Firstly, just to be clear, it’s the minivan that’s cool, not me.
Secondly, I would like to apologize for my slightly misleading title. I am not yet an actual minivan mom, but -as much as I am fighting it- the countdown is on to the inevitable.
When I first found out I was having twins, I was kind of in shock. Actually, to say I was in shock would be the understatement of 2017. I laughed, I cried, I laughed and cried simultaneously and blubbered through my confused tears, “Oh my god, I need a new car.”
The Twin Factor //
My husband and I both drove smallish 4-door cars and, after much debate, we decided that I would actually keep my car to use with the car seats. It was the older of the two options (read: cheaper) with a more spacious interior. When his lease was up we would upgrade the fancy-man car to a mid-size SUV. I mean, we wouldn’t really need the space until twins were older, right? (Insert MAJOR eye roll here.)
What we didn’t account for was the car seats not fitting. Either of our cars. If you have one baby, it’s not so bad because then you are just dealing with a less than ideal front passenger space. Well, we never even considered what would happen putting in the second seat behind the driver. In order for the car seats to be installed properly, the front seats had to be moved up so far that it rendered our cars undrivable.
The twins arrived a month early aka before we got around to installing the seats. It was day 2 at the hospital when we realized they didn’t fit. So you can imagine that taking the twins home from the hospital was… an adventure. Four trips, one emergency babysitting call to my sister, and a $60 parking ticket later, we managed to get all of us home safe and sound. It only took 2 hours. (We live 3km from the hospital.)
After that, my mother-in-law was kind enough to loan us her large SUV. It was the only vehicle among all our family members that would fit both car seats. Since then, we have gotten rid of my car and my rented parking space. We need more space, plain and simple.
My Dream Vehicle by Age //
Let’s face it, no one starts out in life dreaming about the day they get to saddle up in a so-called unglamorous practical family vehicle. Even though I know we need a bigger car, I am reluctant to jump straight from my good ol’ reliable golf-cart into a minivan. In fact, my list of dream cars from pre-school to now looks like this:
Preschool Kelsi: She-Ra or Thundercat Powerwheels
Elementary School Kelsi: Tiny European Sports Car (my mom drove one and I was obsessed)
High School Kelsi: Lara Croft’s Expedition Vehicle
University Kelsi: James Bond’s Car (specifically the one they destroy in Casino Royale…so painful to watch)
Post-University Kelsi: Back to the Tiny European (Convertible) Sports Car
First Job Kelsi: Adorable 2-Door Hatchback (Still holding out hope for the Bond car)
Expecting Twins Kelsi: Anything We Can Afford that Fits 2 Rear-Facing Car Seats
Even though a few of those are weirdly sensible, you’ll notice that even at the expectant-mom stage a minivan did not make the list.
Looking back, what on earth was I afraid of?
My dad had a minivan, once. It had those killer automatic side doors (LOL), enough space for two kids, enough sporting equipment for three soccer teams, a dog, and one of those old portable 13″ TVs with the VCR attached to the bottom (80’s babies, you know the one) so we could watch VHS movies en route to a tournament. It was pretty darn cool, at the time. It, however, had nothing on what constitutes a cool minivan now. Parents and kids of 2018 should consider themselves hella lucky.
The Toyota Sienna //
Earlier this month, thanks to the wonderful people at YMC and Toyota Canada, I got to test drive a fully loaded Toyota Sienna (in Salsa Red Pearl) for one week. And people, let me tell you, this van is badass. Not, “Badass…for a minivan.” 100% Badass for any type of vehicle. Not only did this van fit our car seats, it fit our stroller, 3 boxes of diapers, 2 sets of golf clubs, diaper bag, changing station, snacks (so many snacks), mommy’s backpack, daddy’s work bag, and two suitcases all with room to spare … and that was just us going to stay at my in-laws for a week.
Key Safety Features
There are so many key safety features with the Toyota Sienna, the majority of which are standard. Yes, standard. Meaning, you don’t have to shell out thousands of extra dollars to ensure your family’s safety. I mean, this thing has:
- All-Wheel Drive. Actually is the only minivan in Canada equipped with AWD
- Toyota Safety Sense which includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, steering assist (it corrects you back into your lane if you drift without signaling)
- Bird’s Eye View Monitor so you can see above and all around your vehicle for potential hazards.
- Toyota’s Star Safety System which includes 6 active safety features that work together to help drivers avoid potential accidents.
- 8 Standard Air Bags.
- Back-Up Camera which took a little bit to get used to because my old car was not nearly this fancy but man does it come in handy especially in parking lots.
The features I used most were the Steering Assist and the Bird’s Eye View Monitor. These two things will give you so much peace of mind to Toronto families when driving the city’s most notorious places: the 401 and the parking lot at Yorkdale mall.
Key Fun Features
Safety features are awesome, and a huge driving factor –pun intended– when purchasing a family vehicle… but let’s be real; it’s way more fun to talk about the flashy stuff.
- Easy Speak so you don’t have to yell at your kids causing s*** in the backseat. You can
bribelecture them through this nifty microphone instead.
- Dual Powered Moon Roof. And a sunroof. It’s a party in the front AND a party in the back. (That was an ill-executed mullet joke. Sigh. I need to get out more.)
- Dual-View Blu Ray System with at 16.4″ screen so you can either watch a movie widescreen or play a game SPLIT SCREEN. And there are wireless headphones. My god, I wish I had a dual screen and wireless earmuffs in my condo, nevermind the van. That alone is made for twins.
- Beige Leather Seats Just kidding, no mom would ever think these are fun, lol. While this car was gorgeous and PRISTINE, I have no illusions that I would ever order a light-coloured interior on a vehicle before my kids turned 25. But they did photograph wonderfully.
We had an absolute blast driving this hot tamale around suburbia for a week. The features are amazing, and the design detail is pretty incredible.
The 2018 Toyota Sienna truly is the minivan for modern mamas.
I can 100% see myself being a minivan mama if this is the kind of van I get to captain. It’s an incredibly quiet and smooth drive, even with the twins in the back! That’s a little mom joke for you to end on. All jokes aside, the 2018 Toyota Sienna truly is the minivan for modern mamas.
(But seriously though, I absolutely drove this sucker to the mall and had taco bell and a coffee alone and in peace. Click here if you want to read up on the 2018 Toyota Sienna.)
So, tell me, mamas: Are you part of minivan nation? Do you love your van? Tell me all the things minivan related!!
*Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Toyota and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.