Okay, I will be the first to admit that for years, I have been very anti mini van! Most of my friends have them and they always said, "Just wait, someday you will find yourself driving one." I would giggle, shake my head, and that would be the end of it.
Fast forward to approximately May of 2008 and I am pregnant with our 4th child. My husband and I began discussing possibly getting a mini-van because we needed another vehicle that can accomodate four children. The conversation ended and it was not brought up again until August, 2008.
I heard that Toyota was offering 0% financing on their mini-vans, the Toyota Siennas. My husband and I only purchase Toyota or Honda vehicles and I knew that the Sienna has an all wheel drive model, which is ideal for us because we live in the woods of New Hampshire. I did extensive research on the Internet and discovered that the Sienna's are top rated in safety by the government. This is important to us because we are transporting precious cargo everyday.
Hesitantly, my husband and I headed to the dealership on Saturday, August 30th (yes, the last day of the 0% finance deal!). We knew what we wanted so it wasn't difficult to pick one out. We decided to do a quick test drive just to make sure it was what we really wanted. We no sooner got out of the parking lot and we looked at each other and said, "Why didn't we get one of these sooner???" We fell in love immediately!
Okay, now for the details. We knew that a DVD player is a must for us, and luckily, there was one already installed in the van we wanted. If one is not installed, you can have it installed for about an additional $1000. We loved that the Sienna is so very spacious! You have the option of seating for 8 or seating for 7. We chose seating for 7 because we like the two captains chairs in the middle and the bench seat in the back. You can either have the captains chairs next to each other, or you can move them so that there is an aisle in the middle...or you can take them out all together! The back bench seat folds down into the back so no need to take those out! When all of the back seats are out and tucked in, you can fit a piece of plywood back there, that is how much room there is!
We chose not to get leather interior, but that is an option if you desire that. I love that there is a SONAR system so if you are backing up and get too close to something, an alarm goes off. That safety feature was one of my favorites! Also, there are airbags every where in this van: on the sides, in the front! And the amount of cupholders in this van is amazing...I think we counted almost 20! One of the side doors opens automatically but the other side is manual. There is so much storage in this van, which is nice when you have a lot of children who tend to tuck their toys and books everywhere.
For those of you who like technological devices, there is a place to plug in your MP3 player or IPOD in the front and also 2 places in the back to do so. There are also two electrical outlets in the back which are nice if you want to sit back there and play with your laptop.
I am not trying to rant, but there is just so much to love about this van. My hubby enjoys the fact that he can fit into this van comfortably. He is 6'6" tall so he has a true appreciation for spacious vehicles. Also, the drivers seat is all electrical: you can move the seat forward, up and down, and adjust the lumbar support, all with the touch of a few buttons. On the steering wheel, you can adjust the radio station, the volume of the radio, and you can somehow hook your bluetooth up to it (I have no clue what this means, but those of you who are technologically aware, probably know what that means). My children love that the middle windows can go down 3/4 of the way. (This is not the case with most older mini vans). Also the very back windows can jet out with just a touch of a button up front. My children also enjoy the fact that there are vents in the middle and back for the heat or AC, which can be adjusted accordingly.
With all of this being said and my experience with the Sienna, I have been converted to a mini-van lover! I wish I had gone this route sooner because it really rides so smoothly and fits us all so comfortably. And we are loving the large space in the back of the bench seat...you can fit SO much back there!! I would recommend this model mini-van to anyone!