I’ve been a Toyota loyalist from the moment I purchased (with my own money) my first vehicle. My 4Runner had a life of over 15 years and nearly 300,000 miles, which attests to the brands longevity and the quality of the vehicles they make. Together, Jason and I have owned 3 Toyota vehicles, which is both a testament to our experience with and commitment to the brand.
For the next few months, our family will be documenting our experiences test driving Toyota’s 2014 Sienna. But more than a simple test drive, we’ll be sharing our day-to-day integration of the vehicle into our lives. From the basics, like installing car seats and learning how to utilize all of the innovation in the vehicle to our benefit, to parking in our 2 car garage, my hope is that you’ll get a real-life window into what it is like for a family of four to drive a minivan. Perhaps you’ve considered a minivan because your family is expanding and you’re short on space but you have questions about the efficiency of a a vehicle that size…or even the logistics of navigating a minivan through covered parking structures and tight school carpool lanes. Given the amount of time we have to drive the Sienna, I hope that we encounter all types of scenarios so that I can work my way through them and help answer your questions in order to make the best decision for your family.
The vehicle was delivered to us right before Easter and we wasted no time “moving in.” This was actually perfectly timed with a local church event I was helping to coordinate for Good Friday. Our family found our home church through Eggstravaganza, so I really wanted to be involved in serving at one of our largest community outreach events. This completely free event reached nearly 5,000 people this year as families enjoyed crafts, face painting, bounce houses, and an egg hunt with 20,000 candy-filled eggs!
I was placed in charge of food, which was perfect since I love all-things food! When I took on the role, I had no idea I would need to figure out how to transport 1000 churros and 1500 donuts. Thankfully, the Sienna has a TON of space for cargo. Both the second and the third row of seats folds down, but we found that we only needed the space afforded by folding down the back row. Everything fit nicely, plus we had some extra room for the last-minute items my husband had to pick up that morning.
The event itself was a huge success and I had many families come up to the volunteers thanking them helping them create memorable Easter moments. My daughter even had an opportunity to participate in one of the egg hunts and enjoy some of the activities with Jason once he had finished helping me run errands and transport food to the venue. He definitely appreciated the space and the ease with which he could load a lot of items into and out of the vehicle.
This is really my first experience with a minivan, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and effortless it was to stow the seats. And, with Sienna’s Split & Stow 3rd Row seat, you can opt to stow one or both seats depending on your cargo and passenger needs. Additionally, I was unsure whether I would have difficulty with the Power Liftgate because of my height, but with a push of a button on the Smart Key Fob, it opens and can be closed from inside the vehicle, which means I don’t have to reach to open or close it.
Since we’re in the middle of Spring and I always use this time to go through my childrens’ toys, clothes, and books, we decided that it was time to let go of some things (specifically toys!). I also finally relinquished the idea of having a 3rd baby and donated a TON of new and very gently used baby gear to our local Goodwill and Salvation Army organizations. I can’t believe all of the items we donated fit inside the Sienna!
There are SO many things to love about the 2014 Toyota Sienna. From innovation and technology to comfort and space, I can’t wait to share with you the coming chapters in our #SiennaDiaries.