Toyota Sienna 'Driver Easy Speak' feature now lets parents yell at unruly kids without raising voice (Video)


That moment, when a room reverberating with side-chatter is quieted by a couple of taps on a mic and an "ahem," will be offered to moms and dads seeking to speak above the backseat rabble when Toyota releases its Driver Easy Speak feature in its 2015 Sienna.

The optional Driver Easy Speak system features a microphone that will pass along driver vocalizations through the 2015 Sienna's speaker system and, while unconfirmed, should logically feature an audio ducking mechanism -- audio ducking is an audio effect that lowers the volume of one audio stream in favor of another, usually entailing music giving way to a microphone.

A conversation mirror will accompany the 2015 Sienna's microphone system, enabling the driver to check in on the backseat play-by-plays without craning his or her neck around to do so.

Unrelated to in-van moderation, the 2015 Sienna features a slew of other features implemented to make life on the road a little easier for families. Toyota made a panoramic backup camera standard for its 2015 Sienna, upped the airbag count to eight, expanded the sizes of passenger air bags and increased it's child-seat LATCH locations from three to four.

While the 2015 Sienna won't improve on the 2014 version's solid drivetrain, Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at, said features such as the ones offered in Toyota's latest minivan are being employed by automakers to polish the tarnished luster of the vehicle class.

"I think they're on the right lines of trying to find these features that people are going to talk about," said Caldwell.

To get people talking about the latest version of the Sienna, Toyota debuted the minivan via an online ad campaign. The automaker partnered with parents to release a series of YouTube videos, depicting the "everyday" lives of their families with the 2015 Sienna as their stage.

The campaign video composed by the "Eh Bees" depicted their family's first encounter with the 2015 Sienna, as the vehicle's features encourages them to whip together plans to take the minivan on a road trip.

"We loved goofing off in the Sienna and exploring the funny ways family vehicles fit into our daily lives," said Andres, patriarch of the Eh Bees. "Our videos embrace all the hilarity that comes with being a family in today's world, and the Sienna fit right into those stories."

Toyota brought the 2015 Sienna offline for a real-world showing in Baltimore, at the city's free Artscape festival. But Toyota said it planned to release more social video content to introduce its latest #SwaggerWagon minivan to the rest of the world.

Here's an "Action Movie Kid" clip, one of the custom videos Toyota used to introduce the Sienna in its online ad campaign.

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