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2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD vs 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid AWD

Which of this pair of all-wheel-drive minivans is the one to buy?

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2021 Chrysler Pacifica Touring AWD 

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $49,265 CAD

Pros

  • Flexible seating options
  • Outstanding passenger room
  • Excellent towing capacity

Cons

  • AWD only available on Touring trim
  • No plug-in electric
  • Comparatively poor fuel economy

 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Highlights

The minivan pond isn’t so large these days, but the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica remains a big fish. Like the Kia Carnival, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna Hybrid, the Pacifica is an excellent choice for sensible buyers seeking greater space and easier access than that of a mid-size 3-row SUV.

Of more interest to Canadian buyers, the Chrysler and the Toyota are the only minivans on the market with all-wheel-drive (AWD) as an option. While Chrysler is offering the Pacifica-based 2021 Grand Caravan minivan starting at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $,37,586 (all prices in Canadian dollars), it's only available with front-wheel-drive (FWD). To get traction at all four wheels, you need to opt for the FWD $44,795 Pacifica Touring, then add AWD for a total of $49,265.

Inside, the 2021 Pacifica offers more passenger room in all three rows than the Sienna Hybrid. You can’t remove the 2nd-row seating in the Toyota, where the Chrysler seats fold right into the floor. The 3rd-row does the same thing. Plus, the Pacifica offers 2,478 litres of cargo space when both the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats are folded, 349 more than the Sienna Hybrid.

The Pacifica delivers a pleasant and generally tranquil driving experience. The standard 287-horsepower V6 offers 53 more horsepower than Toyota’s gas-electric hybrid setup. The Pacifica’s 9-speed automatic transmission complements the engine perfectly, propelling the minivan up to freeway speeds with little effort and is even rated to tow up to 3,600 pounds (1,633 kilograms)—slightly more than the Toyota’s 3,494 pounds (1,585 kilograms) rating.

The Pacifica's AWD system (the first available in a Chrysler minivan since 2004) delivers enhanced traction in a wide range of driving and road conditions, from dry pavement to snow-covered roads to non-paved surfaces.

 

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid LE AWD

Starting Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $41,990 CAD

Pros

  • Outstanding fuel economy
  • AWD available on lower-priced trims
  • Generous 2nd- and 3rd-row legroom

Cons

  • No plug-in electric hybrid option
  • 2nd-row seats not removable
  • SUV-like styling may not be to everyone's taste

 

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid AWD Highlights

Last overhauled in 2010, the 2021 Toyota minivan sports an all-new exterior design that's a departure from the traditional boxy minivan look and closer to its Highlander 3-row mid-size SUV sibling. As its new name implies, the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid has only one powertrain: a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder gasoline-powered engine mated to front- or front-and-rear-mounted electric motors (whether it's equipped with FWD or AWD), starting at $39,990 in FWD LE trim or with AWD starting at $41,990.

Looking to break out of the minivan mould, the 2021 Sienna Hybrid’s front passenger area is more like the Highlander SUV with a tall center console with storage beneath and a large storage bin. The revamped interior includes a standard 7-passenger layout with 3-across seating in the 3rd-row and an 8-passenger version with a removable seat that fits between the standard 2nd-row captain’s chairs that slide fore and aft up to 63.5 centimetres. Passengers in both the 2nd- and 3rd-rows will enjoy more legroom over the Pacifica. With the 3rd-row folded, there’s a generous 949 litres of cargo space, 34 more than found in the Chrysler.

The Sienna Hybrid’s combination of a 2.5-litre gas engine and 2 electric motors delivers 234 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque via a continuously variable automatic transmission. The combination provides an impressive 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres city and highway combined fuel economy estimate—almost twice as frugal as Chrysler’s 12.0 estimate.

While minivans aren’t what you’d call fun to drive, the all-new Toyota Sienna Hybrid’s 2,150-kilogram curb weight is 65 kilograms lighter than the Pacifica. The result? The Toyota feels pretty light on its feet thanks to its hybrid powertrain and AWD capability.

 

Final Recommendation

While buyers continue to flock to SUVs, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica and 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid are real-world alternatives. Both offer the extra convenience of sliding side doors, more passenger and cargo room, better fuel economy and traction at all four wheels.

Between this pair of AWD minivans, the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica Touring AWD delivers more flexible seating options and superior passenger room. The Chrysler’s powerful V6 also means you can tow more than with the Toyota.

However, the 2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid in LE AWD trim costs considerably less to buy and run than the Chrysler. While its all-new exterior styling and interior accommodations offer more passenger and cargo space than a comparable SUV. It's the AWD minivan we'd recommend.

 

Specs

2021 Chrysler Pacifica AWD

2021 Toyota Sienna Hybrid AWD

Engine

3.6-litre V6

2.5-litre I4 + 2 electric motors

Horsepower

287 hp @ 6,400 rpm

245 hp

Torque

262 hp @ 4,000 rpm

288 lb-ft

Transmission

9-speed automatic

Continuously Variable

Automatic

Fuel Economy

12.0 L/100 km (14.1 city,9.4 hwy)

6.7 L/100 km (6.8 city, 6.6 hwy)

Warranty

3 years/60,000 km

3 years/60,000 km

Max Seating Capacity

7-8

7-8

Curb Weight

2,050 kg

2,150 kg

Wheelbase

3,089 mm

3,060 mm

Overall Length

5,207 mm

5,175 mm

Width

2,022 mm

1,995 mm

Height

1,777 mm

1,775 mm

Headroom, Front

1,020 mm

1,018 mm

Headroom, 2nd-row

1,006 mm

998 mm

Headroom, 3rd-row

984 mm

949 mm

Legroom, Front

1.045 mm

1,024 mm

Legroom, 2nd-row

992 mm

1,015 mm

Legroom, 3rd-row

929 mm

982 mm

Shoulder Room, Front

1,622 mm

1,585 mm

Shoulder Room, 2nd-row

1,602 mm

1,592 mm

Shoulder Room, 3rd-row

1,555 mm

1,485 mm

Cargo Volume Behind 2nd-row Seats

2,478 L

2,129 L

 

Cargo Volume Behind 3rd-row Seats

915 L

949 L

 

Max. Towing Capacity

3,600 lbs (1,633 kgs)

3,494 lbs (1,585 kgs)

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