Greetings ladies and gents, I’m CD – the better half of Assa. I glad she finally gave me a little corner on her blog to share with you my love of cars.
Are we there yet?With two kids on a long road trip, this question comes up about every 15 minutes… we were driving from Toronto to NYC…
Well this time I had to check on the kids a few times to make sure they were still up and breathing in the back seat. After checking a couple of times, my wife then tells me to pop open the sunglasses holder from the roof. Lo and behold, dropped the mirror that lets the driver see the back seats.
“There’s an app for that”, comes to mind – you know how your phone becomes an extension of you with an app tailored for every task? The 2016 Toyota Sienna feels like that in every way.With a 2000 Km road trip, we’ve had the chance to experience the 2016 Toyota Sienna inside out, there are a few anecdotes I must just share with you.This seven-seat passenger vehicle was really designed with kids and safety in mind.
A blu-ray player and a drop down screen that can be split to display input from two different sources. The result of this? My 8 year old is now hooked on the Planet Earth series which he was able to watch in high definition during the road trip.As if that wasn’t tech heavy enough, the entertainment system comes with wireless headsets that only work in the back seats. When technology becomes that seamless and integrated, it goes beyond serving just it’s purpose, it becomes a lifestyle item.
As we were going through winding roads, it was a win win situation between not having the “there yet” song from the kids and getting some education for them on the way.
But what’s a fancy technology without the matching comfort to go with it… leather upholstery along with captain seats on first and second row. Last but not least, the feeling of space is bespoke. It felt like the car was out of the way and the space was just there as in a leaving room transport. As you can see our 5 years old got plenty of sleep.
Kids loved the reclinable captain seats while dad loved the driver seat with power lumbar support.
Hours of driving went by without us ever feeling like we should stop to stretch, we stopped to eat and for the occasional bathroom run. The car was out of the way and we were just enjoying the drive.
Before we knew it, we were half way through our drive traversing the garden state and looking at miles and miles of trees and hills, a sight that screams freedom and demands that one just goes west and gets lost. That’s when we realized a couple of things, the visibility in the Sienna is in such a way that there’s nothing between the passengers and the road, another area where the feeling of space and the feeling of being connected with the outside is paramount.
We were pleasantly surprised by how well the car handled itself at high speeds, cross winds came and went without shacking the car at all. I guess that makes sense given the low center of gravity, I would go as far as saying that this probably handles better than many SUVs due to those having a higher center of gravity.
All in all, a very respectable and comfortable drive. I could keep going with anecdotes about all of the different things but there are truly too many good things to get a detailed review of everything, here are a few:
- Bluetooth integration, HDMI connecter, 110v power outlets, rain sensing windshield whippers, Xenon headlights, blind spot alert, XM radio, full on navigation system, on board computer that runs the usual sensors and monitors gas consumption, fold down third row sits that make the floor completely flat in case you need to bring half of your house with for the trip… A three-zone temperature control, blind spot monitoring, back up camera, moonroof, remote-less key entry, a driver seat memory system, the list goes on…….
- Another mention that deserves it’s own flag is that the 2016 Toyota Sienna is available with an all wheel drive system. On our way back from NYC, we had a thunderstorm with heavy rains, the car felt surfooted and never felt like it was struggling to handle in the rain.
With all these positives, you’d think there is nothing wrong with the car. I do have a couple of areas I could see Toyota could improve.
- This is literally the only amenity that I missed not having in the car, a mini fridge to keep drinks cool. This is easily fixed by getting a cooler though. The small units will fit perfectly in the left side of the trunk as if designed for it.
- Gas mileage – this is somewhat expected given that it’s a minivan, we averaged a little over 20 MPG during our road trip. Keep in mind that our tester had the V6 unit and the AWD option along with load for 4 people in the car. It’s smooth with great passing power on the highway but fuel efficiency could be better.
- A sensor on the automatic sliding doors to stop if something is in the way would be a great addition. Kids love the doors, given the focus on safety, I would love to see this in the standard package!
I mean, which parent wouldn’t want to stop listening to the “Are we there yet” soundtrack during a roadtrip ?
A big thank you to Toyota Canada for making our trip a comfortable and memorable one.
Until next time…..