Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Toyota and have received compensation for this post. All opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.
I have been one of those moms that was vehemently against minivans. I didn’t want a “mom” vehicle, I wanted something that still was stylish and that I loved driving. However, when we went to Disneyland in 2016, we ended up renting a minivan…and I couldn’t deny that I loved how practical it was to drive around 4 adults, 2 kids, and all of our luggage comfortably.
I was thrilled when I was selected to test drive a 2018 Toyota Sienna for a week. The boys were ecstatic to take it to Edmonton to visit my family, as the big boys safely sat in the back seat with their car seat and booster seat. They were able to enjoy the DVD/BluRay, player as our oldest Braden controlled it all with the remote. Jonathan, our 2 year old, sat in the second row that has 2 Captain chairs in his car seat. Speaking of car seats, I definitely got out the Toyota Sienna’s manual and made sure I was properly installing the car and booster seats in the correct spots in the van. Make sure you never skip this step, if you have young kids requiring safety seats.
My Favourite Features of the 2018 Toyota Sienna
- The space! That, for me, is the #1 reason to get a minivan is the space that it offers, including:
- Fold down third row (so easy to do with one hand)
- Captain chairs on slider tracks and easily removed
- All-wheel drive. The Toyota Sienna is Canada’s only minivan with all-wheel drive; this is a must for us living rural and with all the highway driving I do
- Easy clean fabric & carpet floor mats
- Sun shades on all rear glass windows!!! Such a surprising and awesome feature for kids!
- Easily listen to my music or Podcasts with Bluetooth from my phone and answer calls hands-free
- DVD/BluRay player for the kids that they can control with a remote, or I can from the dash; you can also play 2 movies at once
- Blind spot detection that lights up on the side view mirrors when you pass a vehicle or a vehicle passes you and they are in your blind spot
- Dual power sliding doors that I can open from the front or the key fob/remote; again is a testament to how much space there is to easily move around in there
- Heated seats and steering wheels for those cold winter months and mornings
- Pretty sharp and stylish for a minivan!
This is what the Toyota Sienna looks like with the 3rd row down. I easily did it with one hand, which is so much easier than having to track my husband to do it with our very heavy 3rd row seats in our current vehicle that you have to take out because they don’t fold down. Also, this is the last day we had the minivan and what it looks like after a week of carrying around a family of 5 that live in dusty and dirty rural Alberta! I absolutely love the mats that go under the seats and between the Captain chairs, it was easy to take them out and shake them off before I returned it.
Other Amazing Features
- Voice activated navigation; the dashboard also features an 8″ touch screen
- 3-zone climate control
- Back up camera with rear and bird’s eye view
- 5 USB ports so everyone can charge their devices
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Automatic high beams
- Heated exterior mirrors
Toyota Safety Sense
New for this year, the Toyota Sienna offers the additional security of Toyota Safety Sense, which is an industry-leading suite of advanced safety technologies and is now standard on 95% of Toyota vehicles, because everyone deserves to arrive safely. This features things as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and lane departure alert with steering assist. It also offers parking assist, for those of you who aren’t the most comfortable parallel parking, or parking in tighter spaces!
Also new for 2018, all Toyota Sienna models are standard equipped with Entune – a suite of advanced in-vehicle connectivity services such as for traffic, seather, Slacker, Yelp, sports, stocks, fuel and NPR One with no subscription required. One of my favourite features of Entune is “Driver Easy Speak”, which you turn on so you don’t have to YELL at your kids in the back. I have to admit I didn’t use Entune voice commands very much, as I feel I would have to get more comfortable practicing and learning the voice command short cuts etc, but it is a very neat feature, especially with our hands-free law in Alberta.
So, Am I a Minivan Mom?
We currently own our mid-sized SUV and aren’t in the market for a new vehicle, but if I was to get a minivan, it would be this one for the all-wheel drive feature alone, among it’s many other features I adore. Not since my first car have I ever not owned a vehicle with all-wheel drive capabilities, and I’m never going to give that feature up! I know a lot of families and friends of ours drive minivans that live in the country, I hated hearing the sound of the gravel underneath the Toyota Sienna as it’s lower to the ground than I’m used to, and I am curious how it would handle the soft gravel roads and how awful they can get with snow and rain. If we lived urban, I would absolutely, 100% get a minivan.
Here’s a quick time lapse video of me cleaning out the Sienna before returning it. Take note at how easy it is to get car seats in and move around once you get familiar with it, unlike when I first put in the car seats in the first video! Again, you can take the 2nd row seats out and lay the 3rd row flat. I’m 6 feet tall and could easily lie down in it!
A sincere thanks to the awesome people at Stampede Toyota in Calgary for setting us up and being so accommodating!