Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The King of the Minivans: 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE {Review}

 Toyota logo
Once upon a time my viewpoint on minivans was probably pretty similar to... well, everything else that I didn't understand before I had children. Why would you drive a big thing like that around when there were other options?

However, now that I'm a veteran mom, I know full well that a minivan provides benefits, comfort and reliability that just can't be found in other vehicles. Struggle with not enough space? No storage? A lack of features?

Why bother? Instead, I am now in love with the minivan that stands above all the rest: the 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE.

Toyota Sienna

During our recent family vacation to Orlando, Florida, there was never a doubt in my mind that we would need a minivan. As we were traveling with our family of four as well as both of my in-laws, how else were we going to contain six passengers, all of our luggage, and know that everyone would be safe, comfortable and happy?

Not to mention having an easy to use navigation system, a rearview camera, hands-free phone capability and much, much more... on top of the fact that I've only heard good things about the Toyota Sienna as a whole, and of course I was thrilled to see this beauty ready and waiting for us.

2013 Toyota Sienna

Available in a variety of different colors and models, the Toyota Sienna combines the versatility, style, technology and safety that families have come to depend on, whether running errands around town or traveling from theme park to theme park.

Upon first laying my eyes on the Predawn Gray Mica Sienna XLE, it was easy to see that Toyota had covered every inch. From the bumpers to the taillights to the alloy wheels, this isn't a dowdy-looking minivan from back in the day. This is for the family in the 21st century that isn't sacrificing appearance for convenience!

Toyota Sienna exterior

After admiring the outside, I couldn't wait to hop into the Sienna XLE to see just how luxurious it would be on the inside.

When I did, I continued to be impressed with all that Toyota had included, as the leather-trimmed, heated front seats were extremely plush and comfortable. Looking into the back, the 8-passenger seating provided plenty of room for the entire family (plus more!) and I love that the second and third row weren't at all cramped or could be easily folded for storage.

As an added bonus, the center-mounted seat in the second row bench can be removed and stowed in a special nook in the cargo area when not in use, providing a configuration similar to captain's chairs (if that is your preference).

Toyota Sienna seating

And when it comes to storage, the Sienna is clearly a winner in that department as well. Considering how easily the second and third row seats fold or are removed, there would never be a single worry about carrying anything from groceries to strollers to furniture.

minivan storage
I saw someone move a full size refrigerator in the back of a Sienna once!
As well as the modern appearance (inside and out), there wasn't much more that I could have asked for than what was already included in this minivan.

The large dashboard made it extremely easy to reach all of the controls (there are many located right on the steering wheel for convenience); there were roomy storage compartments and cup holders aplenty for passengers throughout; the USB port was perfect for our technology-filled lives; the tri-zone climate control allowed for not only the driver and front seat passenger to choose their preferred temperature, but the riders in the back as well...

tri-zone climate control

...and use of the touch-screen was intuitive and responsive. Switch from the radio to Sirius XM to Bluetooth to the navigation system in seconds!

Toyota Sienna navigation

Along with the many features that the 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE included, I fully appreciated that it was very smooth and easy to drive, accelerated well (3.5L V6 engine) and stopped on a dime with its front and rear disc brakes.

The Advanced Airbag System provided a sense of security for me in the event that we needed it and the LATCH capabilities and easy-open power sliding doors were perfect for my kids.

On top of that, the Sienna did more than just include a great backup camera for helping see behind it, it also had a wonderful Blind Spot Monitor feature that I loved right away. By using radar technology, the outside mirror on the driver or passenger side illuminated to indicate if there was a vehicle that may be in a blind spot — although diligent driving is best, of course, having this second set of eyes is such a fantastic innovation!

blind spot monitor

After a week of driving the Sienna XLE around Florida, I was easily convinced that it was nearly-perfect for just about any family. It provided decent minivan gas mileage (18 city and 25 highway), kept my family very safe, and there wasn't a single complaint about lack of comfort, legroom or space.

All in all, this is one sporty minivan that I would highly recommend and I love that Toyota continues to make improvements and adjustments with each new model — the 2014 Sienna looks just as amazing! From the many features (standard or optional) to the high quality craftsmanship, this is one vehicle that will bring convenience to your life... whether you realize it or not!

With an MSRP of around $33,500, the 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE drives well, looks sleek and is a great choice for families. You can find out lots more on this incredible vehicle by visiting the Toyota website and connecting with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Other than the Sienna XLE that I was provided in order to facilitate my review, I was not compensated or enticed to do this review in any way. This post is solely my honest opinion about how much I loved driving this car.


Jessica Allen said...

Looks like a great van! I love the blind spot monitoring & look at all of that room! When I'm ready to say good bye to my cross over, I will be purchasing my first mini van! :)

dannyscotland said...

I love Toyotas. I don't need a minivan right now, but if I did, this would be the one I'd want. Right now I drive a Corolla and it fits my two girls just fine. I loooooovvve my Toyota!

Mer said...

That does look pretty impressive. Adjustable seat configurations sound very useful, so you'll have enough room for carpool or stroller and groceries.

Remus said...

I like that it has a back-up camera. The next vehicle I get (if I can afford to) will have one of those....

slehan said...

Heated seats and individual temps? Sign me up. Looks like a great car.

slehan at juno dot com

Unknown said...

that looks amazing! I think the ability to control the temperature in each seat is fabulous! No more fighting over the a/c control :)

Unknown said...

looks very roomy

knickgirl_3 at yahoo dot com

flairshare said...

This is a great, sporty minivan. I would not know how to act with a fully loaded van! We have one Toyota vehicle and love it.