2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6
2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6
2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6
2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6
2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jacob Black

I am a convert. An eight-seat, road-going-behemoth minivan convert. I love them now. My old lotto list went, “motorbike, sports sedan, other motorbike, sports coupe, different motorbike, sports wagon”. I’ve now added “minivan” to the list.

But you wouldn’t need a lotto win to buy one. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “a lot of car for your money”. When it comes to the 2014 Toyota Sienna V6 you get that and then some. Firstly, it’s huge. Not in a silly, “why is that so big?” Suburban kind of way, but in an “oh wow, that’s big, there is a lot of car there” kind of way. And unlike some big vehicles, the interior doesn’t leave you wondering where all the size went; it’s still there in spades.

I probably overuse the phrase “reverse TARDIS”; the Sienna isn’t that. It’s just a TARDIS – though without the ever-present companion, time travelling abilities or a pool in the library.

It also comes with an impressive list of features, including back-up camera, Bluetooth, three-zone climate control, SiriusXM, driver’s knee airbag, power doors, power tailgate and sunroof.

There is space for eight passengers inside – well, seven passengers and one driver. Each of them has more legroom than your average airplane seat, and more room for carry-on luggage. There is also a very, very large cargo area behind the third row. Including the very clever little open bin on the left there’s a full 1,110 litres worth with all the seats in place.

And if you fold the third row down (it folds flush with the floor in one fluid movement), there is 2,470 litres worth. Want more? Get rid of those pesky second-row seats (you’d have to remove them completely to get a mostly flat floor) and you have 4,250 L. In total, there is 164 L more than the Dodge Grand Caravan. Cargo width is listed at 1,220 mm.

There are handy hooks, adjustable straps and tie-downs all through the cargo area. That’s not even the half of the clever things spread throughout this car. There are hooks, nooks and crannies from the front bumper to the tailgate, with neat touches like a rubberized pad on the floor between the console and the centre stack that is perfect for holding a large bag, backpack etc. The console itself is deep and useful, plus there is a little hook on it for holding handbags and the like in place. Curiously the USB and aux inputs are all the way down there too, below a deep padded cavity for phones and wallets, and two more pop-out cup holders. Without trying, I counted more than a dozen cup holders.

I enjoyed the large amounts of travel available with the middle row – they could slide all the way forward to butt against the first row, or all the way back, hard up against the rear row. In times of boredom, say on an Autos.ca coffee jaunt, one could spend one’s time with the lever held up, sliding back and forth under acceleration and braking with gleeful abandon. Of course, one wouldn’t, because that would be dangerous. Fun, yes. And Hilarious. But dangerous. So don’t do it.

2014 Toyota Sienna SE V62014 Toyota Sienna SE V62014 Toyota Sienna SE V62014 Toyota Sienna SE V6
2014 Toyota Sienna SE V6. Click image to enlarge

The rear tailgate is power operated, as are the two sliding side doors, and all three openings can be controlled via the button cluster above the rear-view mirror, which I found incredibly useful. My daughter was astounded by the sliding doors, and rushed to be allowed to close them whenever she exited the car. She still hasn’t stopped asking me, “Why doesn’t this door open in a cool way Daddy?” for every car we’ve been in since.

But can you park it?

For the week leading up to my time in the Toyota Sienna I woke up several times from bad dreams about trying to park it in my condo’s garage. Fearing the size, the visibility, the awkwardness of it all… silly Jacob.

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