2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Review : Family Jelly Beanie

By Clifford Chow, 22 December 2022

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Review : Family Jelly Beanie

Singapore - Toyota’s small hybrid MPV is back. The Japanese are simply masters at optimising space, and you bet that they know a thing or two about squeezing cubic centimetres out of a small car interior. 

Toyota’s smallest MPV sits on their TNGA-B (B Segment) underpinnings, which it shares with the Yaris Cross and also the GR Yaris. As with the previous gen car, the present-day Sienta presents itself as small, cheerful and attractive-yet quirky family transport.

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance - Inside

Interior quality has improved by leaps and bounds, and it feels like Toyota has had their ears on the ground when developing the small MPV. There is no escaping the part where the Sienta is designed as an entry people mover. But clever use of fabric upholstery (which Toyota says is stain and odour resistant) around the interior, and overall improvements in material textures, means that the mini MPV does not feel cheap.

The 9-inch infotainment system, smack in the middle of the dash, is also an improvement over the one it replaces. It wirelessly supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but more importantly it is now easier to read during the day. For the driver, there is a 7-inch digital instrument panel, which is clear and easy to read. The dashboard feels durable and in a sense, kid-resistant - and speaking of kids, there are many cubby holes for you to store bottles, and other essential bits and bobs. There is even a hook on the front passenger side for handbags, and another on the driver’s armrest, the latter which is ideal for that breakfast takeout you’re bringing home. 

But there is one simple feature here, which truly blew me away. Toyota designers even moulded wire organisers into the passenger side of the dashboard, just so that you need not worry about a mess while you charge your phone.

B-Segment what?

Toyota’s smallest people carrier might be around the size of a B Class or a 2 Series Active Tourer, but it is designed to be a proper people mover. The power sliding doors slide open to reveal a 1.3-metre entryway, meaning that your older folk would struggle little to enter the cabin. The thought put into developing the car, can be seen in the little things… even a grab handle which is moulded into the B pillar. 

For middle row passengers, they also benefit from retractable sunshades, and two Type-C USB charging ports. Head and leg space for two adults, though adding a third passenger would be a squeeze.

In 5-seater mode, you get more than 400 litres of boot space, and a load depth of 990mm. With the rear seat bases folded forward, the MPV is able to swallow items of up to 1525mm in-length. 

Like in the previous car, the last row of seats are tucked under the middle row. You might find that they are fiddly initially, but they are in reality quite easy to deploy, once the middle seats are out of the way. 

Considering that Sienta is in a sense, not a true 7, but more of a 5+2 seater, it still has the advantage of a tall roof and also space to tuck your feet, if you happen to be the one seated at the rear.

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance - Driven

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Right side
2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Right side

The 1.5 litre Dynamic Force 3-cylinder engine is the only power option available, and it gets an additional boost from a hybrid system. This is the same powertrain which is found in the Yaris Cross. The engine puts out 91hp and 120Nm, while the electric motor does 79hp and 141Nm. Combined, the Sienta has a system power of 114hp, which comfortably qualifies it as a Category A COE car.

Interestingly, Toyota equipped the Sienta with a shift-by-wire system, which we’d usually find in more expensive vehicles. The pod where the gearshift lever lives, also houses drive mode selection buttons. Perhaps a small oversight, the edges of the button housings unfortunately poke into your leg, while driving.

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Engine
2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Engine

The electric bit of the drivetrain gives the Sienta its inherent creamy-smooth take-offs. It also is central to the ease of driving in town traffic. When and where the engine decides to do its work, it feeds its drive smoothly.

At the other end of the start-stop game, while approaching the lights, there are no “stepped” downshifts from the e-CVT. This is great, especially if you’d not want to wake a sleeping baby.

With its hybrid drivetrain, you can pilot the small MPV in full EV mode for short distances; great if your offspring plans on sneaking out of the estate for a night out with friends. There are also the standard Eco, Normal and Power modes which you would hardly be using after the first few weeks with the car.

While all may be good, the small engine does have some limitations on its smoothness. Once you work the accelerator, the 3-cyl groans unwillingly, almost to say “could we just not go there?”. There is also some highway road and wind noise to contend with; but for the most part, this would probably not be a deal breaker.

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Fuel economy
2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Singapore - Fuel economy

Where it truly wins, is in its fuel efficiency. My city fuel economy came up to anything above 20km/l, while I managed 28km/l on the highway. Combined, my consumption was spot-on 25km/l, which is what the manufacturer claimed.

In the current COE climate, the Sienta has plenty going for it. But most of all, it brings together the appeal of a Category A COE and practical family space, without compromise on build quality. We also know that a more affordable version of the Sienta will be made available by 2023, and buyers will be glad to know that Toyota will not be skimping on their ‘Toyota Safety Sense (TSS)’ suite of safety stuff.

PHOTOS Clifford Chow

2022 Toyota Sienta 1.5 Elegance Review

Engine 1490, 3cyl 
Power/rpm 91hp/5500rpm
Torque/rpm 120Nm/4800rpm
Electric Motor 79hp/141Nm
Battery NiMh, 6.6kWh
System Power 114hp
Transmission CVT
0-100km/h 12.5secs
Top Speed 160km/h
Fuel Consumption 4L/100km (Combined)

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