Our summer road trip with Toyota Sienna

Ah, our first time driving a minivan, I gotta say, the “Sienna is the official van of family fun”.  This review will be done in two parts.  One by me and the other by Papa Ash since he’s the driver of our family.  I’ll tell you first that this was great and the SAFETY features are the best compared to the other vehicles we’ve reviewed.  I loved the space. We are tall people, my husband at 6’3″ and I’m 5’10”, we just need the leg room and space for us and of course the three kids we have.  Each child was happy having their own space on their seat and I liked it too because there wasn’t any fighting. You know how kids can get.  God forbid elbows should touch one another, lol.


You can move seats and pack more in or add a seat and you have an 8 seater and I think we really need a minivan just for space.  The seats are comfortable, the car was smooth and it was really good on gas.  We did a lot of driving from the Haliburton Highlands, through the Muskoka’s and into Simcoe county and back into the GTA. We only needed to fill up twice. 
00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180722124501348_COVERYou can adjust temperatures, talk to the kids in the back through a microphone at the front(more on that later)and the bonus to entertain the kids with the DVD player!  A DVD PLAYER! Our Sienna came with two headphones and the kids loved watching The Flintstones.  Who doesn’t love old school cartoons?!


Sienna is the only minivan in Canada that offers All Wheel Drive models. Go ahead and compare with other minivans in the class. One test drive and you can feel Sienna’s superior hold on the road.

Take that! 😉 

Sienna’s 3.5 Litre engine with 8-speed automatic transmission creates a smooth ride and better fuel efficiency and one car enthusiast told me on Twitter to fill it with Premium to really experience the difference. 

Designed to protect each of your passengers, Sienna comes equipped standard with 8 Airbags. Worry less while on the road. When the unexpected happens, Sienna is ready.

Toyota knows that peace of mind while driving is paramount. That’s why they were the first full-line manufacturer to introduce the Star Safety SystemTM as standard equipment with its six advanced accident avoidance technologies – including ABS, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more.

From Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control and Smart Stop Technology again…I’ve never experienced so much precaution in a vehicle.  I didn’t want to return the Sienna!  

Oh, the Entune 3.0, Toyota’s multimedia platform!  Okay, Toyota, this was fab! Entune ™ 3.0 keeps you connected. Weather and traffic incident news is also available which is what matters to us the most along with Serious XM.   Did you know that with the Entune™ Safety Connect, drivers can take advantage of a stolen vehicle locator or if there’s an emergency, the Emergency Assistance (SOS) button offers Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. Entune also features Scout GPS Link that employs navigation from your phone if the vehicle is not equipped with embedded navigation, and available Destination Assist, which gets directions and destinations delivered by a live agent with 24-hour, en-route navigational assistance.   Like, really? I did mention this is the most advanced automobile we’ve ever reviewed, right?!  

You’ve heard from me now let me pass the rest of our review to my husband, also known as Papa Ash.



When my wife told me we were getting the opportunity to review a minivan for our summer getaway- I was very obviously happy, but the long-suppressed “cool guy” within me was a tad disappointed that it wasn’t going to be a super slick sporty, smooth powerful SUV.   BUT you know what?  The Toyota Sienna came through big time!  The Toyota Sienna minivan is a very cool piece of roadworthy machinery.  It’s pretty impressive looking right from the first glance.  Nice lines, great colour, a very well thought out design- this is not your father’s minivan.


TSS is comprised of multi-feature active safety packages anchored by automated pre-collision warning and braking. TSS is designed to support the driver’s awareness, decision-making and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds under certain conditions. 

Of course, despite my male need to be suave and cool on the road, my real concern was the safety of my family. My wife, 9yr old son and twin 5 yr old daughters. The Toyota Safety Sense features are stellar, when Daryl from Toyota explained them to me I stopped him repeatedly to express my admiration for how forward thinking it was.  They actually paid attention to so many little details (as well as big, obvious ones like airbags) I was very impressed. If you have to stop abruptly, momentum causes the vehicle to tilt forward and reduces the brake-force effectiveness of the rear tires.  Everyone deserves to arrive safely. Toyota Safety Sense P comes with features like an automatic high beam, lane departure alert, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and dynamic radar cruise control. Toyota Safety Sense, just another way Toyota is helping to make safer roads for us all.


For instance, they have something called Easy Speak that allows the parents to speak to the kids all the way in the back via a microphone.  It freaks the little ones out at first, nothing wrong with that but it prevents having to turn around and raise your voice as this is a sizeable vehicle. There are camera’s located around the minivan and you not only see behind you, which is the standard now but you can also get what seems like a bird’s eye view. 


It will show you if you are between the lines when parking or having difficulty with parallel parking.  One of my favourite features is the two-car logo in both side view mirrors that flash if someone is in your blind spot. Genious.   Also, the Sienna provides collision avoidance or collision mitigation support in speed ranges where frontal collisions are likely to occur. In certain conditions, the Pre-collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) may also help to detect pedestrians and help prevent or mitigate a collision.


What is also pretty forward thinking with the Toyota Sienna is it uses forward sensing radar technology, the system can automatically adjust vehicle speed to help maintain a preset following distance between you and the vehicle directly in front of you.  Does your car do that?

There really are too many excellent safety features to list here and that is superb but this Toyota Sienna also has some real pick up on the highway and manoeuvring like a much smaller and quicker automobile.  Toyota really appears to be leading the way for family transportation.  The Sienna is the best looking minivan out there, the safety features are astounding and second to none and it really drives like a dream with a little bit of power thrown in.

Loved it! ~ Papa Ash

So that’s a wrap, friends.  Wow, that was one packed in review on this Toyota Sienna.  If you are considering a minivan, I hope this review will help you in your decision and you’ll go book a test drive today.   Thank you Toyota Canada for this awesome experience.  We still want to buy one!  

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Toyota Canada.  All opinions as always my own.




  1. nicky | 24th Aug 18

    Looks so comfy and spacious for a big family!

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      We need the space! We are all so tall, too.

  2. Anne Taylor | 24th Aug 18

    So jelly! This looks like an awesome vehicle!

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      We are now no longer minivan virgins, lol. What a difference all the space you can make and I love the DVD player.

  3. Lynda Cook | 24th Aug 18

    Sounds and looks like a great van to have, I love the seats and the leg room, plus all the extras it has, I just wouldn’t want to know the cost of fixing anything though, glad you liked it!!

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      I think Toyota is pretty reasonable compared to say, Volvo.

  4. Victoria Ess | 25th Aug 18

    That’s so roomy!

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      Right?! For a family of 5, I think it’s a great vehicle for that.

  5. Suzie B (Soozle) | 25th Aug 18

    This looks like a great vehicle – I love all the features!

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      Me too! My favourite next to the DVD is all the safety features, I appreciate the little details it has for keeping us safe. I mean, the car will slow down and gage safe distances between vehicles. That’s a bonus!

  6. Silvia D | 25th Aug 18

    great vehical, thank you for the review!

  7. Stephanie | 25th Aug 18

    Looks like a great vehicle!

  8. Ron | 25th Aug 18

    I like that you can get all-wheel drive. And the seats look really comfortable.

  9. Miriam Wilton | 25th Aug 18

    i love my Toyota! it’s the only company i trust to keep going no matter what. as long as you take care of toyota it will run forever lol. I’ve never owned a Sienna but i think a RAV4 is in my future after our little Matrix retires.

    • Mama Ash | 27th Aug 18

      We drove a Rav4 in Winnipeg recently and loved it. My mom has one.

  10. Debbie White-Beattie | 25th Aug 18

    This is an awesome vehicle and I love the colour

  11. Jennifer P. | 27th Aug 18

    That’s a sporty looking mini van with lots of great features – love it! We’re a Toyota family – my first car was a Toyota Corolla, next was a Toyota Tercel. And now one of our cars is a Toyota Highlander (and my parents drive the newer model, as well as had a Camry in the past). My favourite was my Corolla – it was my Grandma’s car originally, which we bought from her when she was no longer driving. It was a pretty mint green colour from 1972 – I drove it until 1997 when I was in a minor hit and run accident that unfortunately deemed it a write-off simply because it wasn’t worth much money “on the books”.

    • Mama Ash | 31st Aug 18

      That’s so awesome, Jennifer! Yay! This was my first time working with Toyota and I am loving the Sienna. I really want one.

    • Mama Ash | 31st Aug 18

      Sorry to hear about the accident though 🙁

  12. Pamela Jester | 28th Aug 18

    How nice, I love the extra head room, because I’m always hitting my head. Love those new safety features too.

  13. Krista M | 29th Aug 18

    The EasySpeak feature is awesome! Safety has always got to be #1 so nice that Toyota is steps ahead in the safety game.

  14. Carol M | 30th Aug 18

    Looks like a great van for a family.

  15. Michelle W | 30th Aug 18

    Looks like a great Toyota vehicle! We love our Toyota ?

  16. kristen visser | 30th Aug 18

    This is amazing!!! I am totally telling hubby about this for our next vehicle. We have an SUV which is a 7 seater but we find there is not much room in it since we had our baby girl a month ago (third child) and using all the seats. the trunk size is SOOOO small now. we want to get rid of our car and get a van

    • Mama Ash | 31st Aug 18

      You MUST check out the Sienna, Kristen! Keep me posted 🙂

  17. HEIDI C. | 30th Aug 18

    I would love to have a nice spacious minivan like the Sienna. It has so many excellent features and is perfect for our family of six.

  18. Tannis W | 31st Aug 18

    All wheel drive in a van sounds great! The microphone feature is pretty awesome too!

    • Mama Ash | 31st Aug 18

      Yes, no more yelling or turning your head back!

  19. jan | 31st Aug 18

    beautiful and comfortable looking seats, as well as lots of room

  20. Michelle Ostlund | 31st Aug 18

    Looks Great

  21. Anne Taylor | 20th Oct 18

    This looks like a great vehicle for a family! Our old mini van, that we had many moons ago, wasn’t as nice as this!

  22. Sarah | 24th Oct 18

    This looks like the perfect family road trip vehicle!! I look forward to family road trips in the future.

  23. Tannis W | 7th May 19

    I totally understand your need for legroom!! My husband is 6’4″ and I am 5’9″. We just upgraded from a car to a Honday Odyssey. Hello legroom!!! The sienna looks like it has awesome features.

  24. Jenny Wilson | 8th May 19

    I’m not pleased with how big it looks compared to the other minivans, but it is the only one with AWD so far so that is a difficult decision! Loving our six seater SUV for now!

  25. Maria McLachlan | 9th May 19

    I loved my Sienna. It was old and ran it too the ground. I couldn’t afford a new one and got an SUV for now but I so want another one in next couple years!

  26. Emily John | 29th May 19

    My neighbor just bought a brand new Sienna and I am blown away by all the features it has. It is very roomy and their kids love it as much as they do.

  27. wendy hutton | 30th May 19

    looks very spacious and comfortable, I like the idea of the separate seats in the back too

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