I am being compensated as part of the 3 month long #SiennaDiaries series but all opinions are my own and based on our experiences with the Toyota Sienna.
“You’ll never wear those,” my husband challenged me as I plucked a pair of ridiculously high shoes off the display table and handed them to the salesperson while muttering my size. “Oh yes I will,” I retorted back, slipping them on and standing up to get a good look in the mirror. After all, who said we had to trade our individual sense of style in favor of practicality and a life in the suburbs when we became parents?
But as much as I love big cities, I knew I’d settle in the ‘burbs with my husband, a couple kids, home with a yard, and maybe even a picket fence, in a neighborhood with good schools. Idyllic, right? Friends in high school even predicted I’d marry my high school sweetheart and become the ultimate PTA mom as I drove the kids around in our blue station wagon. They got one out of 3 right. Yes, I drive a station wagon but recently I’ve been pondering the minivan that always seemed to be the epitome of giving up the last shred of parental cool.
Last month we bid adieu to our Toyota Sienna after the three month long #SiennaDiaries program and I have to admit there are times I wish I still had it. Going into our time with the Sienna, I honestly wasn’t sure that I could be wooed into liking a minivan but in the end, I admit. A minivan is not the end of cool. Here are eight reasons why.
Individual captain’s chairs provide separate but equal seating for the kids. Finally no fights about who is crossing over the armrest in violation of the other’s space!
More seats for friends and visiting grandparents. Somehow my kids’ friends saw me as the cool mom with the cool car as they climbed in for me to take them to fencing practice. And for once, we didn’t have to drive two cars everywhere when the grandparents were visiting.
Plenty of space for the family dog. Need I say more?
A kickin’ sound system with premium speakers. At least my husband and I seem to have done something right by raising kids who can go from listening to classic rock to the pop band du jour to chanting “hotel, motel, Holiday Inn” in their rendition of Rapper’s Delight. I also love that when kids are watching their favorite movie for the billionth time, I can change the sound balance in the car so they can hear their movie and we can go on listening to the Beastie Boys.
Flexible cargo space for hauling all kinds of gear. From the un-cool Costco run, practical house purge for the purposes of donating items to charity, reclaiming our cool with family ski trips, and even picking up a new full size mattress, the Sienna has flexible cargo space that can accommodate anything. The recessed well in the trunk is also quite helpful in preventing milk-plosions, often caused by the gallon of milk tumbling out of the trunk of the station wagon upon opening the tailgate when arriving home. Oops.
Handles snow with ease. With record snowfall in the DC Area this winter, I was so glad the Sienna I drove had all wheel drive (AWD) because I felt better knowing I wouldn’t slip and slide all over the road. I do wish that snowbrooms with longer handles existed so short me could actually reach the top of the van to brush off all of the snow. If I really owned a minivan, I’d need a stool to stand on in order to brush off the car but being safe, and keeping my family safe, is cool
Remote entry sliding doors. I found the sliding doors that I could open with a tap of the button on the keyfob to be a big timesaver, especially in the mornings as we were getting ready to leave for school. I loved being able to open the doors to the Sienna while locking the house and getting in the car to find that the kids were buckled and ready to go. So incredibly practical!
Great tech features that includes a touch screen entertainment system, multiple USBs for charging devices, a back up camera, wide screen display for showing movies to those riding in the back, and wireless headphones for said movie watching.
My only criticism? Even though I loved many features of the Sienna, I wish it got better gas mileage. We tended to average 19 miles per gallon when driving which doesn’t make it the most fuel efficient car. Toyota has expanded its line of hybrids over the years and I’d love to see a hybrid Sienna as part of their future lineup.
Thanks to my three months with the Sienna, my suburban self would be more open to considering it as a future family vehicle because maybe driving a minivan isn’t a sign of sacrificing cool. Especially if I were driving it in those heels!