Toyota has the best hybrid lineup over any other manufacturer on the planet. They have the most hybrids available to suit just about any lifestyle.
I decided to take a look at the entire Toyota hybrid lineup to give feedback on if the hybrid version is worth owning or not.
In this article specifically, I will analyze the Toyota Sienna hybrid, what it offers consumers, and if the cost is worth owning the "Swagger Wagon."
Toyota Sienna Hybrid: Economy For The Whole Family.
Toyota Sienna is now offered in a hybrid version that the whole family can enjoy. Built on the new TNGA-K (Toyota New Global Architecture) for larger vehicles, it certainly is different than its predecessor.
The 2021 Sienna will have a 4 Cylinder 2.5-liter gasoline engine paired with the Toyota electric motor hybrid transmission to produce a total of 243 horsepower.
While power is reduced from the 3.5 2GR V6 by 53HP, you gain a significant 12 miles per gallon, and right now, that is a massive deal.
Sienna does not offer a "Prime" model, which is the plug-in style like the Chrysler Pacifica. It is also a Toyota, so you know you can rely on it (yes, that is my Toyota bias coming out).
Other benefits include an AWD-e option and a 3500-pound towing capacity. What does all of this boil down to? Family fun, of course.
Better MPG and towing capacity that hauls a small trailer mean plenty of summer camping/road trip fun without compromise. Hybrids help keep the cost of fuel and maintenance down for owners, which is a big deal.
Getting out and exploring the world once again, knowing it will not break your bank account, is something to write home about.
Other notable mentions are four-zone climate control, in-vehicle wifi, entertainment for the kiddos, and of course, when things get rowdy, Driver Easy Speak will help get your voice heard.
Sienna Hybrid Costs Of Ownership
40 miles per gallon vs. 25 miles per gallon is a huge difference. Throughout 10,000 miles, that is 150 fewer fillups, and when gasoline is $4.00 a gallon, that adds up quickly.
While $600 does not seem like a big deal, here a perspective that may help you see why it is so critical. The lifetime of your Sienna van or cost of ownership.
The average family owns a vehicle about 150,000 miles before getting a new one. So, we will base all calculations on that. We will stick without numbers of 40 and 25 and add up the costs over the mileage.
If we take 600 and multiply it by 15 (which is 150,000 miles/10,000) and keep a consistent fuel cost number at $4 a gallon, we will spend $9000 less on fuel than other owners.
This is critical because you will need new tires, oil changes, and probably a few other maintenance or repair items over the time you own the van.
So is the hybrid option worth the additional cost to something like Honda Odyssey priced at $42,800 (Touring Version)? The Platinum Sienna is $49,900, making it $7,100 more than a standard minivan. Sienna is no longer offered in standard gasoline-only trim.
So which van costs more? The Odyssey will get 28 miles per gallon at best, but for fun, let us bump it to 30 because I did fudge the Sienna numbers a tiny bit.
Again, 150,000 miles is our standard. If we do about 100 fillups every 10,000 miles, that is 400. Multiply that by 15 (150/10k and you will spend about $6,000 on fuel over the life of that van.
The difference in fuel costs between the two is $3,000, and the price for the Odyssey $7,100 less than the Sienna (both Vans compared at top trim levels).
Basic math will tell you that $4,100 is the difference and comes out in favor of the Odyssey.
While it seems that the Honda Odyssey is a clear-cut winner, we need to consider a few things.
The cost of fuel. Gasoline prices are on the rise for how long no one knows, meaning your savings can get spent quickly depending on how often you need to take the kids to soccer practice.
Cost of maintenance. A traditional transmission is more likely to fail than a proven Toyota hybrid transmission. It also costs significantly less to service it.
Tires are pretty much awash with minivans. All vans destroy tires. (ask me how I know) I m not sure why I brought that up.
My math is not exact. I gathered some base numbers and put together what seems like reputable data. To get at the costs and do a real-world analysis, I need to drive and use each van. The real-world setting will change everything.
Is the Toyota Sienna Hybrid worth it? Toyota seems to think so.
Toyota is taking some significant risks. Bold styling, the exclusive four-cylinder hybrid option, I feel will severely hinder sales, but with Sienna starting at $34,000 and Odyssey at $32,000, one could wager Sienna is the better deal for entry-level.
My opinion is to do what makes sense to you financially. I love Toyota products and will probably drive them for the remainder of my days, but I also own an Odyssey (long story).
I feel that the Toyota bet on a hybrid-only powertrain is a bold move. They have more data than I do to support such a drastic strategy.
Either way, I feel it is an excellent option for a family looking to get out on the road this summer. Thank you all for reading, and remember Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.