I was excited to work with Toyota who sent me on a press trip, provided flight, accommodations, meals, and activities to see the mid-run updates at their Family Reunion event.
A couple of weeks ago, I was not in all this snow, and I was actually basking in the sun in Jacksonville Florida. What a change in weather . . . wow!
Previously, I shared my thoughts on the updated Toyota Camry and how it may work out for your family. Now I would like to share some insight about a couple of other mid-run updates by Toyota, the Sienna and the Yaris.
Last year we had a chance to have an extended experience with the Toyota Sienna, and it was wonderful. Toyota calls it the “Original Swagger Wagon” and I couldn’t agree more. The kids and Tésa love this minivan; the only person who loved it more than them, was me! This is the ultimate Dad-Mobile. For 2015, it’s difficult to believe, but they actually improved this stunning vehicle.
The Sienna is targeted towards young active parents involved in their kid’s lives. The updates for the Sienna are primarily on the interior, but there are some tweaks to the exterior of the Swagger Wagon as well. There is a new grille, new headlights, the antennae is gone and now in the glass and overall it just has a sleeker appearance.
The interior is where the fun takes place. For 2015 the Sienna is more luxurious and more stylish. Newer materials and insulation provide a classier interior appearance as well as a 20% reduction in sound. The only minor complaint we had about the Sienna last year was corrected. The center stack was condensed and the HVAC controls are located closer and in a much more convenient location. There are more airbags for safety, and don’t forget about room for a small army inside!
Now for the upgrades that families and techies will find most impressive. The Sienna is big, we joked that when the kids sat in the last row that they were in a different area code. Often they “couldn’t hear us” or maybe they ignored us, we will never know for sure, but the new Toyota Sienna has the Easy Speak microphone. Easy Speak uses the Sienna’s built in microphone to amplify the parents voices so there is no excuse for the kids to not hear you. In addition to the Easy Speak, a backup camera is standard with all models and select models have a huge 16.4 screen with a blue ray player. There are 4 different audio options and the new Entune App Suite will provide plenty of musical options with I “Heart” Radio, Pandora, Yelp and more.
This year’s Swagger Wagon does not disappoint, and neither does the other vehicle at the Toyota Family Reunion, the economical Yaris. The 2015 Yaris is the best value car for cost and operational costs, and it is overall just a fun car to zip around in. The Yaris combines a European flavor with their popular ‘Sporty Hatch.” The Yaris updates give the car a “widened” feel, and when you add in the Entune Audio system and 6.1 inch touch screen, I had a hard time remembering that we were driving around a smaller and economical car.
The pickup was sufficient, and overall the Yaris is a perfect car for the cost conscience individual. The backseat is small but comfortable, as you would expect in a subcompact. However, you could fit a car seat back there pretty easily and kids could fit back there pretty easily as well, adults may feel a bit tight, but it is surprisingly roomy. This is something you will gladly deal with to get up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway in a car starting at $14,845.
The Sienna and Yaris are 2 totally different cars, one is big, one is small . . . and so on and so on. The constant with both vehicles is the Toyota brand which is committed to the customer. Check out these cars and everything else Toyota has to offer and you will see why Toyota considers their most important car to be the one in your driveway.