Toyota Sienta Review: Is Smaller Better? (Updated 2019)

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Size Does Matter: For The City-dwelling Sienta, Smaller Is Better


After 3 years on the market, the Toyota Sienta is, unsurprisingly, the latest in line to receive a facelift. The 2nd generation of the Sienta is immediately striking, with its more athletic profile and aggressive styling being inspired by the rugged features of a trekking shoe. For Toyota traditionalists who might be put off by its new appearance, you can set your mind at ease. Though different on the outside, the DNA of the Sienta remains quintessentially Toyota, with its excellent reliability, build quality and practicality. So if you are looking for a compact, city functional MPV from a trusted brand no less, this might just be the thing that you’re looking for. To find out exactly how the latest Toyota Sienta compares to its predecessor, simply read on.

Toyota Sienta Exterior

With the Sienta, Toyota has seemingly continued its trend of spicing up its more conventional designs. In the Sienta’s case, they did it with the trekking shoe inspiration. This is clearly evident from the car’s side profile, where the bonnet is connected to the high roof and rear end of the car via an extremely sloped windshield. Despite the boxy shape typical of MPVs, the Sienta has little flourishes added to inject more fluidity and aesthetic appeal. These include sweeping lines and curves right down the body of the car, as well as black extensions from the bumper that connect all the way to the headlights. 

An iconic profile

Size-wise, the Toyota Sienta is a relatively small MPV. Yet, with a wheelbase of 2750mm, it is small enough for comfortable use in the city and its heavy traffic situations, and at the same time is also big enough to ensure its passengers an adequate degree of comfort. The Sienta retains its front-engined, front-wheel drive layout from its predecessor, allowing it to remain lighter and more fuel efficient. These characteristics will ultimately help its drivers save more when it comes to petrol, especially in an expensive city like Singapore. 

Toyota Sienta Interior

The Sienta’ interior at a glance

While the Sienta is considered a small MPV, that in no way compromises what it provides on the inside. Like all other MPVs, the Sienta is a 7-seater, with 3 rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. There is just about enough space for 7 passengers, with very good headroom and legroom for the first 2 rows of seats. However, due to the smaller size of the Sienta, adults sitting in the third row might find it to be a tad squeezy due to the lesser legroom available towards the back of the car. 

Moving and reconfiguring the seats can be quite a hassle, especially for passengers trying to get in and out of the third row. Thankfully, this is not an issue in the Toyota Sienta. In fact, the middle seats can be folded forward with just one hand, making it extremely easy to get into the back row of seats. Likewise, the back row can be folded flat just as easily to allow for an easy conversion of the Sienta into a minivan – giving it an impressive amount of boot space. Even with all 7 seats occupied, the boot can still hold its own and carry the average family’s grocery needs without running into spatial troubles. Its low boot sill is an added bonus for the extra convenience of loading and unloading, especially when it comes to heavy items.

An impressive amount of boot space

The Sienta’s interior trim and design looks, unsurprisingly, like its fellow Toyota counterparts on the market. The cabin is pleasant to look at and is generally comfortable, with every aspect designed to be ergonomic and minimalistic, yet still very well put together. From the leather-covered gear shift found on the dashboard, to the high instrument cluster that you view over the steering wheel, all of its elements are meticulously designed to make life in the car cleaner and simpler. 

But the Sienta’s party piece has to be the numerous cubby holes and compartments located around the car that allows you to stash all the items you may need, like tissue paper, snacks or toys. The Sienta has 2 separate glove compartments and an extra open shelf located in the dashboard in front of the passenger. That’s not including the door pockets and an extra one beside the passenger’s leg. The only issue is that there is a general lack of soundproofing in the cabin, making engine noise and tyre roar from the outside more intrusive. 

Toyota Sienta Performance

The Toyota Sienta is powered by a 1.5L, 4-cylinder engine that delivers 105bhp at 6000rpm and 140Nm of torque at 4200rpm that can propel it to a top speed of 165km/h. Coupled with Toyota’s CVT transmission that allows for smooth acceleration, the Sienta goes from 0-100km/h in 12.8s. These performance figures are not that impressive, especially because the Sienta is pretty heavy for a small MPV. So while a heavy right foot and aggressive driving can get you those performance figures, it comes at the cost of heavier fuel usage and extra engine noise. 

Similarly, the handling on the Toyota Sienta isn’t fabulous either. This is to be expected, given that it is a tall MPV with a higher centre of gravity. Exuberant driving will only result in a lot of body roll and a less than stellar experience. Furthermore, the suspension is not the best at soaking up bumps, hence the ride quality and comfort isn’t really up to scratch.

The point here is, the Toyota Sienta isn’t really designed to be a performance MPV. Where it truly shines is in the city, where being a small car and fuel efficient is more important.

Being small and compact gives the Toyota Sienta a small turning radius, handy for those tight, slow speed city turns and bends. Furthermore, thanks to the CVT transmission and smaller engine, the Sienta does an extremely respectable 15.8km/L. While acceleration isn’t rapid, it is at least extremely smooth, once again due to the pairing of the 1.5L engine and CVT gearbox. Last but not least, Toyota has equipped the Sienta with disc brakes on all 4 wheels, rather than the usual disc/drum combination on other cars, giving it better braking ability that is much needed for heavy city traffic.Y

Toyota Sienta Safety

The Sienta comes with standard safety features found on all Toyotas, including anti-lock brakes, stability control system and 3 airbags. It is, however, lacking the Toyota Safety Sense system found on newer Toyota models, which does deprive it of a lot of useful safety systems that could be in place. 

Toyota Sienta Features

Toyota Sienta features
Functionality and aesthetics combined

The standard Toyota Sienta comes equipped with basic features, such as a multifunction steering wheel, auto headlights, rear aircon vents, reverse sensors, Toyota Telematics audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and a 12V socket. On the other hand, the Elegance version does provide many more useful features that are convenient to have, the most important being dual electric sliding doors, as compared to the Standard model’s single one. Other additional features include a smart key and keyless entry, a reverse camera and auto climate aircon. The Elegance version also comes with larger 16-inch rims, LED headlights and an onboard navigation system. 


The Toyota Sienta is precisely what it sets out to be: A small, 7-seat MPV with decent passenger space, boot space, and fantastic fuel economy that is perfect for city driving. Most importantly, it is priced at an extremely reasonable $95,988. If you want the Elegance version with all the extra equipment, that will cost approximately $6000 more – an investment that is worth every penny. After all, the new Toyota Sienta pretty much promises low operating costs all around, with its improved fuel efficiency, as well as lower road tax and insurance costs due to its 1.5l engine. So if you’re in it for city functionality and a good bargain, you can be sure that you’ve got it with the Sienta. 


What we like
- The flexible 3rd row seats which can be folded and tucked underneath the 2nd row seats when not in use
- Electronic sliding doors are a big plus!
- Easy entry into the 3rd row seats
- No drive shaft hump which is usually the cause of discomfort for the middle passenger in the second row
What we do not like
- The slightly slower pick up given its 1.5L engine capacity
Editor’s recommendation
Being a compact MPV, the Sienta serves its purpose very well, providing sufficient space to carry 7 passengers. Though the third row may be slightly narrow, it is well compensated with the third row passengers’ ability to align their knees at 90 degrees without feeling overly uncomfortable. As one of the lowest priced 7 seater MPVs, there is really not much to complain about at this price range.






4235mm x 1695mm x 1695mm (L x W x H)






Specifications and Performance




1.5L, 4-cylinder in-line 16 valve



Drive Type

Front-wheel drive





Top Speed




Fuel Consumption


Suspension (Front/Rear)

McPherson Strut/Torsion Beam

Brakes (Front/Rear)

Ventilated Disc/Disc






Toyota Safety Sense





Multifunction Steering Wheel


Smart Key



Keyless Engine Start



Auto Headlights


Reverse Camera






Daytime Running Lights


Rim Size



Dual Power Sliding Doors



Rear Aircon


Auto Climate Aircon



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