Imagine a road trip with your family. Husband, Wife, three boys ages 6 to 15. Throw in a special needs kiddo and the fact the husband has to work for 24+ hours the day before you leave. Your destination is 800 miles away. In between you and your destination? The entire state of Kansas. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right?!
Now enter the 2014 Toyota Sienna. My lifesaver. The Messiah of minivans. The Holy Grail of keeping kids and families sane. The Mecca of comfort. The… You get the idea.
Toyota was so gracious to let us borrow and review a souped up, top of the line, 2014 Toyota Sienna with every bell and whistle known to man. Leather seats? Check. DVD system? Check. Navigation with real time traffic? Check. And all the power, plugs and iPod hookups you could ever need.
We weren’t packing light. We had 3 suitcases, a duffle bag, 3 backpacks, a cooler, 2 bags of food, a purse and laptop bag. Oh, and an Xbox. Yup, the boys even brought the Xbox. Finding room for everything was easy. The trunk area was much deeper and bigger than I imagined. The console between the front seats opened up and moved back to provide the kids in the middle bucket seats cup holders and created extra storage for snacks. The bucket seats even had footrests and reclined so far, it was like a mini bed!
Once we got everyone and everything packed and hooked up, we plugged in our destination into the navigation system, put in a DVD, hooked up the Xbox (split screen and wireless headphones for the win!) and were on our way.
Normally, my husband does 99% of the driving, but since this was a review car and he had been working all night, and right up until an hour before we left, I took the reigns. Let me tell you, as someone who doesn’t normally enjoy driving long distances, this Sienna was a gift from above. It had power, it had get up and go, it had such a smooth ride it was like driving a luxury car, not a “mom-mobile.” The navigation system was my favorite part! Not only did it help you get from point a to point b, but it would show real time traffic and tell me, “20 miles ahead, construction and slow traffic for 2 miles” and even offered multiple routes based on if we wanted to use toll roads, use the shortest distance or the quickest route!
Normally, Brady starts to get uncomfortable with long trips. He starts to squirm, doesn’t like having to sit for long periods of time and generally gets fidgety. Not because of his Autism, more so because he’s 6. Adding in the layer of autism, sensory issues, lack of being able to stay happy with one thing for very long, communication breakdowns and dietary issues, I was prepared to stop often and had an arsenal of toys, iPads, DVDs and such to distract him. I needed to use very little of my distractions.
Brady was content with his movies, then when he got bored with that, enjoyed watching the giant “fans” when we’d pass endless wind farms. Then would watch his brother’s play the xbox or color or play a game. He liked the “car house” as he called it. He also called it “Mommy’s really cool car” and was super sad at the end of our adventure when we had to return it. If it were up to Brady, we would have gone car shopping that day to buy our own!
All-in-all, it was an amazing trip! The boys were happily distracted during the long drive, my husband happily snoozing and enjoying not having to drive and me… enjoying every Starbucks between Denver and St. Louis (Colby, Kansas has a great one!) and surprised how much I enjoyed driving!
Now… To convince my husband to trade in my car for a Sienna! I’m hooked. I’m a Swagger Wagon convert for sure!
disclosure: I was given a loaner vehicle to complete this road trip and review. No monetary compensation was made. All opinions are my own and honest. Thank you Toyota!