2004 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.3L V6 from North America
The absolute finest minivan on the market today
We had trouble with a loose belt that caused a "squealing" noise when the air conditioner was turned on. This was easily corrected by the service department at the local Toyota dealer. They fixed it while I waited in the lobby.
In my opinion, the 2004 Toyota Sienna is truly the finest minivan on the market today. Toyota designers have thought of everything. The vehicle is extremely refined and offers a variety of features and comforts that rival minivans lack. Our XLE model came with heated leather seats, side-impact airbags on all three rows, DVD player with JBL Synthesis stereo system, 4-wheel disk brakes, traction control, vehicle skid control, separate automatic temperature controls for driver, passenger and rear cabin areas, and power mirrors, seats, windows, doors and locks.
The power doors, also available on Chrysler Town & Country and other competitor minivans, are extremely convenient when you're carrying a kid in one arm and a sack of groceries in another. With one push of a button on the remote keyless entry, you can open up either sliding side-door or the rear hatch without even laying a hand on the vehicle.
The automatic, "set-it-and-forget-it" climate control with three zones is wonderful. Our kids love the DVD player and wireless headsets, and my wife and I really appreciate the excellent drivability of the Sienna. It sits up almost as high as our SUV, but it handles like the famous Toyota Camry. The turning radius of this vehicle is amazing. I was backed into my driveway a few days ago to unload groceries from the rear cargo area and I was able to pull a u-turn in the residential street in front of my driveway and pull into my garage. My Nissan Maxima can't even do that.
The only place on the interior of this vehicle not protected by airbags is the rear cargo area. I truly feel that this is the safest vehicle on the road in its price range. If you're looking to purchase a minivan, be sure it has second and third row side-impact airbags. The price difference is worth it for the extreme increase in vehicle crash protection for your priceless children or passengers in the second and third rows.
My only complaint about the Sienna is that the JBL Synthesis stereo system fell far short of my expectations. It has a somewhat "tinny" sound and lacks the deep, smooth base that the BOSE system in my Maxima has. Even though there is a sub-woofer in the cargo area, it seems to put out a muddy, irritating-sounding bass that is not pleasant to listen to for music. It sounds fine when playing a DVD in the theater environment, but I don't look forward to listening to music in the Sienna as the stereo just does not cut it in my opinion. I feel that this has always been a problem with Toyota. They haven't put a decent stereo in a vehicle yet.
As a final thought to all of you SUV owners who are dreading the thought of switching to a minivan, it's really not that bad. My wife drove our 2001 Toyota 4-Runner for two years before we traded it in for the 2004 Sienna a few weeks ago. We have two small children and just found out that we're expecting twins some time in the next 8 months. With four children, the 4-Runner was no longer a viable option. We looked hard at Toyota Sequoias, Chevy Suburbans & Tahoe's, and Dodge and Chrysler minivans. None of the vehicles we looked at could match the 2004 Sienna in value, safety or convenience. Besides, minivans from other manufacturers depreciate faster than a Cadillac, so the Toyota is a much better investment. If you're in the market, go look at a Sienna before you buy any other minivan. You'll be sorry if you don't!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th August, 2003
I've been very pleased with my 2004 Sienna XLE, having now driven it for five years and put 119,000 miles on it.
Something this week left me scratching my head, though.
I put four new Michelin tires on it this past weekend. The previous set was not out of warranty, but the wear pattern was uneven despite regular maintenance, alignment, etc.
The shop told me that my control arm bushings were shot, which was true.
Why, when the control arms themselves were in very good shape, should I have to replace them rather than just remove and replace the bushings? Toyota's design requires replacement of the entire control arm.
I had it done this week, and the vehicle is riding much better as a result. But why the unnecessary cost? This kind of design doesn't seem like the way Toyota normally does things.
The only other problem I have is this: the remote sensor for the door lock on the sliding door on the driver's side no longer works. I have to manually lock and unlock the door in order to hear the beeps that confirm that the vehicle is locked or unlocked.