You've seen them at LAX, been stuck fast behind them driving slowly in the fast lane and waited impatiently as what seems like a gazillion kids stream out of them outside school early in the morning, usually just after that first jolt of coffee seriously scalded the roof of your mouth.
Aggravating? Yes. So just when did piloting a people-mover, carrier or ferrier become socially acceptable? The answer I believe lies in Toyota's outstanding - yes, outstanding - Sienna that I loved driving for reasons that will soon become all too clear.
Step into its enormous 19-seater cabin - I jest - and you realize it comes fully furnished in quality leather front and back (and back and back further into its third row), which gives a glorious feeling of luxury alongside power-open and close side and back doors.
There's no yanking open the heavy side gates, here, no LAX moment when, as if heavy luggage and cramped seating hadn't further herniated the spine, a final pull on a locked side-door turned out to be the straw that broke the air traveller's ailing back.
Just pull the handle out a touch and the door springs open. Well, it takes about 10 seconds, but by then you've hopped into the front seat to depart with, presumably, a gazillion children sitting amid heavy luggage in the back.
Take-off is, and I couldn't believe this, swift and refined and apart from the car's obvious heft resembled, and this isn't a stretch, that of a Camry. How? Who knows, but it's damn good.
Seeing as it's my job to know these things, here's why: it's built on the Camry platform (the one a noted Bentley engineer labeled 'bloody perfect' in our review a couple months back); the engine's been expanded from 3 liters to 3.3; it now comes in all-wheel-drive; produces more than 300Nm in low-rev torque; it'll do 0-60mph in 7.4 seconds; yowzer.
Its ride is similarly uplifting with none of the sway or tilt or roll that frequently affects competitors in its class, it's surprisingly nimble in traffic and easy to pilot in tight car parks, although parking a beast of these dimensions 200 inches long by 77.4 wide is made a whole lot easier by its under 37ft turning circle and the car's rear-sensing system - thoroughly proper considering someone's really gonna be upset if one of those gazillion kids doesn't come home from school.
Fuel economy is good, a major consideration reasoning how much these will be ferried on trips to school twice daily to ball or ballet practice then picking up the kids when they're drunk at night maybe when they're a bit older, perhaps about senior year in college is good at 26 and 19 highway and town respectively.
Safety: there's four-wheel ABS, vital seeing the load-weights this already curbweighted 4140 pounder: several years ago I took a Ford minivan to France from the UK to pick up the entire load of fine Burgundy wine for a wedding party-type occasion, meanwhile ferrying five people for a gorgeous weekend south through Paris near Charolais. And if you think some come pretty loaded back from a trip to Paso Robles or the like - though not the driver, obviously - you'd be right (cheers!). Spacewise is also perfect for a surfboard or two and some camping gear.
Necessary again, these loads are distributed through its independent front strut suspension with stabilizer bar and coil springs fore and aft. Otherwise, Toyota's reputation for safety and myriad airbags in all the right places goes ahead of it.
Options on top of the base model's base price of $23,925 all the way up through seven models to the high-end loaded XLE for $29,725 include dual-zone climate control, tinted windows, ten speakers plus woofer in the back, DVD player, sat nav, leather heated seats, and the list goes on and on (MSRP runs from mid 24s to mid-35s).
So jump into the Sienna confident that in a cluttered field of people movers and carriers, the Toyota is one in a million. One in a gazillion, even.