The Toyota Sienna has always been a front-runner in the minivan segment and it continues to get better with every generation. That being said, the Sienna was redesigned for the 2021 model year and now boasts updated styling, more convenient features, and a hybrid powertrain that is standard across the board. That’s right, there’s no more V6 option, but you won’t miss it when you see what the new setup can do.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna still has the option for all-wheel drive
One of the ways that the Toyota Sienna has always had a leg up on the competition is that it offered buyers the option of an all-wheel-drivetrain and the latest model is no exception. The 2021 Sienna can be ordered with a new Hybrid AWD system, as the automaker calls it, that uses an independent electric motor between the rear wheels, which adds traction as needed.
If the system detects slippage from the front wheels, it can send up to 80 percent to the rear wheels for added traction. The AWD system also aids with cornering by reducing understeer. I have tested the 2021 Sienna myself and I can say that the AWD and hybrid system operate seamlessly and smoothly under normal driving conditions. But can the Sienna go off-road?
Watch the Sienna tackle an off-road trail like no other minivan
While I wasn’t able to find out how the 2021 Toyota Sienna does off-road during the week that I had it, Ryan Douthit from Driving Sports TV was able to. If you’re unfamiliar with the Driving Sports TV YouTube channel, Douthit is an avid off-road enthusiast and he does a great job in displaying the off-road capability of the various SUVs that he tests. But apparently, nothing with an all-wheel-drivetrain is spared and he even took the Sienna to his usual off-road test site.
“Why am I doing this?” Douthit asks in the video. “I don’t know, it’s fun.”
He asks that question after going over the non-off-road-worthy specs that the Sienna has. Those specs include a low 6.4 inches ground clearance, a long 120-inch wheelbase, and an underbody area with no cladding or rock protection. You don’t have to be an off-road enthusiast to know that that could be a recipe for a ton of scrapes and possibly a minivan stuck in the wilderness.
Fortunately, during Douthit’s testing, everything went better than expected. The Sienna made it up and down his usual uphill trail test with relative ease and even kicked into EV-only mode at one point. Douthit noted that there is no Crawl control or hill-descent mode, however, those features could be coming on the forthcoming Woodland Edition of the Sienna.
What is the Toyota Sienna Woodland Edition?
The 2022 Toyota Sienna Woodland Special Edition should be hitting dealerships pretty soon. The main draw to this exclusive Sienna is more ground clearance, larger wheels, a tow hitch, and a 1,500-watt power outlet that can power household appliances. Essentially, it’s the ultimate camping van that’s set to take on off-road trails as Douthit did in the video above.
However, we doubt that many Sienna buyers will put the van through its paces by making it play in the dirt. Douthit said it best, “Can it tackle the hill climb? Yes, it can. Is this something you’re going to do? Probably not.”