New Model News

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

 
 

GMC has a winner with its new Yukon Denali.

Photo courtesy of GMC

The 2021 GMC Yukon isn't just a new SUV. It's a maturation of the brand, continuing the growth ushered in by the Sierra truck redesign two years ago.

GMC, a division of General Motors, didn't just make the SUV more luxe than the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, or a more rugged choice than the Cadillac Escalade. The Yukon is its own beast. And make no mistake, it is a beast in proportions though on the road it proves impressively maneuverable.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Each Yukon Denali comes with the Denali trim level's new grl Photo courtesy of GMC

The three-row full-size SUV is solid and capable. It's also the most elegant model in the GMC lineup, especially as tested in the Denali trim level. From the unique grille with satin chrome surround to the dual exhaust system with dual steel tips, the Yukon Denali stands out.

Riding on 20-inch wheels and powered by GM's 6.2-liter V8 engine, the Yukon Denali makes a proficient 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The engine is connected to a GM's 10-speed automatic transmission, which cannot be smoother in its operation.

The four-corner air suspension ensures that the ride is stable whether on smooth pavement or dirt, rounding corners at speed, or turning into a parking lot. It also raises and lowers the vehicle to an optimal height depending on the vehicle's current driving or resting function.

Pulling into that parking lot and getting properly into the space is easy thanks to accurate steering and the Yukon Denali's class-leading nine camera views.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali The rear of the Yukon Denali is a new look for the model. Photo courtesy of GMC

Shifting of the Yukon Denali is done via a new lever and button configuration that is placed on the dashboard near the steering wheel. In a world of stick, column, push-button, and rotary shifters, this new take is easy to use and intuitive. It's certainly head and shoulders ahead of the push-button shifter featured in the current generation Traverse's center stack when it debuted a few years ago.

GMC has equipped the Yukon Denali with a four-wheel drive system that allows proper traction in a variety of weather conditions. Only sunshine graced the SUV during its 36-hour test drive so there was no opportunity to truly put the system through its paces.

The Yukon Denali's cabin is more premium than ever before. It truly feels luxurious, even despite its parts bin center console controls, which are shared with the Sierra. Leather and soft-touch surfaces abound. The cabin is appointed in authentic materials in the areas where your eyes traditionally rest while being a passenger.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Fine materials are on display throughout the cabin. Photo courtesy of GMC

It has a unique moving center console that allows front row passengers to have more space while making the center console more accessible to second-row occupants.

Speaking of the second row, its captains chairs are made for comfort. In front of the passengers are twin 12.6-inch entertainment screens. The screen system no longer supports DVDs. The shift is in favor of USB- and Bluetooth-connected devices as well as streaming content. It can now accommodate Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Playstation, Apple TV, Roku, and Sling devices.

Access to the third row is easy through the center of the second row and adults can more comfortably sit back there thanks to the Yukon's elongated body style for the 2021 model year.

In front of the driver is a 15-inch head-up display that offers music information from the 14-speaker Bose sound system, navigation, and speedometer in an unobtrusive way.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali A new push button and lever shifting system is employed in the model. Photo courtesy of GMC

At the center of the dashboard is a sizable 10.2-inch infotainment screen that utilizes GM's standard operating system and graphics. Unlike what's in Genesis and Lincoln models, GMC's parent company hasn't refined the system with different styling for the premium model line. The Yukon Denali has up to eight USB ports, wireless charging, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

GMC has equipped the Yukon Denali with a host of standard safety features - most everything you'd expect. GM's Super Cruise hands-free driving technology hasn't yet made it over to the model, which is a shame.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali The Yukon Denali utilizes switchgear from the Sierra. Photo courtesy of GMC

Despite the complete redesign and impressive enhancements to the Yukon Denali for 2021, GMC has upped the price just $600 from the cost of the 2020 model. Including the destination charge the SUV comes in at just over $75,000. While $75,000 might sound steep to many buyers out there, compared to what you get from luxury automakers and truck sellers for that price, the Yukon Denali's cost is impressively low. That includes three rows of seating, high-end appointments, comfort, style, and a towing capacity of up to 7,900 pounds. The Yukon Denali could be priced at $90,000 and it would hardly elicit a second thought.

2021 GMC Yukon Denali Dual entertainment screens are available in the Yukon Denali. Photo courtesy of GMC

From the interior to the exterior it's easy to see that GMC has gotten this one right. Twenty-five percent of GMCs sold are Denali badged and it wouldn't be surprising to see that number creeping up with the freshly enhanced model.

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Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai, has announced the formation of a new unit - New Horizons Studio. The new venture is focused on the development of what Hyundai calls Ultimate Mobility Vehicles (UMVs).

New Horizons Studio is part of Hyundai's larger focus on the future of mobility. Unit workers will work to envision vehicles that wander with "unprecedented mobility". These products will focus on target customers that have unconventional travel needs whether it be to access places they have never been or adapt their mobility limitations to their surroundings.

Hyundai 'Elevate' Walking Car Concept

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

New Horizons Studio is led by Vice President Dr. John Suh, who has held several leadership roles at Hyundai Motor Group since 2011. He served as founding director of Hyundai Ventures, and then led Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences) as its founding director based in Silicon Valley. He brings over 35 years of expertise in the automotive and emerging technology sectors, including roles at Stanford University, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC; formerly, Xerox PARC), and General Motors Company.

"We aim to create the world's first transformer-class vehicle, also known as the Ultimate Mobility Vehicle," said Dr. Suh.

Dr. Ernestine Fu will move to New Horizons Studio as Director of Product Management. She has led research on human operator and autonomous vehicle interactions at Stanford University's Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab, as well as scaled emerging technology companies for over nine years as a venture capital partner at Alsop Louie Partners.

The Hyundai Elevate is the first vehicle being developed by the Studio. It debuted at CES 2019 and does not rely solely on wheels to makes it way across urban, suburban, and rural landscapes. The unit sees the Elevate as being able to respond in emergency situations like natural disasters or assist with persons who do not have access to an ADA ramp.

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