Toyota calls it “Driver Easy Speak,” but you’ll call it freakin’ genius.
If your car is equipped with Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls, then we know two things: It has a mic designed to pick up the driver’s voice, and it has speakers so you can hear the person you’re speaking to.
So why has no one has ever thought to use these same tools to amplify the driver’s voice instead of a caller’s voice?
Well, wonder no longer, as that’s exactly what Driver Easy Speak, an available option on Toyota’s 2015 Sienna minivan makes possible.
How will you use your new god-like ability to make your voice heard above all others in the vehicle? Probably to get the unruly rabble of teens and pre-teens in the back seats to just shut up for a moment so the person taking your drive-thru order can actually hear you.
Or maybe to insist that the Justin Bieber sing-along now come to an end since even the Biebs himself would be sick of his songs if he had to hear them on repeat 20 times in a row.
Of course, if you’ve got more commercial aspirations for your minivan, say as a cab driver or tour guide, the Driver Easy Speak system might be the perfect way for you to broadcast your thoughts to your passengers as you pass by yet another notable landmark.
The folks at Toyota are Beliebers too, apparently, as they position the attitude of prospective Sienna buyers thusly: “Today’s parents are embracing their life stage and those relatable family moments that make us laugh and feel connected.”
I’m not convinced that needing to amplify your voice above the voices of your family means you’re having a relatable family moment that will make you laugh or feel connected to anything but a growing sense of frustration and anger, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
In a clever PR move, Toyota has recruited the talents of “Convos with My 2-Year-Old” creator Matthew Clarke to film some new Sienna-specific versions of his popular formula, unsurprisingly labeled “Conversations with my Sienna.” They’re actually kinda funny.
The only question now is, how many dads will go full-airplane-pilot after starting up their Siennas and advise their passengers in that oh-so-confident-yet-relaxed voice to “Please raise your tray tables and return your seats to the upright position as we prepare for take-off?”