INTRO: When Richard Tawton was driving house from his job as a Para-Transit bus driver this spring, he was ready at a crimson mild when one other driver began honking at him. When he lowered his window to see what was happening, the driving force within the subsequent automobile over yelled out excitedly: “I simply purchased one, too!”
The motive force was referring to the 2021 Toyota Sienna XLE minivan that Tawton was driving, which simply hit the market in Canada earlier this yr. It appears Tawton wasn’t the one one who had his eye on the fourth technology of the Sienna, which is an entire revamp from the minivan’s earlier iteration. For one factor, it’s a hybrid-only mannequin, impressed by Japanese bullet trains, which provides it a singular exterior (like, effectively, a bullet practice), with a entrance bumper that juts outward. Gone is the V6, changed by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain.
When Toyota introduced the discharge of the minivan final fall with an internet reveal, that’s when Tawton knew he needed to have it. He tells us why he loves his automobile:
FIRST PERSON: “After they introduced it, I ordered it immediately, and I used to be the primary one out of the dealership to get the Sienna — proper now they’re back-ordered, they will’t get sufficient of them,” stated Tawton, who bought his minivan from Meadowvale Toyota in Mississauga. “They discovered me one within the ‘blueprint’ color. It’s a deep, deep blue.
“This design is offered completely as a hybrid. The Sienna’s total gasoline economic system simply bests different minivans. I really feel the XLE trim gives the very best worth — I’ve the seven-passenger AWL trim. I want the all-wheel drive to assist me get to my job in Caledon, which has lots of gravel roads.”
Tawton lives in Cooksville and is semi-retired however works as a bus driver two to 3 days per week for Caledon Neighborhood Companies within the Area of Peel. “I drive into Caledon every time — that’s why I purchased the Sienna, as a result of it’s obtainable in all-wheel-drive, and I really feel you want that to drive in Canada,” he stated.
He additionally retains lively with organizations such the Hamilton Path Blazers climbing, volunteers for the Royal Ontario Museum, takes cooking classes at George Brown Faculty and leads historic or architectural strolling excursions in Toronto for Stroll and Roll — which have simply began up once more. All of this to say, he spends lots of time on the street.
“It’s very trendy, it’s nice wanting, it’s acquired improbable headlights,” Tawton stated. “I’ve lengthy slide seats within the again — it’s a seven-seater and it’s like limo seating again there. You’ll be able to slide them proper again and fold the seats up, and you may put a sleeping bag or a full-size bike again there. But it surely’s additionally nice on gasoline, about 800 to 900 kilometres per tank.
“And I’m not a tech geek, however this has acquired extra computing energy in it than the unique house shuttle.”
A CLOSER LOOK: 2021 Toyota Sienna XLE
Minivans are sometimes thought-about the area of soccer mothers, the place practicality trumps model. However the Sienna 2021 gives a way more trendy inside than its predecessors, taking the dated minivan of yesteryear into the longer term. For instance, there’s a floating centre console that gives a big cupboard space beneath, of which Tawton is a giant fan. “You’ll be able to place lots of stuff beneath it. I put my PPE masks and cleansing provides there. You’ll be able to cost your cellphone there, above it, or beneath it — and a lot extra.”
One of many largest perks is that you just don’t must pay additional for a hybrid powertrain, as a result of it comes customary with the 2021 mannequin — rated at 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres mixed gasoline consumption. “It’s so nice on gasoline for its dimension,” stated Tawton. “Nice in snow and ice. I really feel so protected in it, and it’s the just one within the van market that may be a hybrid … with AWD.” The Sienna 2021 can also be primarily based on Toyota’s TNGA-Ok platform, so steering is extra exact and dealing with safer.
From a sunroof to heated seats, it is a minivan that’s constructed for drivers, not simply hauling children to soccer video games. “I all the time needed a heated steering wheel. It’s so good to have on a chilly day,” stated Tawton. “It has SofTex vinyl seats, really easy to scrub, plus they’ve three ranges of warmth in them.” Talking of seats, legroom has elevated in each the second and third rows, whereas the second row options captain’s chairs that may recline and even slide forwards and backwards.