Toyota Sienna 2016: A Sublime Classic Sure Loves to Please
By Kathy Chin Leong

I love classic things. A classic pencil skirt. A classic burger, hold the fries. It is in the familiar we find comfort and security.

The Toyota Sienna is a classic. A great one.  My sister still has her 8-year-old Sienna, and she won't let go until she has to. Certainly these Siennas have a strong track record, and I am happy to report that the new 2016 AWD Sienna does Toyota proud. This six-cylinder van includes efficient features that make for stress-less driving.  Living in Silicon Valley, it is already stressful enough to get around town, so to have a car that is a pleasure to drive is a bonus like you wouldn't believe.

For me, having a great car is all about convenience and ease and no-nonsense features. First, the buttons to automatically open and close the side sliding doors and back hatch are conveniently found in the front center ceiling panel. So I don't have to lean back to do this? Great! 

Another mom-useful asset is the additional rear mirror that pops down so you can witness who is hitting who.  Next, the front data panel tells you how many miles and gallons you have before you run bone dry before the next soccer match. For families, the assortment of cup holders is a welcome, making cleaning up that much easier after a road trip. The second row also has plastic molded hooks perfect for carrying a plastic trash bag for garbage or a sack of treats or toys.

I also like how easy it is to flip down seats from the trunk. Pull out the strap towards yourself to flatten  the third row.  The seatback can flip forward so you can pack more things in the rear like a bike. As in years past, the back luggage area is sunken deep, so you can store the bulkier items compared to  other vans.  A real test for this is when you drive and drop off your first kid to college. Just saying...

The Sienna designers must be parents who have seen it all.  Keeping children happy on long trips has always been a challenge for every parent since the days of Henry Ford. After all, sitting still, buckled in for hours is not a natural state.  Kids will be extremely comfortable riding in this 7-passenger Sienna with a dual moonroof. Sunshades in the second row are a blessing especially if you are stuck in traffic in the middle of the afternoon. Next, the second row gets its own climate settings so the second half of the van can be at ease.

Third, the little ones will love the built in DVD BLU Ray player. A DVD screen flips down from the ceiling, so watching a late night flick is very doable. Now all you need is a microwave to pop popcorn. Head homes come included, too. And when they get bored watching movies, a back seat pair of USB connector ports will limit fighting because they will want to plug in their electronics instead of looking out of the window as life passes by. 

For all these comforts you may not get the best gas economy. Current ratings post 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on highways. The car has a 20.9 gallon fuel capacity, a pretty big gas tank that takes 87 octane unleaded gas. This version, priced at nearly $50,000, gets you around town in a JBL speaker system with ten, count ‘em ten speakers, and a mighty subwoofer- just the thing your teenagers will love as they scream to their favorite JB tunes.  But this pricetag may justify emptying the piggybank when you figure it will last you as long as your kid’s childhood.  Safety features include eight airbags, daytime running lights, and blind spot monitoring.  On the crash-worthiness scores, it has rated five out of five.  Think about it!

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