The 2021 Toyota Sienna is taking a completely different approach to its predecessor. Not only does the change bring new styling and more technology, as is standard with these makeovers, but it also adopts a new powertrain. From this point forward, the brand’s family hauling wagon adopts an all-hybrid platform, while retaining an all-wheel drive option. Thanks to the more efficient 2.5-liter engine mated to an electric motor, the Sienna promises EPA-rated fuel economy up to 36 mpg combined. But how does all its changes stack up to another heavy-hitter in the segment, the Honda Odyssey? In the video below, we pitch the two against each other to see which one is the better buy for your family.
Toyota Sienna vs. Honda Odyssey: Performance
Minivans aren’t about out and out speed, naturally. Nevertheless, there are situations in the real world where having enough grunt is useful, like merging onto suburban freeways. Here, the 2021 Toyota Sienna actually gives up a fair amount of power for the sake of efficiency. The old V6 powerplant is gone, replaced by an Atkinson-cycle unit mated to an electric motor. While it does manage economy figures well beyond what the refreshed Honda Odyssey can manage (36 mpg vs 22 mpg), it puts out a combined 245 horsepower. By contrast, the Honda manages 280 horsepower from its 3.5-liter V6. Thanks to a 10-speed automatic transmission to Toyota’s eCVT, the Odyssey also gets up to the occasional sprint with more gusto.
That’s not to say either van is terrible in everyday driving. The 2021 Toyota Sienna aims for “confident” performance on the TNGA-K platform, shared with many of the brand’s newer models. That platform change offers up more body rigidity and updated suspension, which does make the new Sienna feel more solid overall. Toyota says that the change also reduces noise and vibration into the cabin — a plus on long road trips.
Styling and technology
For its part, the 2021 Honda Odyssey takes on more subtle updates to its rival. A revised front fascia, new lights and trim under the rear windows are the extent of Honda’s exterior styling changes. Contrast that to the Sienna, which gets a much more dramatic and aggressive treatment to its predecessor. A more streamlined front end blocks out the standard grille, while the blue Toyota badge emphasizes its hybrid powertrain.
Inside, the 2021 Toyota Sienna gets a more radically restyled interior as well. A new infotainment system dominates the center stack, while an updated instrument cluster gives the driver clearer access to information on the hybrid system’s operation as well as the standard Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features. On the other hand, the Odyssey’s interior remains broadly the same, though it does bring features like pre-collision avoidance, lane keep assist, full-speed dynamic cruise control and all the other safety kit we’ve come to expect. Wireless charging is also available on both models.
Both the 2021 Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey also get more practical technology in the back like a vacuum cleaner, which use to be the Odyssey’s party trick. Now, early versions of the new Sienna like our tester do not have the vacuum feature, but it is coming with later availability, Toyota says.
The 2021 Toyota Sienna does get a noticeable price bump from the previous model. Excluding destination, the new model starts at $34,460 in base LE trim. The mid-range XLE comes in either 7 or 8-passenger configuration from $39,750. Both the LE and XLE 7-passenger trims bring AWD as an option for an additional $2,000. The XSE — which is the sportier model we received from Toyota — carries a $42,000 price tag. All-wheel drive here is only a $760 upgrade, so it’s more cost-effective to get it if you’re looking into that model. Finally, the Limited and Platinum top out the range, packing price tags of $46,700 ($48,500 for AWD) and $49,900 ($50,460 for AWD) respectively.
Since we had the middle-tier XSE, our Sienna did come in substantially less expensive than the 2021 Honda Odyssey Elite. That minivan tops out at $49,335. However, the base LX comes in at $31,790 before destination. Mind you, the Odyssey does only come in front-wheel drive configuration — no AWD version is available. The Odyssey EX comes in at $35,190; the EX-L is $38,460, and the Touring is $42,500 before options.
Take a closer look at both the Sienna and the Odyssey in our longer review video below!