Remember when I got the opportunity to tour the Toyota Plant in Evansville, Indiana where they make the Toyota Sienna (aka the Swagger Wagon), well the AWESOME folks from Toyota let me take one for a whole week, even though I did joke that they may not get it back. But anyway, I was beyond excited to get my grubby lil' mom hands on one of those bad boys! I had been waiting impatiently for it to arrive last week. And let me just tell you, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT.
I am in love! In love with the Swagger Wagon. I love my Toyota 4Runner so I had some pretty HIGH expectations for the Sienna. Especially since I got a sneak peak at the newest model last fall!
After the nice guys from Toyota dropped it off (and I *may* have had to ask how to turn it on...), I took it out for a spin WITHOUT the kids! The first thing, right off the bat, that I noticed was HOW ROOMY it was in the back. Jeremy and I are fairly tall (I'm 5' 8" and he is 6'3") so the openness of the inside was amazing! After I picked up the kids, I *may* have let them literally run around in the back. It was so roomy, they could run around in it! HOLY COW!! It was so roomy, that I was able to get in the back with them and strap seat belts without having to distort my body into positions that ARE NOT natural positions! IT WAS AWESOME!!
Now, you gotta remember I have a 2001 4Runner that I love (and besides it is fully paid off ;-)) so I was living high off the hog this week with all the new technology that is available in a vehicle. I don't even think I scratched the surface on all the different things I could do in that Sienna. But I do think I could probably live in it, if needed ;-)! So many of these things may be *old school* to some of you...
But here are a few highlights from the week:
- The Touch Screen! I love the Touch Screen - everything you need to control can be controlled on that touch screen. Having everything on one screen was awesome! I could control my phone, music, GPS, DVD, CD all from the touch screen. I could even plug in my iPhone (for the iPod) and my iPod selections came up on the touch screen. I could access playlists and artists all with a touch. How cool is that. And besides the fact there was a rear video so I wouldn't run into anything like my dad's truck or our Passat.
- Let's face it, I am NOT a fan of allowing children to watch DVDs in a vehicle ALL. THE. TIME but for trips this DVD player is AWESOME! It has wireless headsets so that they kids could watch a video and I still could listen to "grown up" music! Awww sweet silence. So because it was a special occasion, the kids did get to watch A LOT of DVDs this week! About day 3, Evan noticed the jacks that would allow us to use the Wii in the Sienna. I was going to keep that a surprise until the weekend, because you know HOW OBSESSED he is with Mario. Well, we busted out the Wii and Evan was in HEAVEN!! Again - not a great thing for driving around town BUT A LIFESAVER for long trips!! Look how "cool" Evan thinks he is in this bad boy!
- The keyless entry. Once again, I am fully aware that some vehicles nowadays have keyless entry BUT mine does not. So being able to open ANY door at ANY time I was near the Sienna took a little bit of stress off the whole "juggling 2 preschoolers in a crowded parking lot" scenario. You know what I mean? I could hold on to them and Evan could even open the door for me! PURE BLISS!
It was PERFECT for transporting cakes! I realized that I could pop the seats down in the back and it would have a small cubby perfect for cake boxes. And since I am not used to not feeling every single bump in the road in my truck, I didn't have to even worry about the box moving. Okay, fine I worried about the first cake I transported, but the cake DIDN'T even budge in the back. And then there was my Repunzel cake that Jeremy and I had transport. There would be NO way that I would have made it with the cake staying in tact in my truck. Because we had a hard enough time in the Sienna. *Sidenote* Jeremy's office is located on an old Cobblestone street in the city. I literally have to slow down to 5 MPH in the truck because it bounces so badly. So I thought I would head on down there in the Sienna to try it out. Yes, I slowed down to about 20 MPH but DIDN'T feel hardly anything!
So I definitely NEED Toyota to sponsor me with a Sienna for Sweet Top Cakery! Right? Pretty Please, with some buttercream on top?
- The Remote Sliding Doors. Again, I know this is not the newest technology, but it is for me. The opening of the side doors didn't really do much for me until, on one of the last days I had my Swagger Wagon, it was raining pretty heavily. Then it dawned on my, I can open the doors from my porch and let the kids run in, all without me having to stand in the rain while opening one door then running around to the other side. Then the coolness of remote sliding doors totally made sense. And because of my previous point about how roomy it was, after the kids ran to the van and got in, I ran and got in the back, closed the door and was able to get them strapped in to their seats without getting drenched. Life with preschoolers was very good that day!
- Poor Jeremy, Evan and I had some fun with the hands-free phone (blue tooth), voice activated. I could call from my phone (which by the way getting my phone set up with the Sienna = SUPER EASY!) and Evan could talk to daddy whenever he wanted. And let's just say, he wanted to talk with Daddy a lot that week. I didn't even have to pick up my phone at all while I was driving! Again, AWESOME!
Let me just finish by saying, that I was a wee bit skeptical about how much easier it would be traveling with kids in a mini van. Jeremy and I purchased the 4Runner knowing that I would be hauling kids in there. And I haven't minded doing so. It is much easier for me to haul the kids in the 4Runner than it is in the Passat. After all, it's taller so I don't have to bend over to get the kids in and out, and it has the storage in the back for strollers and bikes. But I have to say, that life transporting preschoolers in the Sienna has been 100% easier than in my 4Runner. Besides the fact that the kids could get in and out easily, I was able to pick up Evan's friends and take them all to a play date, which I CAN NOT do in the 4Runner. So pretty much, I am reevaluating our budget to see how we can start saving for one. I may not get one for a year or two but trust me, it is now on my list of things to save for!! I may become a "mini van driving soccer mom" after all!
So do you have a Swagger Wagon? If so, let me know what your favorite features are (regardless of the year)...