When it comes to the Minivan category, I have always been “that” guy – the “never-gonna-drive-one” sort that doesn’t even consider the category when the occasion arises to purchase a new vehicle. Nearly six years and two kids into the parenting game, and we still do not own a Minivan – and in fact, it was indeed never considered during our purchasing excursions, neither my wife nor myself ever taking a test drive… until last year. My wife still has never been at the wheel of a Minivan, but I now have – numerous times, and with numerous models – but it didn’t really start until I began sharing my love of cars as a regular feature on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. Thing is, my view of the “Minivan” has been drastically changed over time, previously-skewed largely by the tacky models of the 1980s (the Plymouth Voyager, the horrid-looking Pontiac Trans Sport, Chevy Astro Van, etc.), and by marketing, including some that’s fairly recent. I have to admit that… I’ve really enjoyed some of the Minivans that I’ve driven over this past year, and the latest is one that had previously hit me hard on the marketing-misfire note: The Toyota Sienna, aka “The Original Swagger Wagon.”
While those Swagger Wagon commercials really worked for Toyota, they didn’t work for me. To be perfectly blunt, I hated the entire campaign – including last Fall’s entry with Busta Rhymes, who I’m a big fan of (I gonna throw on his EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT album right now). How those spots registered in my head was that they were trying to sell a stylish ride to the very type of family being spoofed in the videos – the bland folk who would probably take a “yard photo.” I sincerely hope that our family never looks or acts like that, but the real issue at hand here is the Sienna itself…
When the folks at DriveShop delivered a Sky Blue Pearl 2015 Toyota Sienna XLE to Rock Father HQ last week, it immediately captured the interest of The Rock Daughters – budding automotive enthusiasts who look forward to each new review perhaps even more than I. Their first question? “Does it have a TV?” The answer, yes. But there was so much more for kids and families to enjoy, and that’s what we would soon find out.
Spacious, and yes, fun to drive, the 2015 Sienna feels sportier than it should. With the windows down and the sun roof open, we took this ride on plenty of adventures, from a Friday night family trip to Tastee-Freez (a summer tradition) to a Tuesday afternoon run to Six Flags Great America. Of course, the Sienna also became the vehicle of choice for the daily norm for a week, from picking up groceries to late-night gym runs.
A solid A/V system with Blu-ray and SiriusXM (Liquid Metal, of course) is present, with the middle row having dual headphones and a full-function remote to operate the widescreen monitor. Plenty of power outlets for all the required devices, more than enough cup holders… interior amenities are well-thought. There’s four seats with the LATCH system, so if you have an army of little ones that need to be hauled in car seats, the Sienna has you covered. And, when it comes to hauling things instead of people, the sliding and folding seats make for a ton of cargo space.
A true moment of clarity for me? Seeing how well our Igloo Wagon from The Step2 Company (yeah, I’m a third year paid Brand Ambassador) just fits right into the Sienna with no fumbling around like I have to do with our crossover. A Step2 Wagon in the Swagger Wagon…
With all the stuff we’re constantly moving, the adaptability of the Toyota Sienna is so appealing, and could easily put it as a front-runner for a future purchase. And the fact that this thing has power everything – like the side doors and trunk – only add to the appeal.
On the performance front, the 266hp 3.5 liter V6 engine is ample power with a good amount of zip and acceleration from a stop, while the cabin is pretty quiet from outside noise. It’s a smooth, quiet ride that the girls have no problem napping in after a busy afternoon…
Overall, the 2015 Toyota Sienna scored big here as a vehicle that the girls loved – and so did I. The only things I’d do different if we ordered one, would be to get the available dual-moonroof, and make sure that it was delivered in “Attitude Black Metallic” (the actual name for their black).
Price as-driven at Rock Father HQ: $41,770.00. Base Price: Starting at $28,600.00
Learn more about specs and available options, or build your own at http://www.toyota.com/sienna/