Skip to main content

2021 Toyota Sienna Will Save Its Drivers $14,000 In Fuel Costs And More In Repairs

Toyota's new 2021 Sienna will help its owners save money on fuel costs, repairs, and maintenance. The best news is there is no downside.

Join us...    

The Toyota Sienna is still one of the top family vehicles in America. For 2021, the new Sienna gains a whole host of technologies. All of which deserve recognition. Your local dealer will be able to detail them all for you as you tour the local area for ten minutes on a test drive. What you won't need to focus on is the powertrain. And that is because Toyota made sure it had everything you need, and nothing you don't.

Related Story: It's What's Missing That Matters - Why Toyota Hybrids Are So Much More Reliable Than Other Brands' Vehicles

2021 Toyota Sienna - Plenty of Torque and Power
For the new model year, Toyota moves its new Sienna to a very reliable powerplant that it has been using successfully in other vehicles. The new fuel economy leaps to 36 MPG Combined according to Toyota. That means that over the 20-year life of this vehicle, its fuel cost will be a whopping $14,000 lower than the 2020 Sienna. That is about a third of the vehicle cost. Our fully-loaded AWD Limited tester had a list price of $49,675 including destination fees. The base trim starts around $36K.

The new setup uses electric motors to augment the gas engine. There is no plugging in or other related EV hassles. You just treat the van like any other and it uses dramatically less fuel.

We are testing the Sienna this week and have discovered that the new drive system is smoother and more satisfying than the outgoing model. Starting off torque is generous. In normal driving, you will find that the van pulls away from a stop better than the outgoing model. In parking lots and traffic, the gas engine isn't needed at all. The electric motors do all the work.

On the road, the Sienna's gas engine does the bulk of the work, but its electric motors help out when added power is desired. Combined, the power is 245 hp. However, it feels like more due to the torque of the motors and Toyota's unique gearless transmission.

Toyota's modern design also gets rid of many of the common maintenance items vehicles used to require. Like the drive belt, timing belt, starter, and alternator. They're all gone, and you won't miss them. You certainly won't miss paying to maintain or repair them.

2021 Toyota Sienna - All Wheel Drive
The Siena also offers all-wheel drive. Toyota is the only company that consistently offers AWD in this segment. New for this year is Toyota's dual motor AWD system. There is no driveshaft and no transfer case. The motor is not connected to the front of the vehicle mechanically. That saves weight and complexity. We have driven Toyota AWD systems of this type in snow and on dirt roads and it works very well. Luckily for us, it snowed during our week of the Sienna's testing and we became one of the first media outlets to test the Sienna in snow. Check out our full winter-driving report on the Sienna.

Related: Toyota's Mysterious Electric All-Wheel Drive System Explained

Toyota fits the Sienna with tires that have an aggressive tread that we predicted would do well in snowy conditions. Ours had a Bridgestone model we researched on Tire Rack. Its testing results earned an "Excellent" rating for snowy conditions. No winter tires needed.

2021 Toyota Sienna - New Features

We enjoyed the Android Auto phone mirroring. We also noted that Toyota has added a key and hands-free side door feature. You simply wave your foot under the door and it opens. If you are holding a squirming rug rat that will be very helpful. Toyota also has a new digital mirror.

All the usual minivan touches are still there. Massive cargo space, generous space for seven or more passengers. It's all there. What's missing is the high fuel cost associated with most large vehicles.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

Jeep Wrangler image by John Goreham. Re-use with permission only. Chart courtesy of

Join us...