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The 2014 Toyota Sienna is already recognized as one of the most versatile, family-friendly vehicles on the market. Now, the Sienna minivan is gathering even more acclaim after recently being named one of the “12 Best Family Cars” for 2014 by Kelly Blue Book’s KBB.com.
With so much to love about the 2014 Sienna, it’s no wonder KBB.com editors were so impressed. In particular, praise has been given to the Sienna’s attention to family comfort. And with more varied configurations than any other minivan on the market, the trusted folks at KBB.com view the Sienna as “the perfect family-car for more than 100,000 families each year.”
And while awards are great, what makes KBB.com’s recognition truly special is the input actual families have had in the process. The “Best Family Cars 2014” was compiled by recruiting families to assist nine Kelley Blue Book editors in comparison testing of eligible vehicles after editors narrowed more than 300 vehicles down to 21 semi-finalists. Testing focused on areas of safety, comfort, driving performance, room for child seats, cargo space, rear-seat entertainment, and other family-friendly features, with the final goal to determine the “most functional new cars for families.”
Without a doubt the 2014 Toyota Sienna truly puts the “fun” in functional. With a number of trims to choose from, including base L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited, drivers would be hard pressed to find a Sienna that doesn’t meet their needs.
So, if you’re looking for a versatile minivan that will please the entire family, be sure to contact your local Toyota dealer and schedule a test drive today!
When drivers have needed a comfortable and spacious van for transporting family, cargo, pets, and just about anything else, the Toyota Sienna has been an increasingly attractive choice. The 2014 Toyota Sienna continues in this legacy, carrying over last year’s body shape with some impressive new additions.
The Toyota Sienna seats seven or eight passengers in comfort (depending on your option selections) and is available with all-wheel drive—the sole choice for the latter among 2014 minivans. Several trim levels and various package options are offered, enabling families to design this vehicle to their liking. The Toyota Sienna is sold in L, LE, SE, XLE, and Limited trim levels, with many different package options to choose from.
Toyota has a style all its own, so it’s no surprise that the Sienna offers its own take on the traditional minivan body structure. Leading edges are rounded, the grille is curved, the hood is creased, and the rear end features a spoiler located directly above the power liftgate. Projector beam halogen headlamps, LED brake and stop lights, 17-19 inch alloy wheels (depending on trim level), available color-keyed side mirrors, and optional roof rails are among the many visual cues of the Sienna’s exterior.
Engines and Transmissions
The standard Sienna engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that is rated at 266 horsepower and provides 245 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and is EPA rated at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway.* in keeping with Toyota’s green philosophy, the Sienna also boasts an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV-II) rating.
The Toyota Sienna offers a wide array of cabin features across its four trim levels. Every Sienna model includes captain’s chairs for the driver and front passenger, featuring fabric surfaces in the L and LE models, leatherette in the SE, and leather with the XLE edition. Second-and-third row seating parallels each trim level’s fabric choice.
All Sienna models include a cargo area storage compartment, center floor tray, a bi-level glove compartment with locking lower level, and front and rear door map pockets. Also standard are three 12-volt power outlets, retractable assist grips, remote keyless entry, and power windows and door locks. For 2014, the tow prep package now comes standard so you can tackle even more challenges.
A tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel is standard with the Sienna. On the LE edition, an overhead console with map lights, side door controls, a conversation mirror, and a sun glass holder is available as part of a package. This feature is standard on the SE and XLE models, which also add liftgate controls.
The Sienna’s center stack is laid out with audio and climate controls, but has many upgrade possibilities depending on trim level or package options selected. The standard audio package found on the L includes a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. LE, SE, and XLE add a USB port with iPod connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and two additional speakers. Entune, Toyota’s navigation system with XM Radio and Bluetooth connectivity, is also available as part of a package.
Individual options and packages are available to help supplement your Sienna. This year, SE drivers can choose the available blind spot monitoring system as an individual option—this was previously available only as part of a package. The SE Premium Package with Entune® App Suite, the Entertainment Package, and the XLE Navigation Package with Entune® App Suite are a few of the other available options.
Convenience and advanced technology packages are also available, offering amenities including high intensity discharge headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, dynamic radar cruise control, a pre-collision warning system, and hill start assist.
Numerous safety features are offered with every Toyota Sienna sold, including Toyota’s Star Safety System™. This package includes vehicle stability control, traction control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, and brake assist. Sienna models include driver and front passenger airbags, driver and front passenger seat- mounted side airbags, three-row side curtain airbags, and a driver’s knee airbag. Driver and front passenger active head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system, and child protector rear door locks are also included.
*2014 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary.
Saturday, April 26, 2014 | 1 to 5 p.m.
Ask a Technician: What are the Differences Between Rear-Wheel Drive, Front-Wheel Drive, 4WD, and AWD?
The differences between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are well established, but not so the differences between all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD), as many automakers tend to blur the difference. So here’s a quick rundown on which drivetrain is which.
Front-wheel drive is relatively simple, as the engine is usually mounted across the nose of the car (transverse mounted). This allows the drive shafts to transmit power directly to the front wheels, which are obviously also the wheels that steer. Front-wheel drive is attractive to automakers as it creates more room inside the car (due to the lack of a transmission tunnel) and also is usually cheaper because fewer components are required. Front-wheel drive is also handy in slippery road conditions, as the weight of the engine presses down on the front tires to make them grip better.
Rear-wheel drive is usually built around an engine that is mounted in line with the car (longitudinal mounted), and the rear wheels are connected to the engine through a driveshaft that runs the length of the car. The advantages to rear-wheel drive are better steering response, and the ability to spread the loads of a car across all four tires (while front-wheel drive cars have to handle the tasks of both steering and pulling the car at the same time.)
Many car makers have 4WD systems that are not four-wheel drive all the time, but can be used in low-traction situations to send power to the front or rear wheels (whichever are not being used at the time). Part-time 4WDs typically have a locking transfer case that activates when the system is engaged. This then locks the front and rear wheel differentials together so the same amount of power is sent to them. This sort of four-wheel drive system cannot be used on road, because the result is transmission windup when all four tires are trying to rotate at the same speed.
AWD is most often used to describe a system where all the wheels have power sent to them all the time. This involves an extra differential between the front and rear wheels so that variable amounts of power can be sent to the wheels. If you didn’t have a center differential the power sent to the front and rear wheels force the wheels to rotate at the same speed and put pressure on the transmission system (also called transmission windup).
To summarize, front-wheel drive is popular because it allows extra space inside the vehicle and good traction in slippery conditions, while rear-wheel drive allows greater power outputs and better steering. AWD is a user friendly system that ensures that all wheels are driven all the time for best traction, part-time 4WD is an automatic system that activates power to all wheels when required, and full-time 4WD (along with some AWD systems) is used mostly for vehicles that regularly drive off-road.
Earth Day is celebrated every April 22, the start of the spring season. This annual celebration originated with the goal of educating Americans about environmental conservation, but today it’s celebrated around the world. Earth Day honors the various achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness about growing and changing environmental concerns. Having a day devoted to environmental awareness is important, but it’s what’s done on a daily basis that really makes a difference. If you want to do your part to protect the environment, start with these 10 tips to make every day Earth Day.
1. Recycle. Recycling is second nature in some households, but many homes and businesses across the U.S. have yet to begin or fully take advantage of this basic environmental practice. If you’re not already doing so, create bins to separate your glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, and other recyclables. Many neighborhoods offer recycling pick-up services, or you may need to bag up your recycling and drive it to a local recycling center. Some centers even pay for your aluminum.
2. Air seal your home. Air sealing your home is one of many ways you can save energy every day. A simple part of weatherizing your home, air sealing involves "plugging" any places where air can get in or out of your home, typically with insulation. Because air sealing helps save energy, you won’t just help the environment; you’ll also reduce your utility bill.
3. Adjust the thermostat. Everyone wants their home to be comfortable, but heating and cooling costs are among the highest energy expenditures in most homes. Because of this, dialing up or down by just one or two degrees can make a big different in your energy usage and your utility bill. Most likely you won’t even notice the difference, but if you do, try using more blankets or adjusting your clothing.
4. Turn on the fan. If dialing up the thermostat has left you feeling a little stifled, try utilizing a fan or ceiling fan. Fans use much less energy than central air because they focus on a smaller area, but they can make the air around you feel several degrees cooler.
5. Close empty rooms. If some rooms in your home aren’t regularly used, such as the rooms of kids who’ve gone off to college, you’re wasting energy by keeping them heated or cooled. Shut the doors and close the vents to save energy.
6. Take advantage of the sun. Solar panels are one way to harness the sun’s energy, but you don’t have to undergo the expense of installing them in order to take advantage of the sun. Harness the sun and save energy by keeping your shades open during the winter to let the sun’s rays help heat your home. Or, any time of year, turn the lights out during the day and open the shades to utilize the natural light.
7. Cook smarter. You can save energy and make every day Earth Day by cooking smarter. When cooking on the stove top, using lids on pots keeps heat from escaping and reduces cooking time. When using the oven, save energy by cooking together those foods with similar temperature requirements. Cooking in bulk and refrigerating or freezing leftovers can also save energy and money.
8. Be a better dishwasher. If you have a dishwasher, you’ll save energy if you always wait until it’s full to run it. You might also designate at least a few nights a week as "hand washing" nights, when your family washes dishes by hand to save energy. Either way, always aim to use as little hot water as possible when washing dishes.
9. Laundry tips. Unfortunately, laundry is a household task you can’t avoid, but you can save energy by using cold-water detergent, always doing full loads of laundry, and air-drying your clothes whenever possible.
10. Get your community involved. The preceding tips focus on ways to make every day Earth Day in your home, but you don’t have to stop with your household. Earth Day is all about education, so starting neighborhood or community awareness groups to tackle important area environmental concerns is a great way to make every day Earth Day.
If there’s one thing more depressing than the end of summer, it’s suffering from the effects of too much sun. Luckily, unlike the inevitability of the end of summer, the ill effects of too much sun can be prevented. Knowing about sunscreen's different SPF strengths will help.
What is SPF? Quite a few sun lovers believe that SPF is an abbreviation for a multi-syllabic word containing the names of chemical compounds that only the guy you copied off of in chemistry can pronounce. That guy could tell you that SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and that it's the universal measurement of protection against ultra violet rays from the sun.
What does SPF measure exactly? The SPF number measures how much more radiation would be required to cause a sunburn on skin protected by sunscreen than on skin not protected by sunscreen. Before you run to that guy in chemistry class, check out this example that sheds (sun)light on the explanation: An SPF 15 sunscreen protects your skin from 15 times the amount of ultraviolet rays than if you weren't wearing any sunscreen. An SPF 10 sunscreen protects your skin from 10 times the amount of ultraviolet rays than if you weren't wearing any sunscreen.
Can you always rely on SPF for protection against the sun? Because SPF measures the effectiveness of sunscreen as compared to unprotected skin, it is dependent on other factors as well. These factors include the time of day, geographic location, sun sensitivity, and weather conditions. Just because SPF 20 worked well at the baseball game doesn't mean it will do an adequate job while hiking in the mountains.
Are SPF numbers proportional to protection from the sun? A logical mind might deduce that SPF 20 would offer twice the protection as SPF 10. In this case, the logical mind would be wrong. An SPF 2 sunscreen, for example, absorbs 50% of ultraviolet rays. An SPF 15 sunscreen absorbs 93% of ultraviolet rays. An SPF 34 absorbs 97% of ultraviolet rays. Now it's time to talk to that smart guy in your chemistry class to explain why this is.
Is there an ideal sunscreen SPF? The ideal SPF depends on many factors, including individual skin type. The general recommendation from the American Melanoma Foundation is to use at least an SPF 15 sunscreen any time you'll be out and about for 20 minutes or more.
What environmental conditions should be considered? Sand and especially snow are great reflectors of sunlight—if you don't believe it, just ask your goggle-wearing ski buddies with raccoon eyes. 80 percent of ultraviolet rays pass through the clouds, so don't assume you're safe on cloudy days. And hikers beware: Ultraviolet radiation increases four percent for every 1,000 feet of elevation.
So what are you waiting for? Slap on the sunscreen and get going!
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