With its $49,900 base price, the 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum is fairly expensive for a minivan. However, it’s not the most expensive Toyota-badged vehicle you can buy today. In fact, some of the Japanese automaker’s most luxurious products, like the Toyota Century, aren’t offered in the US. And that includes the Toyota Alphard, a minivan with a price tag that can stretch into six-figure territory.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum vs. Toyota Alphard: American vs. Japanese market hybrid minivans
Mechanically, the 2021 Toyota Sienna and Alphard are fairly similar. Both are available with hybrid powertrains, consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 2 electric motors. In the US, the Sienna’s system puts out 245 hp, and can briefly run in EV Mode, Car and Driver reports. The Alphard has the same system, though its total output is only 200 hp, Jalopnik reports.
Both minivans also come standard with front-wheel drive and optional AWD. However, the Toyota Alphard is still available with a 3.5-liter V6, something the 2021 Sienna no longer offers.
Some Toyota Alphard trims cost roughly the same as the Sienna’s trims. The base Toyota Sienna, the LE, starts at $34,460. The Alphard S, meanwhile, costs the equivalent of $36,900. However, the price gap only widens from there.
The top 2021 Toyota Sienna trim is the $49,900 Platinum. But the range-topping Toyota Alphard Executive Lounge S starts at roughly $70,500. And these are the prices for the front-wheel-drive models; AWD is optional on both the Sienna and Alphard. However, that’s still not the most expensive Alphard.
Japanese buyers who want to further customize their Toyotas and Lexuses go to Modellista, the automaker’s customization division, AutoBuzz explains. And it offers a 4-seat version called the Royal Lounge which costs the equivalent of $148.5k, Jalopnik reports. That’s Mercedes-Benz S-Class territory.
What kind of features does a $148,500 Toyota Alphard offer that a $50,000 Toyota Sienna doesn’t?
The 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum’s features list is best demonstrated by its options list. The only things on it are AWD, the spare tire, an AC inverter, a rear entertainment system, and a rearview mirror with backup camera integration.
As for the standard features, the $50,000 sticker price gives you a 9” touchscreen, leather upholstery, a full ADAS suite, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated 2nd-row seats. That’s in addition to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, multiple USB and USB-C ports, wireless charging, and power-sliding doors with multiple activation methods. Plus, the 2021 Toyota Sienna Platinum has a 12-speaker JBL audio system, a heads-up display, and a 360° camera system.
The vacuum cleaner and refrigerator were initially unavailable due to supplier issues, Automobile reports, but those have since been resolved. The 2021 model year updates also give the Toyota Sienna a lower floor and leg rests built into the 2nd-row seats in 7-passenger models, Roadshow reports.
Some of these features are also available on the Toyota Alphard Royal Lounge. Others, though, are replaced with even higher-end versions. Unlike the Sienna’s 2nd-row captain’s chairs, the Alphard Royal Lounge’s rear seats don’t slide. But they can fully recline, and come with massaging, heating, and cooling functions. They also have built-in tables and LED reading lights.
Like the Toyota Sienna Platinum, the Alphard Royal Lounge has built-in sunshades. But it also has privacy glass, and for a little extra, you can fit it with a cabin partition. Said partition includes a 24” LCD screen, a 17-speaker JBL audio system, and even a shoe storage area. Naturally, there’s also a refrigerator for drinks. Rounding out the features are roof-mounted climate controls, an analog clock, and additional wood trim.
Could the regular version sell in the US?
The thought of a $150,000 minivan may sound a bit odd, but that doesn’t mean the overall idea is, too. As Jalopnik reports, the 7-seat Toyota Alphard is a comfortable, serene, and genuinely luxurious vehicle. And as a minivan, it’s discrete, something often sought out in luxury shuttles and chauffeured vehicles.
Plus, if Mercedes-Benz can sell a minivan in the US, why not Toyota? It sold the Celsior as the Lexus LS400 here, after all. Turning the Alphard into a Lexus product would be a relatively straightforward task.
And while the Toyota Sienna Platinum and Alphard are both hybrid luxury minivans, they don’t necessarily serve the same customers. The Sienna’s features are oriented towards families, hence the fold-flat seats and vacuum cleaner. In contrast, the Alphard likely sees more use transporting executives than toddlers. But it does show that with the right prep-work, minivans can be luxury cars, too.
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