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2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid Coming. Would it be Better with a Gasoline-only Option too?

Get ready for a hybrid-only 2021 Sienna. Can you live without a gasoline version, though?


One of the worst-kept secrets in the automotive world is the launch of the 2021 Toyota Sienna. That is not the secret, though. Nor is it hidden news that this Sienna will be redesigned, meaning there should be major changes coming. There have been spy pictures taken over the last year showing a very well-wrapped minivan with a Toyota emblem. Interesting.

The real secret is that this Sienna will be released to the public in hybrid-only format. Meaning, it will be powered by a combination of a gasoline engine and electric motors. This could be a game changer ladies and gentlemen. Fans and enthusiasts are excited.

From what I have heard, there will not be a gasoline-only option for this 2021 Sienna. Interesting.

Toyota is bringing us more hybrids

This news falls in line with an aggressive Toyota decree to produce at least one out of every four of its vehicles with a hybrid or alternative fuel option by the year 2025. This date will sneak up on us quicker than we think.

“In the next few years, we are trying to increase the number of vehicles that we have with an alternate, electrified power plant to 25% (of total vehicle sales). Right now, it is about 9%. And give every vehicle we offer an electrified power plant option.” stated Tom Kretschmann, Product Subject Matter Expert with the Toyota Product & Sales Engagement team.

This last statement is particularly interesting, as it could mean vehicles we all know in the world of Toyota will be gaining new hybrid trim levels. Yes, I am looking at you Toyota Tacoma and Tundra and 4Runner. Oh yeah, and of course I cannot leave you out 2021 Sienna.

The current 2020 Sienna

All current 2020 Toyota Sienna minivans are powered with a team of a 3.5-liter V6 engine combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This produces 296 horsepower and 263 lb.-ft. torque. Most Sienna trim levels are front-wheel drive, but there are all-wheel drive choices available for those people in colder and snowier climates.

2020 Toyota Sienna XLE 2nd row seating

Sienna is what I consider to be a prime family road trip vehicle that is smooth and quiet and comfortable with plenty of seating for up to 8 passengers.

Only hybrid grades for 2021 Toyota Sienna

It is a near certainly that we are heading for a 2021 Sienna Hybrid. You should not be expecting a gasoline-only version of the Sienna this upcoming model year. Toyota is banking on its incredible reputation for long-term hybrid quality and reliability. Just look to its most famous lineup member, the Prius, as proof for just how dependable a Toyota hybrid vehicle is.

VIDEO: Learn my thoughts about upcoming 2021 Sienna Hybrid specs.

Also, Toyota has recently announced a strong extension of its hybrid battery warranty. All 2020 Toyota hybrid vehicles have a hybrid battery warranty of 10 years / 150,000 miles from date of purchase. This should provide a sense of calm and give peace of mind to potential owners who have never driven or owned a Toyota hybrid vehicle before.

Time for your thoughts on 2021 Sienna

Do you feel Toyota should also release some trim levels of the 2021 Sienna with a gasoline-only version? This is what Sienna drivers have been used to since its inception in 1997.

I personally feel there will be many people who naturally welcome a hybrid-only Sienna. They should get excellent fuel efficiency (perhaps up to 30mpg for a minivan). This should help tremendously while managing a long road trip vacation or “commuting to work” budget.

So, are you ready for the Sienna Hybrid? If you have never owned a hybrid, what, if any, concerns do you have about owning one?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I detail 5 key changes we want to see in a next-gen 2022 Toyota Tundra. Good stuff coming.

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James Moore (not verified)    April 30, 2020 - 12:26PM

I think hybrid/phev only for the Sienna makes sense since it’s a low volume selling vehicle mainly due to crossovers. I think it would only make sense to get a gas version over a hybrid if there were compromises with the hybrid like there are with the Pacifica hybrid like towing, spare tire availability, lack of AWD, and lack of stow and go. I’m hoping for a hybrid or even better PHEV with a spare tire and AWD.

Abram McCalment (not verified)    May 7, 2020 - 12:28AM

In reply to by James Moore (not verified)

Actually, with the Pacifica, the PHEV doesn't change the towing capacity. Also, spare tire availability is based on whether you have the integrated vacuum cleaner as it goes where the spare would be. As for AWD, we'll just have to see what happens when AWD comes available in 2021 on the Pacifica.

Hybrid only is a cool move, but I'd like to see a full electric variant with >300 mile range. Right now my money is staying in my wallet until the VW Buzz hits the streets unless it turns out to be anything less than what they've promised.

James Moore (not verified)    May 8, 2020 - 6:07PM

In reply to by Abram McCalment (not verified)

Actually, the PHEV Pacifica in the owners manual and commonly known to owners on forums states towing is not recommended for hybrid models meaning the towing capacity is 0. You are correct that if you have a vac on a gas model you don’t get a spare. On the PHEV the spare tire/vac storage is taken up by the 12v battery (non-drive battery) for starting the vehicle so no spare tire. The large drive battery is under the second row seats so no Stow and go for PHEV. It has already been confirmed for 2021 the Pacifica will get AWD but not the Hybrid. So like I said compromises.

Abram McCalment (not verified)    May 8, 2020 - 10:16PM

In reply to by James Moore (not verified)

You certainly did some good research on it. I only invested like 10 minutes on it and found a 2017 Hybrid brochure claiming it could tow the same 3600 pounds as the conventional. Obviously it could have easily been written before they started selling and test data revealed a problem. Standard Pacifica towing is a sea of disappointment anyway because if you don’t buy the factory tow package, as I did not, the towing capacity will only ever be 1500 pounds. Salty.

The vacuum is a whole other animal entirely because it’s one of those things you see in the sales copy and think “awesome I’ll use that all the time!” but the reality is not so much. I think I’ve used mine 3 times and only to vacuum goldfish out of a child seat in the driver side middle row. Wifey and I got it in Dec 2016. I don’t even know how to empty the hopper. If I’m really planning on vacuuming the car I’m pulling out the shop vac.

I thought the stow and go middle row would be huge but again I basically only stow the seats to clean the carpet. And Toyota doesn’t have it today anyway.

Now, if I were a platform manager at Toyota I’d do the same thing Honda did with their van and put it on the Highlander platform. For 2020 at least Highlander is available in an AWD hybrid with 3500 pound tow capacity. They’ve already got the part numbers and supplier base in place to make it happen should they want to. Chrysler is in a completely different boat being as they have comparatively no experience with hybrid powertrains. Do they even make a vehicle that’s a full multi mode hybrid other than Pacifica?

Andrew Horowitz (not verified)    May 4, 2020 - 11:25PM

Hybrids are more expensive to fix if problems arise. The cost of a new battery maybe prohibitive. Who would buy your used hybrid knowing the cost to repair and the need for a new battery. Plus only the dealer would be able to work on the car. And we all know how fair their fees are. The gas savings don't out weight these issues.

Martin C (not verified)    May 5, 2020 - 3:29PM

In reply to by Andrew Horowitz (not verified)

This is simply not the case any more. My buddy runs an independent garage and I take my 7 year old Prius there to service. He works on plenty of hybrids.

My Prius has had very little problems. It's probably by far the most trouble free car I've owned. That said, it is manufactured in Japan. Also, I'm pretty much getting the same MPG as I did when I first owned the car. This means the battery has degraded very little.

Toyota knows hybrids very well. If you go to Japan, you'll see a ton of different Toyota's in hybrid form.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Toyota comes out with. I'd like to trade in my current Sienna.

My assumption, we'll see similar system that is currently used in the new Highlander. It has FWD and AWD versions of hybrid. Also, probably plug in version, that will be similar to RAV-4 Prime.

Harold H (not verified)    May 13, 2020 - 11:51AM

We are going to buy a sienna. The dealer told us that the Sienna will only be a Hybrid for 2021. Even though toyota is know for reliability, time will tell how the sienna all hybrid reliability will be. It is an expensive car so its not worth taking the chance, so we are buying a 2020 gas model. I have a 2011 4runner that I bought brand new and its been the most reliable car I’ve ever had, 156k miles and expect to have for many more years.

Brian Peterson (not verified)    May 18, 2020 - 10:52AM

I hope it’s a PHEV. A vehicle, in 2020, that gets 30mpg and is powered entirely by fossil fuels is way behind the times.

Toyota seems to have developed a very good PHEV powertrain for the RAV4, I’m an interested buyer if they put that in the Sienna.

Nancy Light (not verified)    May 18, 2020 - 11:33AM

I am interested in a hybrid for 2021, but only if it is available in AWD. I live at the top of a hill and it does snow here. I also drive sometimes on off road property. I haven't looked into how difficult it will be to find charging stations out of my area and worry about that. So I may switch my plans to 2020 and gas only if concerns cannot be addressed.

Barney Biggs (not verified)    May 29, 2020 - 9:55AM

The reduction in HP and the question of towing capacity bother me and I also am looking for a new vehicle. I live on the coast and everything is up mountain and down and I tow an aluminum boat so these are key factors for me. My old 2004 Sienna does the trick and any new one has to as well.