I get why people make fun of minivans. I used to goof on them, too. They’re an easy target. They’re the sweatpants of the car world. People say you’ve given up on your individuality and next you’ll be wearing a white belt and pulling your pants up to your nipples, old man. But that’s all crap, because as soon as you have kids, the versatility of a Toyota Sienna is awesome.
Let me start with a disclaimer. Toyota invited us to a trip to Las Vegas for a pretty cool adVANture so we could see, touch, and
rag on, oops, drive the new Sienna ourselves. We weren’t asked to write a post, and we’re no company shills, so what we write is our own opinion. We’re probably not going to convince you to buy a Toyota Sienna with this post, but that’s ok. We just want to show you a little bit about why WE like them. You already have your own opinion, however wrong it is.
The Toyota Sienna comes in five flavors: L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited. All-wheel-drive is available on LE, XLE and Limited models. The L model has the basics of what you need all the way up to the Limited, with options like voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, panoramic rear camera with integrated back-up guides, and dual-view entertainment center (that’s 2 video screens in the back so your kids can watch 2 different things, if you’re into that) just to name a few.
We figure the only way to describe why we love the Toyota Sienna is to break down by stuff we care about, in no particular order.
Check this out. What we love about minivans in general is the room they provide. They’re like having a little tiny apartment that you can drive around. There are tons of storage bins, cup holders, and cargo spaces. With the third-row seat stowed and the second-row seat removed, the cargo area is approximately 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. You know what else is that big? A sheet of plywood, or drywall, or a wood chipper. That means your Sienna does double duty, family car during the day and workhorse when needed. Sweet.
2. Gadgets, buttons, and technology
One of our favorite things about the Toyota Sienna was the amount of power it provides. We don’t mean the 266HP V6 engine, we mean three 12V outlets, those are plugs, people. Plugs to plug in your phone charger, or DVD player, or the portable air pump you carry around to help other people who may be in need because they have a flat tire (we hope we’re not the only people who do that). There are also Auxiliary input jacks, USB jacks, all kinds of jacks, jack. There are plenty of buttons to push, but you kind of don’t really need to because some models have voice activated controls used for anything from playing music on your bluetooth-paired smartphone to activating the GPS.
We wouldn’t call ourselves superficial, but for some things you have to go by the looks before anything else, and that’s true when it comes to minivans. The Sienna SE immediately grabbed our attention. Oh, sport mesh front grille with smoked-chrome surround, you get us every time, especially when grill is spelled with an “e”. Integrated wide angle front fog lamps, drool. Oh and the slick LCD sport meter dashboard cluster.
Safety is always a weird thing to describe, because it’s not like there are companies out there making minivans that AREN’T safe. Like, “Screw ’em, Bob, only put in lap belts, we can save on airbags and shoulder restraints”. Minivans are damn safe, there, that was boring.
What’s NOT boring are TLAs (two- or three-letter acronyms) and car terminology so we’ll describe the braking using them: Four-wheel ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) with BA (Brake Assist) and EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution). Not sure what EBD is or why you care? EBD applies more or less braking pressure to each wheel in order to maximize stopping power and allowing you to maintain control. Stopping short might become a thing of the past, you’re welcome, Mr. Costanza.
Airbags, there are airbags all over the place. Everyone in the vehicle is protected with airbags, even the driver’s KNEES are protected with airbags. Feel free to drive like a maniac.
Lastly, let’s discuss run-flat tires. Run-flat tires are tires that do don’t just go flat. If you get a puncture they are designed to allow you to keep going (we recommend at a reduced speed, like 55 intead of 70) for a limited distance so you don’t just get stranded out on your adVANture having to change a tire.
So what would we choose if we could combine Siennas?
We’d definitely go XLE and all it’s trimmings like the second-row lounge seating (yeah, lounge seating as in recliner-style foot rests), all-wheel drive with run-flat tires, JBL® 6-CD changer with SiriusXM and the ten speaker and subwoofer package (sometimes we’ve gotta jam). Oh, we’d want to add the sport mesh grille and the graphics package pictured below.
So that’s that. The Toyota Sienna is officially Dadand approved. And how could it not be when they put together little promo videos like the Swagger Wagon Video from a couple years ago.