Toyota launches new home-market hybrid minivan

Toyota launches new home-market hybrid minivan

Toyota has released a new hybrid minivan for its home market. The latest Japan-market Sienta (not to be confused with the US-market Sienna) is available in both hybrid-electric and petrol versions.

An all-new three-row design, said to have been inspired by a trekking sneaker, the Sienta is geared towards outdoorsy families that enjoy camping and road trips to whatever the Japanese equivalent of the Grand Canyon is. The interior features “stadium seating” in which each successive row sits slightly higher, so kids can look out the windows when not glued to their electronic devices.

Rather than the staid silvers and champagnes of typical minivans, the Sienta is offered in a palette of “fun” colors such as yellow, electric blue, and bright green. Some versions get blue or bronze highlights around the grille and blue side mirrors. A splash of orange indicates the presence of a glove box, otherwise well-hidden in a nicely sculpted dash.

The Sienta boasts an ultra-low floor, over 2 inches lower than the previous model, for ease of entry and loading. The overall size is smaller than that of a typical US minivan; think something closer to the Mazda5 or a typical European MPV.

Power comes from two choices: A new version of Toyota’s 1.5L hybrid system, good for 73/60 hp gasoline engine/electric motor output (significantly higher than the 60/26 of the Prius c that uses an older version of the same powertrain) and 64 mpg in the Japanese testing cycle. The pure petrol 1.5L version makes 79 hp, gets 48 mpg, and is available with front- or all-wheel-drive.

Toyota’s new Safety Sense C suite of electronic helpers, including a pre-collision alert and braking system, lane departures, and automatic high-beams, is optional on all trim levels. The Sienta went on sale across Japan on Friday.

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