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Toyota Sienta 1.5G – The modern compact MPV

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 03 July 2017

Malaysia is a hot market for multi-purpose vehicles (MPV), big or small.

The Toyota Sienta is one of the most modern interpretations of the compact MPV and it currently competes head-on with the Honda BR-V as a 5+2 seater.

The Proton Ertiga is also a strong contender in the (5+2 seater) category with its smaller engine (1.3-litre versus the 1.5-litres of the Toyota and Honda) and RM65,000 sticker.

Having said that, the Toyota Sienta 1.5V attracts a niche group of top dollar customers because of its premium features which include the powered sliding doors and LED daytime running lights.

More importantly is what you can’t see under the stylish bodywork, the active safety system incorporating the vehicle stability and traction control together with the anti-lock braking system.

The Sienta has an easy to use mirror adjustor.

The Sienta has an easy to use mirror adjustor.

Imported from Indonesia, the Sienta is priced from RM99,900 for the top-of-the-line V-spec and from RM92,900 for the entry-level G-spec model.

Externally, the Toyota Sienta is roughly the same size as the Toyota Avanza and they both share the same DVVT-i engine with the Vios.

However, there are so many differences between the two and the Avanza will continue to be sold as an entry-level, tough as rocks, rear-wheel driven, ladder chassis and leaf spring mini MPV.

The Sienta, on the other hand, is more comfortable due to suspended coil-springs and has greater internal space because of its front-wheel drive and monocoque body. This translates to a flat floor for the second row.

Access to the third-row seats is facilitated by a spring-loaded mechanism which slides the second-row seats forward at the tug of a lever.

 Driving impression

It’s a comfortable car for four large-sized adults and it has an overhead air-conditioner blower for the second and third row of seats.

This MPV has a 5 adult + 2 children configuration but even then, I feel the three adults in the second row of seats have to be close friends or family members, otherwise, it can be a little too close for comfort.

Other than that, it is a comfortable vehicle for long drives and urban commutes. The turning circle is specified at 5.3 metres and wasn’t particularly impressive when navigating the narrow food streets of Penang. Surprisingly, the V-Spec has an even bigger turning circle at 5.7 metres.

Reasonable petrol mileage on a trip with five adults.

Reasonable petrol mileage on a trip with five adults.

The fuel economy with five adults was about 12km per litre over the three-day drive that clocked a total of about 900km. This fuel economy was achieved on average between three drivers, none of whom had any inclination to drive economically, nor were they particularly heavy footed.

The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is set to seven shift points and it is best to learn how to use this transmission to enjoy a sporty drive, by shifting to manual for an instant kickdown and taking it from there.

The reverse camera, however, was not so easy to use and it would have been better with a moving grid for reference.

 Interior

The powered sliding doors are a big plus point for the Toyota Sienta. The top-of-the-line V-spec has two powered sliding doors while the entry level model has only one powered sliding door on the left.

The leather wrapped steering wheel has a nice touch of extra padding at the 10 and 2 position.

The leather wrapped steering wheel has a nice touch of extra padding at the 10 and 2 position.

This makes the Toyota Sienta the best model in the context of ease of access and suitable for all in the family – from kids to the elderly who may be in a wheel chair.

Unfortunately, there is only one power outlet in the whole car. Five adults and two children will definitely need power outlets at the second, if not the third row.

Verdict

The Toyota Sienta is the premium model in the mini MPV category. Its powered sliding doors, versatile folding seats and large internal space is appealing.

The second-row seats can be a bit tight for larger-sized adults.

The second-row seats can be a bit tight for larger-sized adults.

While some may feel that the RM99,000 price is a bit steep for the mini MPV class, many others do not think so as there is a six-week waiting period (at time of writing).

Personally, I love the orange paint outside and the brown textile upholstery inside. Because of the tall roof and generous glass area for a mini-MPV, there is a relaxing sense of space. A good car for a town drive or a long-distance jaunt.

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Specifications

Toyota Sienta 1.5G (AT)

Engine

Model – 2NR-FE

Type – 4-cylinder in-line, 16-valve, DOHC with Dual VVT-i

Displacement (cc) – 1,496

Maximum output (EEC NET) – 79kW(107PS)/6,000rpm

Maximum torque (EEC NET) – 140Nm/4,200rpm

Transmission

Type – CVT with 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic

Chassis

Tyres and rims – 185/60R15, alloy

Suspension – (Front) MacPherson strut with stabiliser, (rear) torsion beam with stabiliser

Brakes – (Front) ventilated disc, (rear) solid disc

Dimensions

Length (mm) – 4,235

Width (mm) – 1,695

Height (mm) – 1,695

Kerb weight (kg) – 1,325

Fuel tank capacity (litre) – 42

Minimum turning radius (m) – 5.3

Exterior

Headlamps – Halogen projector with auto on/off and manual leveling

Daytime running lights – With (LED, bumper mounted)

Rear combination lamps – LED

Wipers (Front) – Intermittent and mist

Interior

Seats (2nd row seats) – 50:50 split, one touch tumble

Seats (3rd row seats) 50:50 split, dive-in

Meter combination – Back light

Multi-info display (MID) – Mono MID

Audio system (type) –2-DIN head unit CD player with tuner, MP3, AUX-jack, USB and Bluetooth

Steering wheel (type) – 3-spoke urethane, tilt adjustable

Safety

Active safety – Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA), vehicle stability

Optional

DVD-AVN system with reverse camera – 2-DIN head unit DVD player with 7″ capacitive touch screen, smartphone connectivity, Wi-Fi, internet browser, voice recognition, HDMI, USB, Bluetooth, navigation system and reverse camera

DVD-AVX system with reverse camera –2-DIN head unit DVD player with 6.8″ touch screen, tuner, MP3, voice recognition, AUX-jack, USB and Bluetooth

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The Toyota Sienta is a nominee for Car of the Year 2017, together with the Honda BR-V and the Proton Ertiga in the Compact MPV category.

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