When you first climb into the recently redesigned Toyota Sienna minivan the first thing you notice is that you are now in a living room with all of the furnishings.
I’m joking, but in all honesty: it does seem like Toyota and Wayfair had a meeting of the minds. I don’t normally take pictures with my phone to demonstrate something but the center console and interior decor of the Sienna is so eye-catching, I wanted to snap some shots.
What you’re looking at is the most elegant center console I’ve seen in any car. It would have to be a minivan. Although they’ve been the staple of family transportation for several eons now, the trendier SUB and crossover models have taken over the spotlight. It’s actually a bit of a shame because a minivan like the new Sienna is spacious, drives sooth, has all of the technology you’d ever need, and yet has enough seats and cargo space to make everyone happy.
Let’s start with all of those cup holders. In my family, we’re all adults which means everyone has a water bottle or coffee when we drive. I never ran out of space for mine. I also really liked the cubby hole beneath the main console, which is roomy enough for an entire laptop bag. I would like to try doing that in a crossover sometime soon. It won’t work.
That wood looks even better in person than you can see in the photo. (Thank the iPhone 11 for the smooth and clear photo, it makes me want to slide into that passenger seat.) Next up is the compartment to your right elbow in the driver’s seat, which reveals another spacious holding area. In case you are wondering, I was able to fit an entire iPad in there.
Another perk has to do with phone charging. Just above the shifter so closer to the display is a compartment for charging your phone using Qi wireless charging. I was impressed because my iPhone stayed perfectly still even on a bumpy road in that holding area. Although I didn’t find that the Sienna let me connect using CarPlay over wireless like it does in the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer, it’s nice to be able to run the USB cable through a small hold and then into the center console as opposed to having wires running everywhere. I do that in my actual living room with an HDTV and tons of cords laying around already.
Toyota is essentially appealing to two main buyers with this console. For one, people who have kids and family and tend to have a lot of stuff. Now you have a place to stash everything. Secondly, people who like an elegant and appealing aesthetic. Functional necessities like phone charging and a laptop bin are great but we want things to look cool as well.
Props to Toyota for this new design…and for making the Sienna a mobile living room.