Even if it’s not your cup of tea, you can’t deny that the interior design of the new Toyota Sienna is an amazing departure from the minivan norm. It is all the more surprising that it can be found in the Sienna, forever a conservative entry in the most conservative segments. It’s as if Toyota’s designers came across a Previa in the company museum and were inspired. This is one of the main reasons we should be considering this brand new minivan.
The best part about this new design is that it helps you forget you are driving a minivan, a fact that can be a little depressing for those who got into the ultimate segment of family freight forwarders and kick and scream. The high-mounted touchscreen is angled towards the driver. The center console is also tall and comparable in terms of steering wheel to what a car could be, with a traditional gear stick instead of a rotary knob (Chrysler Pacifica) or a strange button arrangement (Honda Odyssey).
Well, this newfound style and design that is reminiscent of cars are all good and good for perception, but what about the functionality? After all, the Sienna is still a minivan and 100% of buyers will get one due to its oversized functionality compared to other types of vehicles. Well the answer is that the new Sienna not only doesn’t betray the ultimate goal of a minivan’s practicality, it actually enhances it. Prepare for a deep dive.
Let’s start with this center console. Traditionally, minivans had an open space between the front footwells with some sort of storage space between the seats. The Kia Sedona was the first minivan to offer a more car or SUV-like center console, but it sacrificed that open space between the drill holes in the process. The Chrysler Pacifica (bottom right) tried to split up the difference with a “floating” center console that has an open area underneath. The Sienna (bottom left) builds on this concept with a much larger and more useful area under the console.
One of the reasons for this open space is the ability to accommodate a wallet (like my mom used to do) love the open footwell in her ’97 Honda CR-V for that very reason), and as you may know, a mom’s wallet can get awfully large. In this case, bigger is definitely better.
The Sienna’s space is indeed large enough to store a wallet, so it can be kept off the floor or off a seat. I didn’t have a wallet on hand, but this Skip Hop Dier interchangeable coupling should make a decent addition.
And since we have this bag on hand, it shows how much space you have in the center console.
Therefore, a smaller wallet fits into it, as does the Yeti bottle shown above.
OK, let’s go up the console and start handling cupholders.
The Sienna has four cup holders in the center console. The two main ones are big enough to hold this Yeti, while the two smaller cup holders, which are covered by a lid, are good for a can or coffee cup. Each of these areas also has a bonus memory.
The container lid leaves a thin rectangular channel open so you can store things like wallets or hand sanitizer or a mask or whatever. I found it pretty handy, especially since these items would normally end up in a cup holder. The one in front is likely to fit a smartphone, but not exclusively, especially considering what’s behind it …
Borrow a page from the last highlanderThe Sienna has a shelf that spans the dashboard from the steering wheel to the passenger door. This is where the available wireless charger is located with small bumpers on each side. Unfortunately, the USB / media port is also up there. When you connect your phone with a cable (required for Ple CarPlay and Android Auto), this cable either winds around the shelf or dangles in the footwell area. I would prefer one of the charge-only ports in the center console compartment to be the media connection – especially since there are both USB-C and USB-A ports there.
There is another small tray on the left side of the steering wheel, similar to what is inside the Toyota RAV4.
Here is the front door. There’s a small container halfway up for whatever (more hand sanitizer?) And two bottle holders. It was a bit tight for the Yeti, but it’s also quite big and wide. Two could still fit in each door, which means you could have six of these suction cups in the front seating area alone. And two cups of coffee. Hope route has bathrooms on the way.
Let’s go to the second row.
On the back of the center console is this plastic unit on the floor that can hold two more Yetis. There’s also a small tray in front of the two cup holders, as well as one of the Sienna’s two house-like sockets (the other is in the cargo space) and an HDMI port. There are two USB ports on top.
Each sliding door has a different Yeti holder and this phone-sized container.
Each chair then has this net cup / bottle holder. They may seem a bit nervous at first, but once you use them and realize how much they can expand to accommodate a variety of bottle sizes (bring that Nalgene bottle, Mr. Snyder!), They can be used as a refreshingly simple and effective solution. They don’t take up much space and are not fold-down plastic pieces that will inevitably break. I suppose the elastic could wear out after a while, so there is this potential downside.
The Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica have multiple pockets on the back of the front seats for various items, including entertainment system headphones and remote controls. The Sienna just has a simple single M-pocket design. A rare missed opportunity here in Sienna. Oh, and by the way, the Sienna has a one-screen entertainment system. The Pacifica continues to rule with its dual screens.
Let’s go to the galley.
The third row is a no-yeti zone. Although there are four cup holders, none are large enough to hold that water-storing artillery grenade. Oddly enough, the cup holder size actually differs on each side.
The ones on the right have one that is the size of a standard soda can (top left), but the other is more Red Bull-sized.
On the left, both cup holders are the same size and have the same cable for a normal beverage can. By the way, Canada Dry Bold is delicious.
Fans, if you score at home, the Toyota Sienna 2021 has 18 cup holders. Twelve of them are big enough for a large water bottle, five are the size of a can and one is for the low-caffeine kid in row 3.
And finally in the hold …
There are hooks for shopping bags in the backrests of the third row as well as this large open area. Here the vacuum in the delivery van is to be put down, but this has been delayed due to pandemic-related supply bottlenecks. Even though it’s a loaded Sienna Platinum worth 53,000 US dollars (!), The vacuum is missing. That sucks. Or literally not.
Here you go. If that doesn’t satisfy your insatiable trifle for Toyota Sienna cup holders and container contents, I’m afraid it won’t work.