Toyota Sienta Debuts in Japan as a Seven-Seater Compact Hybrid

The Japanese auto market is like no other in a world dominated by small cars that fit the country’s narrow roads. Joining the somewhat colorful local car scene is a new generation of seven-seater model from Toyota, which has been on sale since September 2003. The Sienta is a cute-looking mix of minivan, light commercial vehicle, and crossover and it has just entered production in Japan.

The team that worked on developing the vehicle took customer feedback into account when making decisions about the overall concept of the new Sienta and finally reached the conclusion of maintaining a high roof length and keeping the price of the model affordable. This recipe is equipped with new safety features and improved fuel economy, as well as a more refined interior with new convenient features.

As a result, the length and width of the vehicle remain unchanged, but the cabin height has been increased and Toyota says there is now enough room in the cabin for seven adults to sit comfortably. This may be a little too optimistic given the dimensions of the Sienta, although the company also says the legroom and headroom in the second row seats have been increased thanks to the new seat design.

If you take the driver’s position, you will be treated to a modern dashboard with a digital instrument cluster and a new infotainment system with a display on the center console. There are physical buttons for the climate system and a number of cupholders and sockets for small items. Rear passengers can enjoy a newly designed air circulation system with integrated air vents into the ceiling. The blinds on the rear sliding doors make sleeping during travel much more comfortable.

Power comes from a 1.5-liter hybrid engine mated to a CVT with simulated gears for “pleasant shift changes with a manual feel.” Toyota promises the electric powertrain delivers an impressive fuel economy of around 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers (43 miles per gallon) measured by the WLTP cycle. There is also a basic 1.5-liter petrol engine, as well as an all-wheel drive hybrid variant.

The automaker expects to have the new Sienta in dealerships in Japan early next month and expects to sell around 8,300 units a month. Prices start at $14,190 for the base FWD model and can go up to $22,615 for the highest-range AWD hybrid model.

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