It is a common and frustrating reality that the smart option is often not the desired option. As the Road Show points out, sometimes a minivan is just plain better than that SUV you’ve been eyeing.
As an example, the video reviews the Toyota Sienna’s many advantages over its top-tier competitors.
The most important being fuel economy. Only available as a hybrid, the Sienna is much more efficient than the average SUV. But even against a hybrid like the Ford Explorer Hybrid, it shows economic power.
Even in its less efficient AWD layout, the Sienna easily outperforms the Explorer. But in the form of front-wheel drive, it gets nearly 10 miles per gallon more in any scenario.
That’s pretty good, especially considering it beats an Escalade ESV in the cargo area behind the second and third rows. Of course, it can’t compete with the Caddy for overall space, but the big SUV is 23 inches taller than the Toyota.
Notice the Sienna gets some help in the freight run, as its second row seats move forward and backward by up to 25 inches. That means Toyota designers could fit comfort features worthy of a recliner into the van. All of this makes it a remarkably comfortable roadtripper.
There are some drawbacks to the Sienna, however. Its drivetrain means you’re stuck with a CVT transmission and pretty uninspiring performance. Plus, it can only tow 3,500 lbs, whereas SUVs of similar size tend to be able to tow over 5,000 lbs.
In most scenarios, however, the Sienna easily beats the bigger competition. It might not be as appealing or popular, but will you really care about getting your feet up and lying down like you’re in business class?