1999 Toyota Sienna LE 3.3L V6 from North America
A good, but not great minivan choice
The plastic clip for the hood support rod broke around 20,000 miles and the dealer replace it under warranty.
A seatbelt seatbelt tensioner on one of the rear seats jammed and I had to replace the entire seatbelt ($130 and 4 hours of my labor).
The spare tire hoist broke the first time I used it ($150 and 20 minutes of my labor).
The driver's side sliding door often cannot be opened from the inside and sometimes can't be opened from the outside either. It's been driving us batty for three years because the dealer can't figure out what's wrong. They suggested that replacing the door lock mechanism (est. $200) might help.
The brakes need periodic adjustment to prevent a faint grinding noise that makes my hair stand on end.
The front tires wear exceptionally fast. We replaced all four tires at 20K and 45K miles. I no longer rotate the tires, and I've gotten almost 30K miles out of the third set.
No sludge or transmission problems so far.
I also have a 1992 Dodge Grand Caravan with 150K miles and its performance and reliability compare favorably with my Sienna. I considered buying another Caravan, but the Sienna had the best crash test performance of any minivan back in 1999. The Sienna is a good vehicle; it drives like a car and is very comfortable. It has some blind spots for seeing vehicles to the left and right, just behind its rear end. The smallish rear windshield wiper is nearly useless because it only wipes a peephole in the rear window. Our Sienna has the towing package option, and we use the Sienna to pull our 3500 lb boat and trailer. The receiver hitch is too low (Toyota builds the Camry and Avalon on the same chassis and the Sienna pays the price in low ground clearance), but the Sienna does a great job pulling and stopping the boat. This is my first Toyota and I've found that they are expensive to repair when compared to domestic brands. Even the aftermarket parts are expensive. (One time when I bought Fram air filters for my Caravan ($4) and Sienna ($14), I complained about the significantly higher price for the Sienna's filter. The manager of the parts place said "Hey, all we have to do is beat the Toyota dealer's price!" He was right. The dealer recently charged me $18 for an air filter and $10 each for spark plugs.)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 27th July, 2004
29th Apr 2007, 23:42
The lubricant in the door mechanism was faulty in my 2000 Sienna. It gummed up on the drivers side door and the door did not open and close well. The fix - I pulled the interior panel off and just sprayed a whole lot of WD40 on everything. Now it works like new.
It is really sad that Toyota does not do a recall if more people are having this problem. It is obviously just a bad batch of grease with a very cheap fix.
25th Apr 2009, 15:15
Regarding the spare tire hoist, ditto with our 2006 Sienna. It appears this is a problem that has been around for quite a while, and hasn't been solved.