Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'll be Sienna tomorrow

My husband and I recently bought a seven passenger 2007 Toyota Sienna CE. It wasn't intentional. We meant to buy a 2006 Sienna since they were pretty much on clearance and also had a cash back offer. We wanted the CE with Option Package #1 (basically includes cruise control). The dealership we went to had the perfect van: good color, right price, seven seats (my husband didn't want the eight passenger). Got ready to deal and found to our surprise (and the salesman's) that it was a 2007 which meant no cash back. (What, we have 2007s?) Eventually, the salesman made us a deal we couldn't refuse. My husband was the best negotiator, he just looked like he wanted to leave and forget the whole thing and the dealer would drop the price again.

So here's my review/thoughts of the 2007 Toyota Sienna CE:

  • Looks- I like the way it looks. My husband thinks it looks ugly. I wonder if Toyota styled it to appeal more to women since it seems to me women would be more likely to be pushing the purchase of a minivan.
  • Big engine - the engine is bigger than the 2006. I like the power it has (at least compared to my 2000 Honda Civic).
  • I like the lay down seats in the back, although I haven't yet had occasion to use them.
  • The gear shift (don't know what else to call it) is on the dash and in a funny pattern. I used to think it is weird, but now I like it. My civic lets you pull straight down to shift gears and occasionally I would end up in Neutral or 4 instead of regular drive. Since each of the gears is in a different place on the Sienna, this doesn't happen
  • The doors lock when the car is taken out of park and unlock when it is put into park. I can think of situations where I wouldn't want this behavior, but right now I'm finding it really convenient.
  • Day time running lights - The Sienna CE doesn't come with this option by default, but with some simple work, my husband made them work.
  • Cruise Control - I found the cruise control a little weird to work, but I got used to it and like having it.
  • Air bags everywhere. Have to be careful that people don't rest their heads against the side of the car while riding since the side air bags will deploy and could hurt them if they do.
  • Door lights that come on to light the door way.
  • Front seats are very comfortable.
  • Plenty of cupholders and storage areas. Couldn't find a good place to put my maps though. Toyota probably assumes everyone uses one of those GPS based systems these days.
  • The thing is a boat. It is huge. It drives well and is very maneuverable, but still... My one advantage is that I have no clue how big a car really is. This means that entire time I was driving my Civic, I thought it was as wide as a minivan, so driving an actual minivan isn't that much of a change :) I think it stems from having a Chevy Impala as my first car as a teenager.
  • Visibility - it is a little hard to see out the back window when backing up. I've come to depend a lot more on the side view mirrors. Maybe this is the same in all minivans, I don't know.
  • Gas mileage - coming from a Honda Civic (got 30-something), getting 22 mi/gal isn't that great. It is good for a minivan though.
  • My 2-year-old can't get into his carseat by himself when the seat is in the middle row. I have to lift him in. He could manage the back row OK I think, but I don't want to have to get back there to buckle him in.
  • The one door makes a dragging sound when it is closed. I need to look at it and see if something is dragging that shouldn't be.
  • The breaks have seemed to grind a few times, I'll keep an eye on this, but I'm not too concerned.
All in all, I like the minivan. I think it is fun to drive and I like being able to invite friends to go places with me now.

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