A head-turning, sporty minivan sounds like an oxymoron, right? But that’s the best way to describe the 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE.
Trust me, if you had asked me prior to my experience driving the Sienna XSE, my sentiments would be a lot different. I’ve never considered minivans to be a “cool” car. I’ve felt that minivans were the ultimate end to youth. Very loudly screaming, “I am a mom with a brood of children with very little fun left in me.” Alas, I was wrong! The 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE straight-up called me a liar and changed my mind. Toyota made the Sienna XSE sporty, roomy, and equipped with all the things young families like mine need while on the road. My opinions were validated when someone in a red Corvette pulled up and exclaimed, “Wow! That’s your car? I want one of those!” They got out and examined the modern new look of the 2021 Toyota Sienna. Going through the history behind the design of the minivan. The Sienna owes its look to Japan’s iconic Shinkansen bullet train. Making it a head-turner for sure.
What Makes this Toyota Minivan Sporty?
I’ve spoken about the importance of “glowing up” in the past, as well as shared a Glow Up Challenge. I think Toyota got the hint and entered the 2021 Sienna model year with a glow-up. I love the new Toyota Sienna’s stylish body, wide-mouth grille, and headlamps. It is reminiscent of an SUV, which I love, making it a lot more attractive to buyers like me who don’t want their car to age them.
Related: Amazing Hybrid Fuel Economy in an Even Sportier Package
The Sienna XSE is the sportier trim for the model. The 20-inch dark wheels, sport-tuned suspension, masculine-looking front, and rear bumpers, and sporty driver and passenger seats make this Toyota minivan an attractive-looking, practical family mover. Although the Sienna Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with two electric motors, you still max out at 245 horsepower. For me, that’s impressive for a minivan, especially when compared to the 275 horsepower in my 2021 Acura RDX SH-AWD.
What We Loved About the Toyota Sienna Hybrid XSE
The Toyota Sienna XSE is not your grandma’s minivan. With its sleek exterior and functional interior, this Toyota minivan ensures that frumpiness is a thing of the past, combining the thrill of an SUV with the ease and adaptability of van life. It’s just what moms like me ordered. Here are a few of our favorites in this sporty minivan.
Fuel-efficiency matters when you’re a parent. Why? Because kids are expensive! If you’re looking into the Toyota Sienna, you’ll be happy to know that the 2021 model is exclusively hybrid, meaning you’re spending less money on gas and more on practical things for your family. Toyota boasts best-in-class fuel economy for this minivan, with a combined city/highway EPA rating of 36 mpg.
A three-row vehicle without captain’s chairs is pretty pointless. Thankfully, the Sienna XSE comes standard with second-row captain’s chairs making it comfortable for seating seven. Not to mention it made it easier for all of us to move about the cabin. The second-row captain’s chairs slide as well as recline. This provides excellent flexibility for the times you have to install a car seat or prioritize legroom or maximum cargo space.
Families need storage. The Toyota Sienna has lots of it. There’s space to conveniently fit smartphones, cups, purses, or anything else you want to bring along for the ride. I was amazed by the number of cupholders; there are 18! Four of which are located in the large bridge-like center console that flows out of the dashboard. It’s practical and I love that there is even a large space to store things below like a large diaper bag or even my laptop.
That third row folds easily but there’s still a generous amount of cargo room with it up. If more space is needed, the third row folds down easily, adding an additional 75 cubic feet of storage. That’s enough cargo to fit a few extra pieces of luggage or in our case, water and groceries.
Convenience and Technology to Keep Families Happy On-The-Road
I am a sucker for vehicles that make family’s lives on the road convenient with the use of technology. The Sienna is one of those vehicles. Let’s start with driver convenience offered by a 9-inch color display. It is easy to see and reach, and it has a simple menu structure. The XSE comes standard with in-dash navigation and lets drivers know the optimal acceleration amount for eco-conscious driving.
In the XSE I test drove there were six (6) USB charging ports for the kids’ devices. There’s even a USB-C in the third row for charging. The 1,500 -watt power converter with up to 120-volts of power adds even more charging flexibility; I was able to hook up my laptop.
The new Sienna also adds foot-activated power sliding doors. When you’re hands are full of bags or a baby, this is needed. Just kick under the door, and the door slides open or closed.
Parents of littles will love that the Sienna XSE has four (4) complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear seats. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the highest rating of Good+, which indicates that it’s among the easiest and most versatile to use. Initially, we installed the baby’s seat in the second-row captain’s chair, but then found the third row to be more convenient for me to have access to her.
What You Should Know About the 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE
Most minivans allow you to remove second-row seating to maximize cargo capacity. However, the Toyota Sienna’s second-row seats are stationary. They cannot be taken out of the vehicle. This may be a dealbreaker for some.
Toyota vehicles come with a two-year (or 25,000 miles) complimentary maintenance plan. And the following warranties:
- Limited warranty that covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty that covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Hybrid-component warranty that covers 8 years or 100,000 miles
How Much Does the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid XSE Cost?
The 2021 Sienna minivan all-hybrid lineup is available in five (5) trim levels: LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum. Base prices range from $35,635 for the LE up to $51,635 for an all-wheel-drive Platinum. The mid-range, sporty XSE is the sweet spot of the trim levels. It starts at $43,175 (FWD) or $43,935 (AWD), but with the addition of the XSE Plus Package, the price increases by $1,000. The XSE model we test drove maxed out at $45,118.
For drivers who prefer to save on the sticker price, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a Sienna with the latest comfort, tech, and safety features. The Sienna offers a slew of standard features, such as:
- Toyota Safety Sense 2.0: Pre-collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert W Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Standard Infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, seven USB ports, satellite radio, six speakers, and a Wi-Fi hot spot
- Hands-free dual power sliding doors
- Power liftgate
- Tri-zone automatic climate control
- Remote keyless entry
Who is the Toyota Sienna Made For?
Toyota made this minivan for me! I’m the mom who thought that the only vehicle I would drive would be an SUV. However, This Toyota minivan changed my perspective. The Sienna not only offers the space and flexibility families with smaller children need but also has the style younger families like me crave.
Learn more about the Toyota Sienna at http://www.toyota.com/sienna
Disclosure: As a participant in the Toyota EnTOURage program, Toyota provided the 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE loan for review purposes.