2004 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.3L V6 from North America
I hate minivans, but fell in love with this one!!
After purchase we realized that both of the front heated seats did not heat up (common problem with these models, and Toyota wants $1,000 Canadian plus installation per seat for updated parts). I replaced the heaters with after market parts - $650 for both seats (installed).
4 new disc brakes prior to purchase, but the steering wheel still shakes when braking from higher speeds (apparently it's a common problem on these models). It is not very evident.
4 new tires prior to purchase.
New windshield prior to purchase.
We own a Honda Accord and CR-V, which are fine for a family with three kids, but now that we have a fourth child on the way, we needed a bigger vehicle for family trips.
The car was purchased with many kilometers on it, but one would never notice judging from its condition. The paint is perfect with no scratches and rust, the engine and 5 speed transmission are smooth, the suspension is quiet and compliant, and the interior is almost immaculate.
The only two things wrong with the interior are that the leather seat on the driver's side has some wear and cracks on the side (probably from entering and exiting the vehicle), and the dashboard has a small crack near the bottom of the windshield (this one kind of surprised me as I have owned many Hondas and Toyotas and never had dashboard cracks).
I am a person who likes a low car with good handling characteristics. Obviously a van is not designed for that, but I am surprised with how well it holds the road when I do push it. Although it does lean, it feels confident on the road and in the corners (in snow, wet, and dry weather).
The steering is soft and over boosted, but has good feedback.
The suspension is soft but not floaty. It is very comfortable.
The interior is quiet, but there is noticeable tire noise even without run flat tires. I hear less tire noise in my Accord.
The interior design is well thought out! There are storage compartments everywhere and way too many cup holders! The seats are comfortable but not supportive for spirited driving. They are great for long trips though. Every button is laid out in an easy to reach location. The design has aged well and still looks modern.
There is tons of space for six people and still enough in the 'trunk' area for a large stroller and groceries.
The 2nd row flip up and remove seats and the stow and go 3rd row seats are easy to use, relatively light, and open up a huge space for hauling materials.
The seat belts and their connectors are well placed and easy for our kids to buckle themselves.
Overall it is a fantastic vehicle for hauling the family!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th March, 2016
13th Mar 2016, 21:44
I wrote the original review and forgot to add the side curtain airbags that come standard on the XLE model. Equipped with these airbags, the Sienna gets a 5 star safety rating in all collisions. It's a great piece of mind! When searching for a van, I was cross shopping it with the Honda Odyssey, and although the Honda drove and felt more sporty, I did not want to deal with Honda's faulty transmissions that fail prematurely and are costly to fix. And it also did not score as well on the safety side.
One interior gripe I have is the rear heating and A/C system controls. They are located above the left sliding door and are very hard to reach and operate from the driver's seat. Our kids are too small to reach it themselves. One saving grace is the synchronize button on the dash that synchronizes the front and rear.