According to Toyota, the eye-catching styling was inspired by the shape of a trekking shoe as the Japanese automaker wanted to get away from making another typically square, box-like minivan.
Even the dashboard has a funky but practical design, with a cupholder located on opposite ends of the dashboard. The Indonesian-built Sienta is aimed at those who want a stylish 7-seater people carrier with lots of conveniences like flexible folding seats, ample luggage room, and a good amount of safety kit.
However, a vehicle with lots of goodies usually has a high price tag. This is why the sub-RM100,000 Sienta has been getting a hot reception in the country since its launch last August.
A major attraction here is the dual powered sliding doors (on the V grade Sienta) which can be operated by switches on driver’s side panel, or even via remote control. A friend remarked, “The powered sliding doors are definitely the sexy factor for me. Like a smaller Toyota Estima.”
The lower-priced G grade Sienta gets a left powered sliding door, and manual right sliding door.
The Sienta comes in two trims; the G grade priced at RM92,900 and better kitted V grade priced at RM99,900. For the RM7,000 price difference, you get a lot of goodies.
These include Toyota Premium security and solar film which has a layer to delay glass breakage, bigger 16-inch rims (G grade has 15-inch rims), acoustic windshield glass, Bi-LED headlamps with auto levelling, powered sliding doors on both sides, smart entry and push-start ignition, automatic air-conditioning, a digital video recorder, 2-DIN head unit DVD player, 6.8-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, audio and multi-information display switches on steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever knob, and a reverse camera.
The Sienta is powered by a new 1.5-litre dual VVT-i engine which is mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) with a 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode. This powertrain is also found in the 2016 improved Toyota Vios.
As such, both cars have a perky, get-up-and-go character which translates to effortless acceleration from standstill.
When driven at 110kph on smooth highways, the tachometer needle on the Sienta hovers at a relatively low 2,000rpm even with a 1,325kg to 1,350kg kerb weight.
Like the 2016 improved Toyota Vios, the Sienta uses an electric power steering which is accurate and responsive, and requires minimum effort to steer. We found more than adequate stopping power with all-round disc brakes.
There is nice standard equipment here, including LED daytime running lights, LED rear lamps, projector headlamps with automatic on/off function, and rear air-conditioning vents for the comfort of rear occupants.
A total of 14 storage compartments in the Sienta are available to put items like water bottles, cups, handphones, magazines and snacks. These include a deep centre glove box and an upper glovebox with a cooling air-vent to help chill drinks.
Our test drive unit was the premium V grade Sienta fitted with Bridgestone Turanza ER33 tyres sized 195/50 R16 that helped to provide smooth, quiet and comfortable motoring.
There are no leather seats here, but we liked the high quality cabin materials, smooth metal surfaces and solid plastics.
We found ample head and leg room for 1.7-metre adults, and sitting in the third row was far from being an unpleasantly cramped experience.
We also liked the front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam with stabilisers set-up on the Sienta, as Toyota engineers did a good job in tuning the suspension to provide a good balance between handling stability and passenger comfort.
The V grade Sienta also gets a digital video recorder which will be useful in accident-related disputes. Standard safety kit here include three airbags, vehicle stability control (VSC) and hill-start assist control (HAC) which earn the Sienta extra points on our scoresheet.
We found a lot to like about the V grade Sienta, including its fresh and hip design, nice level of driving refinement, generous safety and comfort equipment, and gutsy and responsive powertrain.
This is another well-equipped and designed, and value-for-money offering from Toyota in our books.
Toyota Sienta 1.5L
Engine: 1,496cc, 4-cylinder in-line, DOHC, dual VVT-i
Maximum power: 107PS at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 140Nm at 4,200rpm
Transmission: CVT (continuously variable transmission) with 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic
Features: Three airbags, anti-lock brake system, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill-start assist control, ISOFIX points on 2nd row seats, all-round disc brakes, smart entry and push start, Bi-LED projector headlamps with automatic on/off and levelling, fabric seats, acoustic windshield glass, digital video recorder, automatic air-conditioning with rear blower, steering wheel switches, 6 audio speakers, 2-DIN head unit DVD player, 6.8-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, USB and Bluetooth, reverse camera
Price on-the-road: RM99,900 with 5-year warranty, unlimited mileage