Published on September 28th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez2
Toyota Sienta 1.5L test drive review
Please note that this is not European compact 7-seater MPV. This is compact 7-seater MPV from Toyota. Surprised? Yes, Toyota has hit the right note with the design and overall presentation of their latest compact MPV, the Sienta. This 7-seater arrives at a time when many Malaysians are looking to trade up from the sedan or hatchback to a compact MPV and with no sight of a competing vehicle from Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Suzuki, this Toyota Sienta is set for impressive sales. Why? Let us explain.
We loved the design and detailing on the exterior of the Sienta. It has an overall height of 4,235mm and an overall width of 1,695mm. It uses an extended platform of the Toyota Prius C hybrid car which is no longer on sale here. The matt black ‘smiley’ face on the nose is very European in its styling and this feature is also carried in the rear. The side profile carries a typical MPV silhouette with rear powered sliding doors which gives easy access in tight parking spaces.
But how does it all come together? Well the inside finishes and trim is first rate. Soft touch materials along with splashes of contrasting materials and colours shows for a rather premium look and feel. The large information screen in the center of the dash is one of the best to date and is very easy to use. The driver gets a meter cluster with plenty of information. The 2-DIN 6.8-inch screen entertainment unit has a DVD player and it supports MP3, USB, Bluetooth devices.
The best way to describe the Sienta would be as a very functionality and capable 5-seater vehicle with two extra compact seats for those times when the in-laws come visiting or when you want to bring along some friends.
There is also rear air conditioning with vents on the ceiling pushing cool air right to the rear. It has it own controls and large vents. This is great feature for ASEAN humidity.
The stance of the Sienta is like a large hatchback, low and wide where many people curbside would not know there are three rows of seats inside.
The two seats in the third-row are somewhat tight but for occasional people moving they are fine and access is very good with the center row easily folding forward. There is nothing about its space or the comfort and adjustability of the front seats to raise an eye-brow and with all seats in use there is space for duffel bags in the boot.
Under the bonnet
The Sienta arrives with a tried and tested 1.5L VVT-I engine that will see years of good service and little fuel usage. Its 1496cc might sound small to you when considering it will need to move with 7 passengers on board but with the CVT gearbox working at the right ratios there should and will be no issues.
Nothing lacking for this segment as there are 3–airbags and the usual drive safety systems like VSC, TRC, HAC ABS with BA and EBD. There are ISOFIX points in the 2nd row seats and seatbelts for all 7 passengers.
The Sienta’s 1.5-litre engine is healthy for its size. The result of this is generally decent performance. While the Sienta’s less than boisterous low-rev reserves and the CVT auto’s enthusiasm for upshifting as soon as possible means any call for serious response is accompanied by downshifts and a bit of noise, it gets up and goes with respectable vigour.
It is generally quite relaxed and unobtrusive on the highway and open road, at least until you need to overtake and find the noise remains but the pulling power is reduced a little.
On the open highway the cabin is very quiet and relaxed. The dampening and road feel is a good combination of compliance, insulation and road feel. Not the first vehicle of choice for an early Sunday morning fast Bukit Tinggi run but for the average Malaysian family it will feel refined, settled and ready for a easy drive up Bukit Tinggi as well as Genting Highlands which seems to be the benchmark question when a 1.5L engine is mentioned.
After spending three days driving around Klang Valley we came away with even more admiration for the Toyota brand as this Sienta shows what Toyota has been missing in recent years, avant-garde style in a well packaged stylish interior.
This Sienta will be a hit with young families who need a functional set of wheels to move their kids around without breaking the bank, plus they get to do it in seamless style.
What this Toyota MPV delivers is excellence and consistency, whether you are talking about its solid value, enticing ownership pitch, the cabin’s versatility or the stylish presentation. For a lot of family vehicle buyers this package could be the most sensible solution to their family transportation needs, even if they might not want to admit it.
Engine: Inline 4, 16-valve DOHC Dual VVT-1
Power : 107bhp @ 57500rpm
Torque: 140Nm @ 4200rpm
Transmission: CVT 7-speed sport sequential shiftmatic
Top Speed: NA
0-100km/h: 170km/h as tested
Price: From RM92,900-RM99,900.