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Redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna goes hybrid-only, gets bullet train-inspired design

The redesigned Toyota Sienna features looks inspired by the Bullet Train.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota unveiled its all-new 2021 Sienna today at its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. The fourth-generation minivan has been reworked by Toyota's designers, engineers, and product planners from the ground up with a goal of redefining the segment.

Playing to the crowd of family haulers that expect more versatility, technology, safety, and fuel economy, the new model ups the ante on all and even colors outside of the lines, with attributes that take it in the direction of people-pleasing SUVs and weekend getaway-mobiles.

2021 Toyota Sienna The Sienna's front end incorporates design found on the Toyota Avalon and Camry.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Available all-wheel-drive; an optional onboard vacuum and refrigerator; and Yakima accessories, such as a rooftop carrier, cross bars, and bike rack, among other items; plus a tow rating of up to 3,500 pounds--enough to tug a compact camping trailer--help it even play in the space of the ever-broadening group of overlanding vehicles. A factory optional 1,500-watt inverter with 120-volt AC outlet can power camping equipment.

Exterior

Designed, engineered, and assembled in the U.S, Toyota used a virtual reveal to show off the minivan's bolder looks and the updated hybrid powertrain that comes standard on all trims levels. The bones for the newest-gen model come from Toyota's TNGA-K Platform, also used in the Camry, which provides improved driving dynamics.

Toyota will sell the 2021 Sienna in LE, XLE, XSE, Limited and Platinum trims.

Seeking to broaden the characterization of minivans, a top objective of the design team was to was to optimize the best of minivan function and, at the same time, infuse a tincture of provocative styling, by adding strong overall proportions, accented by a shoulder-themed body lines and widened fender flares.

2021 Toyota Sienna The rear of the model is dynamic and shows some family resemblance.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Sienna's freshened face was inspired by the iconic Shinkansen (bullet train), bringing the impression of sleekness and speed. Its high-mounted headlights stretch to the sides and appear windswept, while the massive lower grille gets slim, high tech LED fog lights pinned to the corners.

At the rear are thin bands of LED lighting, an integrated black taillight canard for style and improved aerodynamic performance, and a deeply-sculpted tailgate with an integrated spoiler. The 2021 Toyota Sienna XSE trim adds dark 20-inch split five-spoke wheels and a more aggressive bumper treatment.

The sporty XSE and lavish Platinum grades fill their wheel wells with standard 20-inch aluminum clad wheels with P235/50R20 tires for FWD – the first-ever 20-inch wheels on a Sienna. The Limited FWD grade comes standard with 18-inch wheels.

Powertrain

Every Sienna in the Toyota lineup will get its power from a 243-horsepower hybrid powertrain that matches a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. Like the 2020 Highlander, the engine in the 2021 Sienna is paired with an electronically controlled CVT with sequential shift mode.

The Japanese automaker claims the minivan gets a class-leading, manufacturer-estimated 33 mpg.

2021 Toyota Sienna Toyota has decided to only sell hybrid versions of the Sienna for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Drivers can choose from EV, Normal, Eco, and Sport drive models. The model is capable of performing some functions on all-electric power utilizing EV mode.

This powertrain is different than the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV. That van requires owners to plug it into a wall socket in order to charge the battery. Otherwise, it runs purely as a hybrid model.

The Sienna's 7-inch multi-informational display in front of the driver on the instrument panel includes an indicator that illustrates the vehicle's regeneration status and provides scoring functionality.

As they did with the 2020 Highlander, Sienna is being offered with both a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is standard. The new electronic on-demand system utilizes a separate independent electric motor to instantaneously power the rear wheels, when additional traction is needed and at all vehicle speeds. It sends 80 percent of torque to the rear wheels to aid in front traction and helps in cornering maneuvers, by reducing understeer. Power distribution from front to rear varies with conditions-- from 100:0 in constant-speed driving to 20:80 on slippery surfaces.

Of note, the Sienna's 8-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty covers all hybrid-related components, including the battery.

Safety

The 2021 Sienna comes standard with second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0), a comprehensive active safety system. Click here to learn more about the system. Additional safety-centric features including electronic vehicle stability control with traction control, brake assist, anti-lock brakes, and Smart Stop Technology.

2021 Toyota Sienna Sienna models wear blue and black Toyota badging, denoting their hybrid powertrain.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The standard backup camera shows a projected path for reversing, while higher grade models have a wide-angle monitor to show more. A bird's eye view camera with perimeter scan allows for a 360-degree view. A curb view is also available.

Interior

Designers used "confidence, refinement, and smart innovation" as themes for the Sienna's modernized cabin, which has a high seat position and up to 18 cupholders. The instrument panel has been crafted with stout, horizontal layers. The large infotainment touch screen, smart storage, and a console that connects the elements in the center of the vehicle provides personalized space for driver and front passenger. Similar to the Chrysler Pacifica, an open area allows storage of larger items, such as a purse or bag.

The base Sienna LE and some XLE models come equipped in an eight-seat configuration with two captain chairs, a long slide second row seat and a stowable middle seat. Some XLE minivans, as well as the XSE, Limited, and Platinum are seven-seat models featuring the Super Long Slide second-row captain's chairs with the Limited and Platinum FWD models sporting ottomans. The available Super Long Slide second-row captain chairs slide 25 inches, giving impressive legroom.

2021 Toyota Sienna The interior of the 2021 Sienna leaves all 2020 Sienna attributes behind (and that's a good thing).Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Cloth upholstery is standard. Mid-grade models get SoftTex seats while high-end Siennas come equipped with leather upholstery.

Features

The 2021 Sienna comes with a long list of standard and available features including:

  • Sienna LE (standard) - 9-inch infotainment touch screen, six-speaker sound system, AM/FM radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, seven USB ports, hands-free phone capability, voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth, satellite radio, Toyota Connected Services, Wi-Fi capability
  • Sienna LE (available), Siena XLE (standard) - 9-inch infotainment touch screen, eight-speaker sound system, AM/FM/HD radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, seven USB ports, hands-free phone capability, voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth, satellite radio, Toyota Connected Services, Wi-Fi capability, Safety Connect (free three-year trial), Siri Eyes Free
  • Sienna XSE (standard) - 9-inch infotainment touch screen, eight-speaker sound system, AM/FM/HD radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, seven USB ports, hands-free phone capability, voice recognition and music streaming via Bluetooth, satellite radio, Toyota Connected Services, Wi-Fi capability, Safety Connect (free three-year trial), Siri Eyes Free, navigation
  • Sienna XLE and Sienna XSE (available) - JBL audio system that includes a 12-speaker sound system, 1,200-watt amplification, and Clari-Fi digital restoration technology

Buyers can option their models with a variety of packages including the LE Plus, XLE Plus, and XSE Plus packages. Sienna Limited and Platinum minivans have no packages to choose from, but are available with the buyer's choices of two add-ons: a digital rearview mirror and a 1080p rear seat entertainment center with an 11.6-inch display, HDMI input, remote control, and two wireless headphones. The rear entertainment center is also an option o XLE and XSE models.

2021 Toyota Sienna A new center console design seeks to maximize storage space and provide a compartmentalized front row.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The top-tier Sienna Platinum has a long list of amenities and premium features including kick-open and closed sliding side doors and rear gate, quad-zone climate control, heated second-row super-long slide captain's chairs with ottomans, a segment-first power tilt/telescoping steering column with heated steering wheel, refrigerator, a digital rear-view mirror, 10-inch color head-up display, and 12-speaker JBL Premium Audio system. A vacuum is standard on Limited and Platinum trim levels.

Also on the list of improvements was the objective to bring "library quiet" to the interior, and to improve conversational hearing. Aiding that effort s the Driver Easy Speak system, which transmits the driver's voice through the audio system to the rear speakers. Honda has installed a similar feature in the Odyssey.

Pricing

The 2020 Toyota Sienna starts at $31,640. Expect the 2021 model to be priced slightly higher thanks to a host of new technology and fresh design. The current model tops out just over $45,000 but with the addition of a new top-tier trim level, expect the highest-cost 2021 Sienna to go for near $50,000.

On Sale

The 2021 Toyota Sienna will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2020. Pricing is expected to be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The BMW iX is just one model that is coming to American for the 2022 model year.

Photo courtesy of BMW

Many cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans have gotten upgrades for the 2022 model year. There are a a variety of terms you'll frequently see associated with a description of a vehicle for its annual changeover. Here's how AutomotiveMap defines them:

  • New - These models are entering the market for the first time.
  • Carryover - There have been no major changes from one model year to the other. It is common that the year after a new or refreshed model is introduced, it will be a carryover.
  • Refreshed - Commonly occurring three to four years after the new generation of a model is introduced, a refresh usually includes new fascia, perhaps an engine lineup change or tech upgrade, and usually the addition of safety system upgrades.
  • Redesign - This term signals a generation change in the model. This usually requires an architecture change and all new body panels, engine lineup, tech offerings, and the introduction of new packages, trim levels, and pricing. Redesigns typically happens every seven to nine years.

The models on this list are new or have either been redesigned or refreshed for the 2022 model year. This list will grow as more information becomes available. Click here to see the 2021 models that were new, refreshed, or redesigned for the year.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG​

Volkswagen announced a refreshed version of the Tiguan SUV in late 2020 but made it known that the model wasn't going to make it stateside until late 2021. The European version (shown above) of the SUV has a new grille that combines with standard LED headlights, VW's new logo right up front, new rear bumpers, redesigned lettering, and a pretty decent tech upgrade in its cabin.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Word on the street is that the new Toyota Corolla Cross could be coming to the U.S. as a 2022 model. That's unconfirmed at this point. If it were, the Corolla Cross could fill a gap in Toyota's lineup between the RAV4 and CH-R, similar to where the Hyundai Kona fits between the Santa Fe and Venue. Stay tuned for more information.

2022 Nissan Ariya

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Ariya is a 300-mile all-electric crossover with a $40,000 price tag. It might be replacing the Murano in the company's lineup as the brand strategically weighs production versus an electrified business model. The Ariya has unique, minimalistic design that uber modern. Stay tuned for more information as it's announced throughout 2021.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Details Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

When the Grand Wagoneer concept debuted in late 2020, it was touted as coming soon and nearly production ready. The model fits into FCA/Stellantis's multi-year product plans as a 2022 model with production expected to kick off in 2021. Check back for more information.

2022 Hyundai Kona

2022 Hyundai Kona N Line Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

The Kona is already old enough to have undergone a model refresh. They grow up so quickly! The new design infusion gives the 2022 Kona new cladding, a freshly stretched hood, new grille shape. The lower bumper has a skid plate while intakes dominate the corners of the face. At the back are new taillights with a horizontal graphic. Below is a new bumper. The revised Kona rides on updated 17- or 18-inch wheels, or the 16-inchers that have been carried over from previous model years. The model also gets Hyundai's 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen.

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback and SQ5 Sportback

2022 Audi Q5 Sportback Photo courtesy of Audi AG

In their seemingly never ending move to fastback everything, Audi is making the Q5 Sportback and SQ5 Sportback a reality for the 2022 model year. The two models get basically the same equipment package as their squared-off counterparts and has about the same capability.

2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Cadillac Blackwing launch

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac will soon be introducing its new performance-centric sedan. We'll update this information when it's announced.

2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Sedona

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sedona name is gone, replaced by the Kia Carnival moniker for the 2022 model year. That's not as big of a deal as it sounds, the van has always been known as the Carnival to global markets. For 2021, the van got a generational upgrade overseas, but those changes won't make it stateside until the 2022 model year.

2022 BMW 4 Series Cabriolet

2022 BMW 4 Series Convertible Photo courtesy of BMW

The 4 Series is a distinct creature. For the 2022 model year, a cabriolet version of the car will be made available for sale that's lighter and has more cargo space and a lower center of gravity than its predecessor. Like its hard-topped relatives, the 4 Series Convertible is available with a variety of packages but only one engine is available, a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

2022 Volkswagen Taos

2022 Volkswagen Taos Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is introducing the Taos to the U.S. market for the 2022 model year. The small SUV is akin to the Hyundai Kona in size and the Volkswagen Tiguan in styling. VW made this model explicitly for the U.S. market where SUVs are dominating the sales conversation.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

In 2020, the automaker revealed the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, which has been refreshed inside and out. Most notably, it has a refreshed face and redesigned hatch. Minor interior improvements are designed to help make the Mitsubishi more palatable to buyers.

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

2022 Volkswagen Golf R

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R is the most powerful Golf to date and yes, it's coming to the U.S. The performance variant of the Golf family delivers 315 horsepower, a 27-horsepower boost over the outgoing model, and 310 pound-feet of torque up from 280). Each Golf R gets a turbocharged 1,984 cc four-cylinder engine hat is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available.

2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing

Blacwing launch

​Photo courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac will soon be introducing its new performance-centric sedan. We'll update this information when it's announced.

2022 Hyundai Tucson

2022 Hyundai Tucson Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Tucson has been completely redesigned for the 2022 model year and it's impressive to say the least. The upmarket two-row SUV comes with high-tech features, comfortable seats, and a seriously budget-friendly price tag.

2022 Infiniti QX55

2022 Infiniti QX55 Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The long-awaited Infiniti QX55 is finally a reality. Like many of the other vehicles on this list, it's a small SUV. The QX55 takes the place of the QX30 in the automaker's lineup and is designed to offer a premium drive experience that's engaging and fun, similar to the Infiniti FX of the past.

2022 Honda Civic

2022 Honda Civic Prototype Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

A new generation of Honda Civic is on the way. The company recently revealed a near-production prototype of the car (as seen above) and a fully operable next-gen version is planned to debut soon. Stay tuned.

2022 Subaru BR-Z

2022 Subaru BRZ Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The sister of the Toyota 86 has gotten a full blown generational change for the 2022 model year. The 2022 Subaru BRZ keeps its pin-sharp handling but has gotten a significant makeover inside and out. It's also gotten Subaru's standard EyeSight driver assist and safety technology.

2022 Genesis GV70

2022 Genesis GV70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The Genesis GV80 just landed on U.S. shores but its smaller brother, the GV70 isn't too far behind it. The GV70 carries over the premium looks and features of the GV80 into this smaller, and more budget-friendly package.

2022 Acura MDX

2022 Acura MDX exterior Photo courtesy of Acura

The Acura MDX may be one of the first 2022 models to make it to market. The next-generation MDX has gotten significant enhancements to its interior quality, drivability, and comfort for the new model year. Engineers are also planning a sportier version of the MDX so stay tuned for information about that.

2022 GMC Hummer EV

2022 GMC Hummer EV Photo courtesy of GMC

The GMC Hummer EV finally debuted in mid-2020 but it won't make it to buyers' homes until late 2021. The first editions of the model are slated to be the most powerful and priciest with the cost of each topping $100,000. GMC's first all-electric model combines the comfort of an SUV with the styling of a beefy truck as it attempts to become the ultimate utility vehicle.

2022 GMC Sierra

2022 GMC Sierra Denali

Photo courtesy of GMC

It's been rumored since its interior design fell flat at its debut that the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado were having interior redos hustled through the design process. GMC gave the first indications that this is true when they announced that the Sierra Denali is getting Super Cruise driving tech for 2022. Stay tuned for more info.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Chevrolet teases refreshed 2022 Bolt EV, new 2022 Bolt EUV

A refreshed Chevrolet Bolt EV is on the docket for 2022. Chevy has been teasing the model left and right over the last few months so we should know more concrete information soon.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

A crossover version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV called the Chevrolet Bolt EUV will be coming to market as a 2022 model as well. Information is pending on the model but several clues have already surfaced.

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi is teasing the next-gen 2022 Outlander ahead of its February debut. Stay tuned for more information about the SUV.

2022 BMW iX

2022 BMW iX Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2022 BMW iX is an all-electric SUV slated to arrive in the U.S. later this year. The iX will be the first bit of BMW's future EV plans to reach U.S. shores and bring with it the latest and greatest technology the company offers.

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Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 delivers new safety and driver assistance tech to the company's 2021 model lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made public a list of proposed upgrades to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NCAP testing addresses the crashworthiness of a vehicle as well as the vehicle's headlight functionality. These new proposed measures go even further, putting driver assistance and safety technology to the test.

Automakers often strive to achieve the highest score possible in NCAP testing, wearing their five-start safety ratings and Top Pick designations as badges of honor in marketing campaigns.

"Thanks in part to NCAP, new vehicles today are much safer than a generation ago," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens. "Even so, there are still too many fatalities and serious injuries in crashes every year, so it is critical that vehicles keep getting safer in the future, and a modernized NCAP will better enable American families to select vehicles with the safety features they want."

The immediate planned update to NCAP testing includes four advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS): lane keeping support, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and blind spot intervention. Engineers have designed these four specific technologies to mitigate high-frequency and high-risk crash types.

NHTSA is currently seeking public input on how best to develop a rating system for ADAS technologies.

"These upgrades will make NCAP more dynamic," Deputy Administrator Owens said. "American car buyers want safety, and NHTSA wants to empower them with comparative safety information about vehicles in the market. This information creates powerful market-based incentives for automakers to invest in advanced safety technologies that will save lives and prevent injuries."

The NHTSA began testing vehicles in 1978. The first tests examined frontal impact protection and used data from crash test dummies. The five-star safety rating system was established in 1993 and have been steadily increasing the scope of the testing over the last two decades.

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