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Toyota Sienta Hybrid Singapore Review - 1.5 Elegance Two-Tone (A)

The all new Toyota Sienta Hybrid is a small sized hybrid MPV featuring 3 rows of seats, dual powered sliding doors, wired Apple Carplay and Android Auto through its infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, ECO drive mode, and a 59 kW electric motor paired with a 1.5 litre petrol engine. Made for practicality, the Toyota Sienta Hybrid also comes with numerous safety features, and boasts amazing fuel efficiency.

The third generation Toyota Sienta comes off the back of an extremely successful run of its predecessor. Though the car has always, to some extent, been polarising for consumers, there is no denying that it served many people very well. For those who loved the Sienta - the car was quirky looking, extremely practical, fuel efficient, reliable, and affordable for the amount of people and cargo it could haul despite its small footprint. That recipe seems to have remained largely unchanged, and some of the Sienta's winning traits have even been amplified with the new car - a move that will surely sit very well with Singapore's MPV faithful.

Beauty is subjective, and for that reason, we leave you to decide if the all new Sienta looks good. Whatever your opinion though, it is not hard to see what Toyota were striving for here - a younger, fresher, and more adventurous take on what people might perceive to be car with a bland heritage. If you consider the styling objective, I would say that Toyota have achieved what they set out to achieve. The best part is, the Sienta Hybrid offering from Borneo Motors will be made in Japan - a fact that is sure to restore confidence with many consumers.

The image the car projects is definitely one that is more confident, modern, and relevant. With a healthy dose of body cladding against its body panels, the Sienta feels like a more robust and rugged version of its predecessor, providing consumers the confidence to pack up the family in the car and go places. Overall, I think the Sienta looks endearing above all else - a quality that is underrated at times.

Inside the car, you can tell that a good amount of effort has been placed into the redesign, with the similar objective of making the car feel younger and more relevant - a task which once again Toyota has succeeded in doing. A new digital instrument cluster paired with a pleasantly designed steering wheel help elevate the driver's side of the cabin, making it feel a little bit more driver oriented than its predecessor, while a rather crowded feeling multi-function steering wheel helps make the car feel more hi-tech than it actually is. It's not all for show though, as the Sienta does come with adaptive cruise control together with lane keep assist.

A fully flat 2nd row that extends its floor all the way into the front row where a centre console would normally be - turns out to be a really nifty feature, as a smaller sized front passenger could actually quite easily "walk" through this space into the 2nd row to deal with the little ones quite easily. Double power sliding doors that can be operated from the driver's side round-off the reasons why the Sienta continues to be a very practical and therefore desirable compact MPV for the mass market.

Another key visual upgrade is the shift by wire drive selector which is a major step up from its predecessor, giving the car just enough of a modern touch to see it through this life cycle. Around the rest of the cabin, there are lots of nifty nooks and crannies that one might use for storing an amalgam of objects and day to day items. There are also USB-C charge ports available in both the front and back row for the entire family's device charging needs.

On the road, the Sienta has been equipped with one of Toyota's legendary hybrid drivetrains which we have tested on many an occasion to extremely fuel efficient effect - so we expect the Sienta to be no different in that regard and should perform extremely well for those who prioritise fuel economy in their cars. Despite being a car that seems more interested in its practicality and fuel efficiency exploits, the Sienta Hybrid is surprisingly fleet footed and will traverse start-stop urban driving conditions with little fuss.

At every point in its drive, the hybrid system does a cohesive job at decided when to utilise electric power, and when to bring on engine power. In fact, it juggles this so seamlessly that it is easy not to notice the car switching power sources if you aren't paying full attention to this process. There are some other pretty good hybrid systems out there to consider, like the one found on the KIA Niro Hybrid, but it would seem that Toyota hybrid systems in general, are for now, in a class of their own.

At higher speeds, the car demonstrates an adequate amount of composure, with good levels of expressway comfort. The car keeps pace with regular Singapore traffic without much fuss, and the family friendly steering set up makes it easy for anyone to pilot the vehicle without too much trouble. As an entry level vehicle that is designed for practicality, there are certain compromises when it comes to performance and handling, and there are a few rattles in the cabin when going over harsher surfaces - but the benefits brought about by other well thought out features like the built in window blinds in the second row are what help make the Sienta very good at what it was made to do.

Personally, I like the Sienta Hybrid because it comes as a cross as a singularly focussed product that knows its target audience and what it needs, and has catered to those needs almost faultlessly. Sure, the infotainment unit could be a lot better, and the textured fabrics will see instant abuse in the form of a baby's vomit - but the car works brilliantly for those who want to haul as many people as possible, in as practical and fuel efficient a manner as possible, for a price that is as reasonable as possible. If these are your needs - the Toyota Sienta Hybrid might just be the car for you (and your family).

1 Comment

Nov 05, 2023

How does the Sienta handle a rear facing infant seat in the 2nd row? I am looking to put a front facing child seat behind the driver and rear facing infant seat on the passenger side.


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