Not every vehicle is going to thrill every person. I get that. We’re all different and that’s OK.
I have a neighbor who just adores her 2021 Toyota Sienna — so much so that her daughter has also purchased one and they both swear they’re the best things ever.
Personally, I wasn’t as crazy for this minivan as they were, but I’m pretty sure that all the things I didn’t like were due to personal taste. And that’s the beauty of it all, right? Still, I found a number of things I really did like. If you think the Sienna might be the minivan for you, here are a few things you’ll probably love.
Related: The Greatest Change in the 2021 Sienna Minivan? Amazing Hybrid Fuel Economy in an Even Sportier Package
It’s a Hybrid. No Really. It Only Comes as a Hybrid.
This really excites me because it means we’ve come so far that hybrid technology is both reliable and practical enough to make it one of the most popular family haulers’ only engine choice. That is a big deal. When I talk to people about this I hear mostly excitement and very few hesitations about this being such a new thing.
My personal concern is that the Sienna has a reputation for lasting practically forever, so Toyota can demand a higher price to begin with. But will the engine and its batteries last that long? Our colleague Scotty Reiss owned a hybrid Highlander and reports the hybrid battery lasting its entire life, 225K miles, before they had to turn it in. I’m wondering if the Sienna can log that many miles and what its retail value will be a few years down the road.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna Drives Like an SUV
The thing that most impressed me about this minivan is that once I got behind the wheel I easily forgot I was driving a van. This felt more like my V8 Durango! The get-up-and-go this thing offers is courtesy of the hybrid engine and the extra torque it provides. We took the Sienna on a road trip, and I was not the only one who had to keep a close eye on the speedometer. It seems the Sienna likes to hover around 90 miles per hour on the interstate. That is only a bad thing if you don’t notice it and slow down before the police notice. Ahem.
Related: Toyota Sienna vs. Chrysler Pacifica vs. Honda Odyssey: How Do These Minivans Stack Up in the Ultimate Showdown?
Storage Cubbies Galore
No other van I’ve driven has this much extra, thought-out storage space. My favorite is the big pass-through handbag holder under the center console. You can seriously put a diaper bag or backpack down there. The downside to this amazing cubby is the console in the 2021 Toyota Sienna’s console seems a little taller than in some of the other minivans, and there is less room in the dash for the infotainment screen, which is mounted on and not in the dash. This left me feeling a little cramped. Perhaps it’s a worthy trade-off — I can’t decide.
A Sculpted, Sporty Exterior
This is one of those features that you’ll either love or hate. Most people I talk to really love the fact that this looks like a grown-up Toyota Highlander as opposed to a minivan. To me, it’s just a little too much sculpting. It makes the van look like those caricature drawings you can have done at the county fair. I think it also makes the Sienna look smaller than other minivans. That said, the exterior styling does not affect the comfort or practicality of this vehicle.
The Best Seats in Town
Something I have loved about the Siennas my friends drive are the flip-out ottomans on the second-row captain’s chairs. Apparently, these are optional because the Platinum level Sienna we test drove did not have them! Ottomans or no, the 2021 Toyota Sienna’s second row is one of the easiest to access and use of any of the vans I’ve driven. I really liked the way they flipped forward for 3rd-row access and how roomy and comfortable they were. Another plus is the rear-seat entertainment screen is mounted in the ceiling instead of on the backs of the front seats. This makes getting in and out easier and makes the screens much less likely to be scuffed.
As a family who is considering a minivan purchase, the Sienna is hard to pass up. But that’s how it is with these things; practicality and comfort win over non-functional but sexy cars every time.