The 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Has a Disappointing Shortcoming

Today’s soccer mom has traded her minivan keys for an SUV. The smaller, more economical crossover has become more appealing, and its sales dominate the market.

The automaker isn’t giving up just yet, though. The all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna minivan has been reconfigured and will boast a hybrid-only powertrain. It’s one of only two gas-electric hybrid minivans on the market. Toyota hopes to attract consumers interested in an environmentally friendly vehicle that combines added space and efficiency. 

With plenty of bells and whistles to entice buyers, the Sienna has one feature rather disappointing feature. And could be a deal-breaker.

A comfortable ride

Expected to hit showroom floors in early 2021, the new generation of the Toyota Sienna offers a great interior that’s super-comfortable. The lightweight folding rear seats are so convenient to operate they won “The Lightweight Folding 3rd-Row Seat Award,” according to AD1CAR.

Aside from the impressive seating, the spacious interior provides plenty of enticing features to keep passengers entertained. The use of quality materials creates a luxurious atmosphere not typically found in minivans. Advanced safety features and improved styling help the Sienna stand out amid the crossover competition.

Standard features include heated second-row captain’s chairs with built-in ottomans for added comfort. Passengers can ride in luxury with an extra 25 inches of legroom with the seats pushed back.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna is road-trip ready with seven USB ports, wireless charging capabilities, and an improved center console for the driver, Car and Driver reports. A rear entertainment system, power sliding doors, 18 cupholders, built-in Wi-Fi, and a four-zone climate system complete the package. There are even plans down the road for a built-in refrigerated compartment and vacuum system for the utmost in practicality and convenience.

What went wrong with the Toyota Sienna’s technology?

RECENT: The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Toyota Sienna Hybrid Share a Common Weakness

Where the 2021 Toyota Sienna lacks is in technology features, which feel outdated compared with other vehicles in its class.

The infotainment system is a disappointment. MotorTrend notes, “Toyota really needs to step up its game here — the graphics look like they’re from the time when the Motorola Razr was hip, and although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, the system feels ancient.”

And according to Automo Blog, a major downfall in the Sienna is that its Dynamic Navigation System is standard only in the higher-level XSE, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. However, the Driver Easy Speak system, which allows the driver to talk with the rear passengers, is a nice touch.

The 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid offers great value

Unlike its minivan rival, the Chrysler Pacifica, the 2021 Toyota Sienna uses a small battery back instead of a plug. The traditional gas-electric hybrid can go more than 500 miles before needing a recharge.

An estimated fuel economy of 36 mpg combined is an astounding 10 to 17 mpg more than its V6 predecessor. The increased savings, along with being the only hybrid offering an all-wheel-drive system, provide incomparable value.

The base model LE trim starts at $34,460, slightly less than the Pacifica, whose starting MSRP is $35,045. The top-of-the-line Platinum Sienna starts at $49,900, with an additional $560 for the AWD option and $1,175 for delivery.

A rear-seat entertainment package is available for an additional $1,415. A Plus Package for the higher-end LE, XLE, and XSE trims costs $2,300 and includes popular options.

The price of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid might seem high until you remember it’s a hybrid that will save on fuel in the long run.

Toyota products have a strong reputation for holding their value. Kelley Blue Book noted, “Toyotas have traditionally fared better than average in resale value. We expect this trend to continue with the all-new 2021 Sienna.”