2021 Toyota Sienna XSE new car reviews

Photography Courtesy Toyota

Stop the presses: There’s a new Toyota minivan. Why do we care about an all-new Sienna? Because minivans are cool. They just make sense for hauling people and stuff.

Big things to know about this one? Well, it does show that, despite the proliferation of SUV all thing, there’s still a place in this land of ours for a minivan–and Toyota is quick to note that the Sienna is both designed and built here. (“Here” being the U.S.)

Also, hybrid drive comes standard across all trims.

And then there’s design. From Toyota’s own media site:

Starting with an all new minivan structure based on the TNGA-K Platform, the goal was to optimize everything that is great about minivan function, while wrapping it all into a bold, sexy, and provocative design, expanding the definition of what a next generation minivan should be.

Yup, minivans can be sexy. And provocative. Just get a room, okay?

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Love the looks both inside and out. And check it out, it has like a center console thing going on. Where some companies are banning the shifter, Toyota is taking a proud stance: We are proud of our shifter–no knob, no buttons, no nonsense–and we’re going to make sure you notice it.

Toyota calls this feature its Bridge Console.

From Toyota:

The bridge is ergonomically positioned high between the driver and passenger for ease of use, and elegantly connects the instrument panel to the center armrest. This unique feature enables the driver to have a more stress-free and comfortable driving experience. The shifter and necessary functions are all within easy reach, along with cup holders, available wireless charger, and ample storage bins for smaller items. Beneath the bridge is a large open area for convenient storage of larger personal items such as a purse or bag.

Sounds overly complicated but, yeah, once inside, the Sienna does feel more car-like than some other minivans. So, maybe that would make the driver more comfortable–more like you’re driving a car instead of a bus. There’s less of the feeling that you’re just sitting out there (waves hands to show space).

But once in gear, the Sienna felt kinda jerky–like extremely grabby brakes and not the smoothest transition from ICE to electric. Where the latest Lexus ES hybrid felt smooth and seamless, the minivan didn’t at all–kinda like we had been handed the keys (well, fob) to a development mule.

Like most things, though, you get used to it. Or at least I did. I just found those first few miles felt a little lackluster.

The Sienna gets good marks for doing all of the usual minivan things. The seats felt comfortable and supportive, and despite sitting a little high up, getting in and out is easy. I like that it can tow up to 3500 pounds, too.

I totally realize that minivans are polarizing. Some get it, some don’t. For those who get it, leave it to Toyota to make the Toyota of minivans.

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