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Exterior view of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

While many people are gravitating toward SUVs these days, if you need the ultimate family-hauling vehicle, the minivan is still the best tool for the job. That said, the 2021 Toyota Sienna has been redesigned from the ground up, and for the first time in the minivan's 23-year history, it features a hybrid powertrain. That's standard on all trim levels, fortunately, it's still available with an all-wheel drive system.

Minivans and hybrids both have polarizing stereotypes, but the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna overcomes them easily, especially when equipped with the Limited trim level and AWD like this tester. Read on to see how my week with it went.

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2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD Exterior

Exterior view of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

It's been a decade since Toyota last redesigned its minivan, and the 2021 Toyota Sienna has an overall style that is about as far from a slab-sided design as Toyota could get. Yes, it still has the wedge shape, long roof, and sliding side doors. But these signature minivan cues are incorporated perfectly into a bold, surprisingly captivating design. Up front, the short hood and massive grille are an evolution of the previous Sienna's design, while the rear view shows off bulging rear wheel arches, Camry-like taillights, and even a duckbill spoiler.

Bottom line, you're not going to find another minivan that looks like the Sienna, and this one stood out even more, thanks to its Sunset Bronze Mica paint job. The helpful hands-free power sliding side doors are standard on all but the base LE trim level, and the Sienna Limited adds some extra chrome trim and 18-inch split-spoke wheels.

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2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD Interior

Interior view of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

The best reason to own a minivan is the massive amount of interior space, and the 2021 Toyota Sienna definitely delivers in that regard. The new Sienna can still seat up to eight people, but this tester was equipped with the seven-passenger configuration, and featured second-row captain's chairs. As expected from a minivan, the cabin is extremely practical, with plenty of storage. But the best part of the new Sienna's interior is the instrument panel, which features a floating center console, full-width shelf, and a wireless smartphone charger. Toyota also stuck with a conventional shifter, instead of the rotary or push-button gear selectors found in the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey.

The Sienna was obviously designed with family hauling in mind, as evident by the abundance of storage space, seven USB ports, and 18 cupholders. The Limited trim level upgrades the interior with three rows of leather seats, with heated and cooled front seats, a seven-inch digital gauge cluster, a nine-inch touchscreen navigation system, and a 12-speaker JBL sound system. This tester was also equipped with the rear-seat entertainment system ($1,415) with a single, 11.6-inch roof-mounted screen, a 1,500-watt inverter ($300) that adds a pair of 120-volt power outlets, and a digital high-resolution rearview mirror ($200).

Although this new Sienna is longer and wider than the previous body style, interior volume is down ever so slightly, but that's only noticeable on the spec sheet. This interior is roomy, comfortable, and accommodating for all rows of seating. Unlike the previous Sienna, the second-row seats are no longer removable, which somewhat limits the versatility, but these seats do tilt and slide forward maximizing cargo volume. The third row tumbles manually into the floor, and provides a flat load surface. In total, this new Sienna can hold a maximum of 101 cubic feet worth of cargo, and carry 33.5 cubic feet with all three rows in place.


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2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD Powertrain

Engine bay of the  2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

The new Sienna joins the ranks of the Prius and Venza as dedicated Toyota hybrid models. It's only available with a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, an electric drive motor, and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Total power output is rated at 243 horsepower, and while this is lower than the 296-horsepower rating of the 2020 Sienna, fuel economy is way up for this AWD family hauler. It delivers EPA-rated estimates of 35 mpg city and 36 highway, and sticking with FWD adds an extra 1 mpg in city driving. Even better, the Sienna AWD also has an EPA-rated driving range of 630 miles, which exceeds the range of any of its rivals by more than 100 miles. For those keeping score, that's 210 miles further than the previous Sienna could go on a single tank. Hold on to your bladders!

Riding on the same platform as the Highlander, Venza and RAV4, the 2021 Sienna uses a multi-link rear suspension (instead of the previous model's twist-beam setup) which gives the minivan a smoother and more responsive ride. On the flip side of the coin, though, the hybrid powertrain results in the Sienna being heavier and less powerful than its predecessor, which results in sluggish off-the-line acceleration. 

Like other AWD hybrids from Toyota, the Sienna is available with an electronic on-demand AWD system that uses an electric motor at the rear axle instead of a transfer case and driveshaft. This AWD system is a $2,000 option on all Sienna trim levels, and when wheel slip is detected, it can send up to 80 percent of the power to the rear wheels. Those with toys to tote will be happy to know that the new Sienna didn't lose any of its towing capacity in the switch to hybrid power, as it's still able to tow up to 3,500 pounds.


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2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD Safety

Interior view of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

Like all the Toyotas AutoNation Drive has tested recently, the 2021 Toyota Sienna comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features. This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, and Automatic High Beams.

On top of all that, the new Sienna has earned a 5-Star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD Overall

Exterior view of the 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD

Not only is the Sienna the perfect choice for families looking to comfortably haul up to eight passengers, the standard hybrid powertrain makes it the most fuel-efficient minivan you can buy. Incredibly, that includes smaller van options like the Ford Transit Connect and the Mercedes-Benz Metris! So while the Sienna isn't the only minivan to offer a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive, it's the only one which delivers both features.

Despite the more advanced powertrain, the 2021 Toyota Sienna still has a similar price point as its predecessor. Priced starting at $34,460, the new Sienna costs about $10,000 less than the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, but keep in mind that the Pacifica is a more advanced plug-in hybrid, which is capable of driving up to 32 miles on all-electric power. Decked out with the Limited trim level, all-wheel drive, and a handful of interior options, the Sienna used for this review had an as-tested price of $51,810.

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Jeffrey N. Ross

2021 Toyota Sienna Limited AWD


4-door, 7-passenger, AWD


2.5L I4 Hybrid
243 hp, 288 lb-ft
CVT auto



NHTSA Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★

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