Toyota USA has revealed the perfect car-based replacement for the now-defunct Tarago – but for now we can file it under “forbidden fruit” given Australia’s general indifference to people movers.
That said, a Toyota Australia spokesperson told CarExpert: “We’re always studying vehicles from our global line-up and their potential introduction to Australia.
“We are currently happy with the role that Granvia plays in the premium people mover segment and at this stage have no plans to introduce the Sienna to the Australian market.”
While the new Sienna is still unapologetically a people mover, Toyota’s American design studios have dressed up the two-box rectangular form with some details to make it look a little sleeker.
This includes a front end supposedly inspired by Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains. There are also bulges over the rear wheel arches much like those on the upcoming Kluger.
At the rear there’s a heavily stylised strip of LED tail-lights matched with fake vents, similar to those on the Camry.
While the three previous Sienna generations have all been powered by a V6 petrol engine, the new Sienna will be exclusively available with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid.
Rated at 181kW, the new drivetrain has 40kW less than the previous model’s 3.5-litre V6, but fuel economy has gone from 11.2L/100km to 7.1L/100km.
Front-wheel drive is standard throughout the range. All-wheel drive is available on all models, and features a separate electric motor for the rear axle. No word, yet, on whether all-wheel drive variants have more power.
Features available in the new Sienna include a vacuum, fridge, digital rear view mirror, 10.0-inch head-up display, 20-inch alloy wheels, driver-operated PA system, and a 11.6-inch 1080p rearseat entertainment system.
Seven-seat versions can be fitted with second row captain’s chairs which can slide backwards and forwards by 635mm. They can also be kitted out with built-in ottomans.
Lower-spec models can fit up to eight people across three rows.
Being a family hauler, there are up to 18 cup holders and seven USB ports scattered throughout the cabin.
The new Sienna is 5173mm long, 1993mm wide, 1739mm tall, and rides a 3060mm wheelbase, making it a bit longer and wider than the outgoing model, but also a smidge lower.
It shares its TNGA-K architecture with the Camry and upcoming Kluger, as well as a new North American-market crossover that dusts off the Venza nameplate.
Revealed simultaneously with the new Sienna, the Venza is another name for the new Harrier, although it’ll be exported from Japan only as a hybrid with all-wheel drive.
With the demise of the long-lived Tarago in 2019 and its replacement by the HiAce-based Granvia, Toyota no longer sells a car-based people mover in Australia even though there are at least two “full-size” options available overseas: the North American Sienna and the Asia-focussed Alphard/Vellfire.
If Toyota Australia jumped back into the car-based people mover game, would you prefer the Sienna or Alphard/Vellfire?