Toyota Sienta review – The versatile family hauler

The all new Toyota Sienta was released on October 2016 for the Taiwanese car market as a replacement for the vulnerable Toyota Wish. After years of study by the local Toyota distributor, they finally decided to locally assemble and introduce the JDM sized Sienta. The first generation RHD JDM Sienta was shown at the 2014 Taipei Auto Show. The is the second generation was introduced in Japan as a 2016 model, so that made the 2016 model year the last for the Wish. You can read my Toyota Wish review HERE.

The Sienta is based on a stretched Vitz/Yaris platform. The appearance is that it is noticeably shorter and narrower than the Wish. The wheelbase of the Sienta is the same as the Wish at 2,750 mm (108.3 in), but the length and width is more compact. Lengthwise the Sienta is 4,235 mm (166.7 in) and width is 1,695 mm (66.7 in). The Wish’s length and width are 4,635 mm (182.4 in) and 1,720 mm (67.7 in), respectively.

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The all new Sienta has lots of configurable options such as engines and seating arrangements. The Sienta offers two choices of engines, a 1.5L (2NR-FE) and 1.8L (2ZR-FAE), both engines are imported from Japan while the Sienta is locally assembled in Taiwan. Seating can be had in either a 5 seater or 7 seater. There is a choice between 15 and 16 inch alloy rims. Also, with higher trim levels you’ll get more features such as GPS, HUD (heads up display – 7 passenger models) and 6 airbags. Pricing starts at $22,800 USD (NT$696,00) for the basic 5 passenger 1.5L equipped model, move up to the 5 passenger 1.8L then prices become $24,500 USD (NT$783,000), or get the range topping 6 airbag 7 passenger 1.8L, then the prices tops out at $34,725USD (NT$1,059,000).IMG_6480

The test vehicle used in this review uses a 1.8L and has the 6 airbags and third row seating, but no HUD display.

On the inside:

The interior of the Sienta is very roomy despite its compact size. There is ample head room and legroom for all passengers in first two rows, however, the third row as with many third row equipped vehicles, those seats are best suited for children or left folded into the floor. There are lots of storage bins and cup holders to hide and stow anything you want to leave in the car. The dashboard has two hooks on the passenger side that can be flipped out or hidden if you don’t have a bag or something to hook there. The dashboard ergonomics puts everything within reach of the driver with HVAC knobs and buttons being visible, while the infotainment and radio is laid out on the easy to use touchscreen panel. For those like taking their tech along, the Sienta has USB and 110V ports under center console.

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Storage room abounds

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Cargo room and legroom is plentiful

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The Sienta has sliding rear doors. The low 330mm (13 in) step height makes entering and exiting the vehicle a breeze. Once seated the driver and front passengers have a more elevated seating position, which gives a more commanding view of the road ahead. This design is to get people who would otherwise bought a crossover or SUV to give an MPV like the Sienta a chance or consideration.

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On the Road:

NVH has been greatly improved when compared to the Toyota Wish. The ride is smooth, road and tire noise kept to a minimum. One of the complaints about the Wish was that it was noisy and slow, but Toyota went for refinement when redesigning the Sienta and it shows. Sienta’s acceleration is brisk and the 1.8L shows its peppy nature when hitting the gas hard. The Sienta has no problem keeping up with traffic even with the A/C cranked up to the max. At highway speeds its feels sturdy, however as semis pass by it tends to cause a wobble.  Handling-wise, the Sienta hands very well. Maneuvering around tight turns is a breeze and the turning radius is excellent. Stability bars in both the front and rear minimize the body roll. Even with its compact dimensions, the visibility is very good.

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4 out of 5

The replacement for Toyota Wish is finally here. The Sienta is refined and maybe a better fit for families who want a smaller vehicle that is fuel efficient and cheap to maintain than a larger crossover or minivan. The Sienta has plenty of room for passengers and their cargo. Its style makes it standout on the roads, but I think eventually, they will become an all too common site on roads in Taipei.

One concern which lowered my score was that a person would have to pay upwards of $5,000 USD just to have the added safety of 6 airbags. In my opinion, this feature should be standard on all Sienta models, including the basic 1.5L.

You can read my Toyota Wish HERE.

Toyota Wish review – Aspiring to be the perfect practical family vehicle

2 thoughts on “Toyota Sienta review – The versatile family hauler

  1. How does the third row compare to the Wish or Mazda 5? It looks quite small, even for children.
    I’m considering the Sienta, or a used Mazda 5 or Wish, and the Sienta looks much smaller from the outside.

  2. The 3rd row on the Sienta is quite cramped. The legroom/space slightly smaller than the Mazda5 and seems more intended for kids than adults. The Wish has more space for 3rd row passengers than both the Mazda5 and Sienta, but that vehicle is larger length and width-wise.

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