. However, the update includes a higher price tag, to the point where a 2021 Toyota Sienna can cost upwards of $50,000. But what goes into a minivan like that? That’s something Doug DeMuro investigated in his most recent video.

What do you get on a $50,000 2021 Toyota Sienna?

A gray 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum parked on a street
2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum | Toyota

The Platinum is the range-topping model in the 2021 Toyota Sienna lineup. The base model starts at $34,460; the Platinum, meanwhile, starts at $49,900. Add local taxes and fees as well as optional extras, and you’re looking at a $50k+ minivan.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum doesn’t differentiate itself based on its powertrain. Every 2021 Sienna is a hybrid, with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine linked to 2 electric motors, Autotrader reports. Together, the system produces 245 hp, about 50 hp less than the outgoing V6 engine, Motor Trend reports. Front-wheel drive is standard, and AWD is an option.

The 2021 Sienna can operate in EV mode thanks to its 1.9-kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. However, only at speeds under 10 mph, Motor1 reports. And Toyota claims EV mode is “for short distances and in limited circumstances, such as in a parking garage.”

But where the 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum differentiates itself is its features. Firstly, there’s a built-in refrigerator and vacuum cleaner. Initially, supplier issues meant these features weren’t available, Roadshow reports. However, Doug DeMuro’s Sienna Platinum has both features installed.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum has 18 cupholders, 12 speakers, leather-trimmed seats, and foot-operated power-sliding doors. It also has navigation, a 9” touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. The minivan also has a 10” heads-up display, a full ADAS suite, heated 2nd-row seats, rain-sensing wipers, and a 360° overhead camera system. The rearview mirror can also display the rear camera feed, removing the headrests and improving your field of vision.

2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum's front seats and dashboard
2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum dashboard | Toyota

That’s on top of wireless phone charging, 2nd– and 3rd-row window sunshades, heated and ventilated front seats, and dual-zone rear climate control. There are also numerous USB and USB-C outlets as well as an optional AC inverter. Plus, the 2nd-row seats have built-in leg rests, and the 3rd-row seats can be folded with one hand.

What is the 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum like to drive?

A photo of the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica outdoors.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica | FCA

The 2021 Toyota Sienna isn’t the only hybrid minivan available; there’s also the Chrysler Pacifica. And the Pacifica, being a plug-in hybrid with a larger battery pack, can go further in EV-only mode, MT reports.

However, that also means you don’t have to worry about recharging the Sienna. Plus, despite the loss of power, Car and Driver reports the AWD Platinum goes 0-60 mph in roughly the same time as the FWD Pacifica hybrid. And the 2021 Sienna’s hybrid powertrain does noticeably improve fuel economy. In Car and Driver’s hands, the AWD minivan saw 29 mpg, while the previous-gen V6 AWD model saw 19 mpg.

Some of the 2021 Toyota Sienna’s features and designs come with drawbacks. It has less cargo space than the previous-gen model, and its seats aren’t removable. The former is due to the hybrid powertrain, and the latter because of the built-in airbags, Roadshow reports. However, thanks to its platform, the minivan has a lower floor, and more 2nd– and 3rd-row legroom. And the seats themselves are comfortable.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum obviously isn’t a sports car. However, thanks to the new platform and new independent rear suspension, it has a comfortable and supple ride. And while it’s not sharp, it’s “easy to maneuver,” Motor1 reports.

RELATED: The 2021 Honda Odyssey Can’t Beat the Toyota Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica

Edmunds, though, ranks the Honda Odyssey slightly above the Sienna in terms of driving dynamics. For one, the Toyota’s brakes are more inconsistent. Car and Driver also reports the 2021 model has a longer braking distance than the 2020 model. Plus, while the Odyssey’s V6 isn’t as efficient, it’s noticeably quieter at speed.

Who should buy a $50,000 minivan?

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Doug DeMuro points out that most of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum’s price tag comes from features, and not necessarily luxury. Other $50,000 vehicles ride more comfortably or have quieter interiors. But should you buy a 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum? That depends on what you look for in a minivan.

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota Sienna Won a Weird Award You Didn’t Know Exists

If you want a fuel-efficient family-hauler, you can likely get by with a cheaper trim. Car and Driver recommends the $42,000 XSE, which has sportier suspension, navigation, heated rearview mirrors, and power-operated doors. And for $1300, the XSE Plus Package adds the 9” touchscreen, on-board WiFi, AC inverter, more USB ports, wireless charging, and 12-speaker audio system. With AWD, and before taxes and fees, that’s $44,060.

However, Roadshow reports the Platinum trim’s sticker price is “a reasonable sum.” And if you want all the bells and whistles, the only thing it’s missing is an actual kitchen sink. So, if you’ve found that your road trips benefit from some extra features, the $50,000 price tag might be worth it.

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