2021 Toyota Sienna XSE FWD Review
Blog Car Guide

2021 Toyota Sienna XSE FWD Review

Toyota’s Sienna minivan was completely redesigned for 2021. A Supra and bullet-train-inspired new body style, hybrid powertrain and optional AWD are among the highlights for this fourth generation of one of Canada’s most popular people-movers.

We drove a Sienna XSE, which is billed as the ‘sporty’ option thanks to cosmetic tweaks, 20-inch alloys (FWD only) and a tighter suspension tune.

Key Features:

  • Economical, hybrid-only powertrain
  • Long-slide rear seats
  • Useful new centre console

Direct Competitors:

  • Chrysler Grand Caravan/Pacifica
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia Carnival

How much does the 2021 Toyota Sienna cost?

2021 Sienna Trim Passengers Price
Sienna LE FWD 8-passenger $39,990
Sienna LE AWD 8-passenger $41,990
Sienna XLE FWD 8-passenger $42,990
Sienna XLE AWD 7-passenger $45,390
Sienna XSE FWD 7-passenger $45,690
Sienna XSE AWD 7-passenger $47,690
Sienna Limited FWD 7-passenger $56,190
Sienna Limited AWD 7-passenger  $58,190

Our test van was a FWD XSE, which sits between the XLE and Limited at $45,690. Like the XLE, it’s available with the $5,500 Technology Package. This was the only option fitted to our model.

You can see from the list above that only XE and XLE FWD Siennas come with a second-row bench seat to provide eight-passenger capacity. All other grades – including the AWD XLE – have second-row captain’s chairs to accommodate a maximum of seven passengers.

Toyota Sienna 2021 interior and equipment

2021 Sienna XSE FWD | Photo: Toyota 

Key features on this XSE grade are a power moonroof, kick-sensor tailgate operation, navigation, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and seats upholstered in sofTex ‘sport’ fabric. 

Technology Package upgrade

The Technology Package adds a 12-speaker JBL audio, rear-seat entertainment with wireless headphones, wide-angle backup camera, digital rear-view mirror and wireless device charging, as well as additional driver-assistance technology. 

The infotainment is operated via a 9in central screen that also provides the expected Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Completely redesigned Sienna cabin, more cargo space, but also a few drawbacks

Minivans are all about the interior and Toyota has reworked the Sienna’s to enhance its everyday practicality. In the front, the new ‘Bridge Console’ is a useful, high-mounted console that runs from the centre of the dash to a large storage bin between the front seats. Four cup holders take care of the kids’ drinks as well as your own. Below it is a wide storage tray for more gear.

We found the cockpit to be ergonomically sound apart from the poorly sited HVAC controls, consisting of a line of identical flick-switches. They’re not easy to reach or to tell apart, and the labels are hard to read in bright light. 

2021 Sienna XSE FWD | Photo: Toyota 

Meanwhile the digital rear-view mirror provides a wide view and is handy when the rear entertainment screen is down, but the reflections in it can be confusing. Should you prefer, it reverts to a conventional mirror at the flick of a switch.

The long-slide (635mm) second-row seats are a more helpful addition to the Sienna, offering the flexibility to prioritize legroom or maximize cargo space. There are ample sockets for devices (even the third row of seats gets a USB-C for charging) and there’s far greater cargo capacity, especially with the third row in place, than you’ll find in most 7-seater SUVs.

New Sienna XSE’s performance & handling

The new Sienna switches to Toyota’s widely used TNGA platform, providing greater mechanical commonality with models like the RAV4. That includes the 245-HP hybrid powertrain that’s standard across the range. 

Our Sienna never felt underpowered, and the official combined fuel consumption figure is slashed to 6.5L/100km. Its economy is bettered in the minivan segment only by the more expensive, plug-in Pacifica Hybrid.

2021 Sienna XSE FWD | Photo: Toyota 

We weren’t convinced by the XSE’s sporting aspirations. The 20-inch rims and firmer suspension tighten up the handling, but the ride comfort suffers, especially over poor surfaces. Smaller wheels and more relaxed suspension would be our preference for family transport.

Verdict: is Toyota’s redesigned 2021 minivan worth it?

The new Toyota Sienna is the only hybrid minivan with an AWD option, which should alone secure its continuing appeal to Canadian families. It’s an excellent all-rounder, with the new console and extra flexibility from the long-sliding seats enhancing its practicality in everyday use. 

Our advice would be to avoid the XSE’s misdirected sportiness and go for a more comfortable, alternative grade like the XLE or Limited.

Buying a used minivan now? Shop our inventory of used, certified minivans here.

The Easiest Way to Buy or Sell a Car