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Old 05-19-2020, 06:40 AM   #1
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Default Toyota aims for minivan magic with Sienna MakeOver

Toyota aims for minivan magic with Sienna makeover

The 2021 Toyota Sienna, due in dealer showrooms late this year, was scheduled to be revealed at the New York auto show last month before the event was postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, the fourth-generation Toyota minivan, along with the all-new Toyota Venza hybrid crossover, debuted Monday in an online live event.

Redesigned onto Toyota's flexible TNGA-K platform which underpins vehicles as diverse as the Camry, RAV4 and Highlander the newest Sienna receives much-needed styling and interior updates, as well as extra safety equipment and capabilities made possible by its first new platform in a decade.

In the first quarter, U.S. sales of the Sienna fell 36 percent to 11,876. The minivan segment is dominated by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, with its discontinued Dodge Grand Caravan narrowly edging out the Chrysler Pacifica, 24,931 to 24,525, for a combined 59.6 percent of the segment in the first quarter. The Sienna also trails the Honda Odyssey, which is a distant third, with 16,390 sales in the first quarter.

IMG-01Inside, Toyota's designers got creative with a fresh take on the cockpit, crafting what they call the Bridge Console to help the driver better locate needed functions at a more comfortable height and to split the front seats visually. A 9-inch infotainment screen holds center court, while the driver also receives information from a 7-inch screen in the instrument cluster and an optional 10-inch color head-up display available on the Platinum trim level.

In some configurations, the Sienna will maintain available seating for eight, while other models can be equipped with captain's chairs with optional pop-up footrests, depending on trim level. The second-row captain's chairs are able to slide up to 25 inches rearward, enabling the passenger to stretch out in comfort when the third row is unoccupied. Speaking of third-row passengers, Toyota will carry over its Driver Easy Speak feature, which uses the audio system to carry the driver's voice to the rear speakers, allowing rear passengers to better hear the driver without the necessity of raising voices.

The redesigned 2021 Sienna will adopt a host of new safety systems, including an optional digital rearview mirror that can be switched to a camera view if passengers or cargo are blocking the ability to see out the back windows. A Toyota strategy to make its Safety Sense equipment standard across all model lines comes in play here, with lane-departure warning and steering assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, dynamic cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert all standard.

IMG-02Under the hood, the Sienna will be equipped with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine mated to the two electric motors in its hybrid system, delivering 243 hp. The hybrid drive system has several driver-controlled settings, enabling the driver to switch into Sport, Eco, Normal or electric-only driving, depending on the circumstance. An optional all-wheel-drive model will use a separate electric motor to drive the rear wheels as needed for added traction.

"We looked at several different powertrains and finally decided that this hybrid powertrain ... was the sweet spot for us," said Kaehr.

In addition to greater fuel economy and range ideal for family vacations and long trips the setup will be ideal for other routines such as picking up kids from school, Kaehr said.

"In the winter ... having the ability to have the heater on is really important," he added. "And with the hybrid, you're able to use those batteries since you don't put out those fumes from your tailpipe."

And an available 1,500-watt inverter turns the hybrid into a generator for those "minivan scenes of tailgating, camping and power tool usage in your backyard," Kaehr said.

Pricing details for the 2021 Sienna have not been announced.
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