As I have already mentioned this fall has been nuts! It has been nonstop go, go, go! Trips, events, parties, and just day to day stuff have been keeping me quite busy. I have been so busy that I am behind in posting, but that certainly does not mean that I have not been enjoying the ride of a shiny new car. My own van which I will let rename nameless has been failing me for quite a while. I was worried about how I was going to do everything that I needed to do this fall. I was super excited to be asked to join the #SiennaDiaries team. You want me to drive a nice shiny new Toyota Sienna for 3 months and write about it?? Yes! I can do that. 🙂 I received a fully loaded 2014 Sienna XLE in Cypress Pearl.


There are several things that make a vehicle a good family car. Here is a summary of those below. I will be breaking this up into several posts to cover it all in more detail. And yes, there will be loads of pretty pictures. 🙂

Good for Long Commutes

The kids and I have actually been enjoying our commutes in the Sienna. We are in the car a lot. Right away we noticed the brand new, perfectly clean interior… and I told them that it better stay that way! My kids still go to school near where I used to work which means that we have a long commute. In rush hour traffic that could be an hour. Yes, I know what you are thinking, but it is a great school and they love it. The school only goes until 5th grade, so we don’t have much longer there. 🙂 Anyway living anywhere in the Chicago Suburbs means that you have to drive quite a bit to go anywhere exciting. LOL. Because of that we need a comfortable and reliable vehicle.

The Entertainment

My kids are the type that have to be entertained in the car. And trust me, them being entertained maintains my sanity. ) My 7-year old son is the movie buff. He grabs a movie on the way out to play on the huge DVD screen. And since the Sienna comes with a remote, I can just hand it to him and he can navigate and pause and rewind without asking me to do it. 🙂 There is also a great stereo system with all the fancy tech fixings for me that I will get into in another post. 🙂

The Seating

The seating is very kid ready. The Sienna can very comfortably seat 7 people. But that is not all (AND I LOVE THIS!). The second row includes a removable 8th seat! Being able to put the seat in if we need it is great! When not in use it has it’s own storage compartment in the cargo area. When it is not there it makes it easier for the kids to climb in and out of the back seat. My kids move fast. They don’t like to be patient and wait for me to slide the seats back, but the Toyota Sienna accommodates that just fine.

The Cargo

One problem that I have always had with SUVs that have 3 rows is that the cargo space is usually lacking. If you truly want a lot of cargo space you have to go for a nice mini-van. And cargo space is a must with 4 kids. In some vehicles once people are loaded in the car there might not be much room for a large grocery load. The space in the Toyota Sienna is great. The sucken trunk holds a lot. And if you need even more space the seats fold down to create a flat surface to haul large cargo.

When I hosted my Plants vs. Zombies event a few weeks ago I was able to stuff myself, the kids, the food, 2 slow cookers, the decorations, a projector and screen, a laptop bag, a speaker, and several garbage bags filled with 100 plush zombie toys into the van. Everything fit! Before I probably would have had to enlist a friend to come to my house and help haul things to the venue in their car.

These are just a few of the things that I first noticed in the Toyota Sienna. Toyota definitely had family in mind when creating this vehicle. Stay tuned for more posts about what I love about the Sienna.


Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement in the compensated Toyota #SiennaDiaries program. All opinions are my own.