Toyota Sienna Review: Family Car and Mobile Office! #SiennaDiaries

toyota sienna review, 2014 toyota sienna
Can you imagine a Toyota Sienna as your office?                                        Photo credit to Derek Wilmot

Are you thinking of a minivan? Here’s my Toyota Sienna review where I talk about how it’s a great family car and mobile office!

For several weeks our family has been utilizing a Toyota Sienna as part of the #SiennaDiaries campaign with Toyota. We have been loaned a vehicle for 3 months and received a stipend to utilize for road trips and experiences. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

In the past 3 weeks, we’ve taken the Sienna on several different weekend day trips and road trips to places like Washington D.C. and Connecticut from Massachusetts. There’s something about the space in a minivan and a DVD entertainment system that screams, “Take me on a long drive.” Besides, Derek and I weren’t strangers to road trips before Gavin, we’d drive 10 hours north to Toronto for a long weekend before his arrival. Though with a child there are more stops, which requires more time to drive and more vacation days out of work, so we hadn’t prioritized making it happen until now.

While some people have work that can only be done in the office, there are more and more people who have been afforded the luxury of being able to work remotely. With that though, many jobs now have expectations of 24 hour accessibility, returning emails and completing projects at all hours of the day prompting us to constantly find ways to be productive while juggling our work and family lives.

Though the Sienna has been helpful in all the obvious reasons related to cargo space, seating and entertainment, what I didn’t plan on was how much of a fabulous family car and mobile office environment it would be for me!

Here are 8 available features I’ve enjoyed in the Sienna allowing our family to travel distances safely, while also keeping me productive on the road.

1. Bluetooth
The Sienna has Bluetooth connectivity through its Entune multimedia system, and it will automatically connect to your phone once you enter the car if it’s been synced. This will allow you to talk on the phone or listen to music from your iPod from the touch screen on the dashboard of the car. The bluetooth is awesome for phone calls, though I generally prefer it when I’m in the car driving alone so my son isn’t eavesdropping on my conversations. In our experience it’s been hard for callers to hear passengers trying to join the conversation in the backseat. However, if you have the rear entertainment system, you can easily talk on the phone hands-free with the bluetooth when you are driving, while a child is watching a movie and listening through wireless headphones in the back seat.

2. Backseat Captain’s Chairs with OttomansKeri Wilmot, Toyota Sienna Review, #SiennadDiaries

Not only are the captain’s chairs comfortable, they have arm rests, can slide back and forth providing a lot of additional leg room, and the seat backs can recline. Also, by lifting a small lever on the outer side of the seat, it lifts up an ottoman. Yes, an ottoman! Not only can you work, but you can work with your feet up, while semi-reclined and tons of legroom.

3. Outlet plugs

In the center console, there is an electrical outlet. Though it’s only a 2 prong plug, it’s still awesome to charge a cell phone or tablet, and we frequently use it to charge our digital cameras. In the trunk on the right hand side, there is also an additional outlet for charging which we use to charge spare batteries for cameras or my son’s LeapPad. These outlets are in addition to a USB plug, as well as an AUX port.

3. Large Windows

I don’t know why I was so surprised, but the large side passenger windows in the van on the doors, can go up and down. For no good reason, I guess I just assumed they couldn’t. There is also a dual moonroof, which provides a lot of natural light. The light is great, but can be a challenge when using a laptop or tablet during the day. However, by pulling up the sunshades and closing the moonroof, I’ve been able to work during the day and night with hardly any glare on my laptop screen.

4. Entertainment Flexibility

While my son is able to watch a movie using the wireless headphones, my husband can listen to the satellite radio or make a phone call on the front speakers of the car, while I put in my own headphones attached to my smart phone and listen to my own music. Everyone has been able to get their entertainment needs met on road trips.

6. Three-zone Climate Control
You know how in the office, there’s always the cube mate who is “hot flashing” and wants the temperature at a different one than you? The Sienna has climate controls for the driver, front passenger and backseat to adjust the fan speed and temperature for all passengers.

7. Smooth ride
This car rides so smoothly, I haven’t had any difficulty typing on my laptop at the same time.

8. Internet
As far as I know, the only feature the Sienna doesn’t have yet come equipped with is the capability of being a mobile hotspot for the internet. However, several years ago we purchased a mobile hotspot that we can pay as you go based on the data that’s used. So if we need to we activate it prior to a road trip, and as long as there is cell phone reception, a hotspot allows us to use the internet or stream movies on-the-go from the backseat of the car.

So while certainly keeping in mind the priorities for your growing family are important in the car buying experience in terms of space and storage flexibility, if you do a lot of work from home or on the road remotely, the Toyota Sienna has a lot of great mobile office features that will allow families to figure out a way to balance work and play.

For several weeks our family has been utilizing a Toyota Sienna as part of the #SiennaDiaries campaign with Toyota. We have received a stipend to utilize for road trips and experiences, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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