I admit it, I’m not a minivan person. Even as all of my friends are driving vans, and upgrading their small SUVs, and telling me how cool they are, I still was perfectly content in my car.
I have zero opposition to vans or those who own them, I just couldn’t imagine myself driving one…or dare I say needing one. When I was presented with the opportunity to test drive the Toyota Sienna, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to know if my long-standing hesitation towards minivans was accurate or unfounded.
The day I picked up the van to test drive, I had a whole day of errands planned with the kids (with some fun-stops in between) so I thought it would be a good way to test out all the features.
The first thing I noticed when I first got in, was the entire front dash of the van was designed to be a cockpit of sorts. Every compartment, and cup holder, and amenity was right where I naturally would have grabbed for these things. No weird contortions trying to get into the center console just to plug in my USB cable.
I also loved the spaciousness of the second and third row. There was A LOT more room than I was anticipating. Each kid had their own seat…and BONUS! They could hardly touch each other.
My favorite features were the automatic sliding doors and the rear gate. Being able to put things into the back of the van with just signaling with my foot made me feel super cool, ha! At the park, I had my hands full as my helpful children ran ahead to the playground without helping to carry the towels and the picnic basket. I just had to wave my foot under the gate and it closed on its own. Magic!
I learned a lot about the Sienna in the days prior and after my day long test drive and there are certainly some valuable features to point out.
The first is the Toyota Sienna has All Wheel Drive (AWD). This is very rare in the minivan market making this feature highly desirable and making the Sienna that much more valuable. In other climates, AWD might not be a game changer, but in our cold and snowy Minnesota winters it is so nice to have the extra peace-of-mind with AWD. We live off of a big steep hill. On icy days during the winter, we have seen innumerable cars and vans unable to make it all the way up! AWD vehicles have had no problem at all. The AWD drive Sienna is a check-plus for me.
Did you know that starting in 2021, all Toyota Siennas are hybrids? The minivan niche has a bit of a reputation for gas guzzlers, so this new hybrid option should definitely pique interest. When I learned that the combined gas mileage of 36 miles per gallon, I was floored. This puts the Sienna in direct competition with sedans and wagons. With gas prices fluctuating all over the place, 36 miles per gallon reflects some true savings. An added bonus of the hybrid Toyota Sienna is how very quiet it runs.
It’s hard to deny that the Toyota Sienna is simply a good looking van. I noticed that the body style was a bit boxier than in models past. This lended itself to looking similar to the Toyota Highlander. I’m sure this was a strategic decision to woo customers like me to give the Sienna a try! In my case, it definitely worked. The Sienna was sleek and chic, I felt really cool driving around.
The front dash touchscreen display was amazing. I loved it! It was big, bright, easy to use and frankly looks really pretty. The feature I absolutely loved the most was the Apple iOS CarPlay feature. Hooking up my music was so simple. This is important as my fam hardly goes anywhere without cranking up the tunes! The Toyota Sienna also features Android Auto for Android users.
Holy buckets, this van has 18 cup holders! That’s incredible. No one should ever go thirsty in this van. And let’s hope there are bathroom stops along the way! In addition to the cup holders, there are 7 USB ports. Enough for everyone to charge almost 2 devices each. This is a perfect feature for road trips.
Throughout my day with the Toyota Sienna, I couldn’t help but think how awesome this car would be to take on longer car rides. The storage! It’s everywhere! There were little compartments in all the doors, elastic netted storage compartments on the side of the captains chairs, center console storage, under the center console storage and more. The rear storage compartment also has several different configurations for storage.
Is there anything better than a sunroof? Who doesn’t need a bit of extra Vitamin D when driving. Sun roofs just provide that cool and breezy factor. This is also a surprisingly hard to find feature in minivans. I was so happy to have the sunroof in the Toyota Sienna open for our entire day driving around town.
It was absolutely not hard to be won over by the Toyota Sienna. The features were amazing, the drive was smooth, quiet, cost-effective, and I felt good about driving a hybrid.
I realized throughout the day, that one of my biggest hesitations about driving a minivan was the size. It seemed like it would be hard to park, reverse, and maneuver. MUCH to my surprise, the Toyota Sienna smashed all of these misconceptions. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to do all of the above and more.
Not only that, but the car itself looked amazing and the amenities inside of the van were pretty impossible to ignore. Another thing that took me completely by surprise: I found myself enjoying driving the Sienna around town.
So by now you can probably guess my final answer: I like it.
I like enough to give the Toyota Sienna some incredibly serious consideration when it comes time for my family to purchase a new vehicle.