Tips, Tricks & Trends

Avoid the 2021 Toyota Sienna if You’re Not Ready to Deal With a Hybrid

If you’re one of the dwindling numbers of drivers who still prefer minivans over SUVs, you might have your eye on the 2021 Toyota Sienna. There’s plenty to love about it, including its available all-wheel-drive feature

MotorTrend ranks it third out of four models on its list “The Best Minivans to Buy in 2021.” However, it might be one you should avoid.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna: The good

The 2021 Toyota Sienna offers a plethora of positives. One that immediately stands out is its spaciousness. And that goes for all three rows of seats. The third row offers 38.7 inches of legroom, according to Toyota. Even cargo space is impressive at 75.2 cubic feet when you fold down the last row of seats. 

Thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the Sienna is relatively fuel-efficient. Its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, paired with two electric motors, can generate 245 hp. This enables the minivan to get about 36 mpg combined. The battery charges itself as the vehicle brakes, so no need to plug in this hybrid. 

It also boasts a huge list of standard safety features. You get Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, offering a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist, and a lane-tracing assist, to name just a few features. 

The 2021 Toyota Sienna: The bad

RELATED: The 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Has a Disappointing Shortcoming

Though the Toyota Sienna is a good minivan, it’s not without some disappointments.

Toyota planned to roll out the 2021 model with a built-in vacuum in the Limited trim and a fridge in the Platinum trim, MotorTrend reported. However, due to the pandemic’s effects on manufacturing, those features are no longer available. But the automaker plans to add them when the products become available. 

Another issue is the powertrain. The Toyota Sienna finally saw a redesign for 2021, but it comes only in a hybrid version. There are no fully gas-powered powertrains to choose from now that the automaker has dropped the V6. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it could prove to be annoying if you aren’t interested in or ready for a hybrid vehicle. 

Here’s why you might want to avoid the 2021 model

Hybrids offer some great benefits like fuel savings, but they also come with disadvantages. If you’re not ready to deal with the negative aspects, you might want to steer clear of the 2021 Toyota Sienna. 

One problem is that the combination of a gas engine and electric motor tends to produce less horsepower than an all-gasoline powertrain. Passing or merging into traffic might not be as smooth as you’d like. Plus, hybrids generally come with continuously variable transmissions, which tend to be slower than typical geared ones. 

And hybrids are usually more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts. Some of the base models might be affordable, but by the time you add all the extras you want, you’re paying quite a bit more. 

But perhaps the worst part of a hybrid is replacing the battery. Even though it shouldn’t need replacing for about 100,000 miles, it still costs about $6,000 or so for a new one, depending on the make and model. However, some warranties cover up to that number of miles. 

The 2021 Toyota Sienna offers some nice features and good fuel economy. But if you’re not ready to deal with a hybrid powertrain, you might want to avoid this one.