This post is part of a 3 month long series in partnership with Toyota for the compensated #SiennaDiaries program but all opinions are my own.
Three years ago we adopted our Yellow Labrador, Oliver, from a local rescue organization and I never imagined that this goofy 85 pound animal would truly become the fifth member of our family and we’d factor in dog friendliness for future car purchases. But we do. Just as we evaluate a car for family friendly features that fit our lifestyle, we also note whether the vehicle is a good fit for Oliver and the Toyota Sienna is probably the most dog-friendly car I’ve driven so far.
Sadly our experience with the Toyota Sienna will end this week and while everyone has enjoyed riding in the car, I’ve certainly enjoyed many of the features that make it family and dog friendly. Here are seven notable features of the Toyota Sienna that makes it a great vehicle for dogs. I think Oliver would agree if there was a bark to text app that would help him share his thoughts!
Remote keyless entry for power sliding doors
Oliver is all about immediate gratification. The instant he hears me open the closet door for my car keys, he’s at the back door in the ready-to-ride position. I love being able to press the button on the key fob to open one of the sliding doors from our back door so he can hop right in. Now if only I could get him to sit down when he gets in so he doesn’t stumble when I back out of our driveway!
Door height is perfect for jumping into the car
Oliver is six years old and hardly an old dog but even though he has plenty of energy and loves to jump, I’ve reviewed some cars that he’s been hesitant about jumping into because of the height of the cargo area. The floorboards of the Toyota Sienna are the perfect height for young kids to climb into and also for dogs to jump into independently.
Ample of room for pacing and being in the middle of the action
Oliver is a dog who likes to be where his people are and that means standing either at the kids’ feet in front of the middle row of captain’s chairs or right between them for prime petting possibilities. Wherever he is in the back of the Sienna, there’s plenty of room for him to pace and turn around so he doesn’t miss anything or pass up a chance for love from his kiddos.
Large windows that roll down for sniffing the air
What dog doesn’t love riding with their head out the window, snout sniffing the air? Oliver never gets to when riding in the back of our station wagon so the ability to stick his snout out in the sun was a special treat. He especially loves riding in the car without the kids and sitting in their seats for a better view out the window. Luckily he didn’t jump out to chase a squirrel but I bet if we had the Sienna for any longer, he might have!
360 degree view for squirrel monitoring and dog spotting
Oliver does his best to always protect us from squirrels whether they’re attacking our yard or coming at us during a drive so having the ability to monitor both sides of the street while looking out the front window helps to prevent sneak attacks.
Sitting in the third row
The floor works perfectly well for taking a nap, as he waits for me to run errands and the captain’s chairs make for perfect lookout spots, but the third row is even better for maintaining his status as a dignified dog who can ride in the car like a human.
Ability to pet your dog while driving
Oliver is an attention hound and loves any chance he gets to be petted, even while the vehicle is in motion. I try to not be a distracted driver and while I do advocate no texting while driving, it’s really hard to ignore a large head that comes between the front seats! Luckily the fixed center console acts as a barrier to prevent him from riding in the front (my mother-in-law has had dogs bump the gear shift while driving!) or excessively sniffing any takeout riding on the passenger’s seat.
After getting to ride in the Toyota Sienna for the past three months, I have a feeling that it will be hard for Oliver to return to being confined in the back section of our family’s station wagon though to him, a car ride is better than no car ride at all!
To learn about other vehicles I’ve tested that are dog friendly, read my other car reviews or feel free to leave any questions in the comments!