2008 Toyota Sienna XLE 3.5 from North America

Summary:

Hands down, the best vehicle I have ever owned. RIP my loyal friend, you served us well

Faults:

Lower ball joints at 100,000 miles - easy DIY fix.

Coolant thermostat 100,000 miles.

Brake calipers at 130,000 miles.

General Comments:

Our Villager was becoming unreliable at 100,000 miles, rusted out rocker panels etc. We stumbled across a certified used Sienna 2008 and the dealer dropped the price $5,000 to $19,000 on this 4 year old off lease van. We couldn't say no. Black with gray leather XLE FWD. THE BEST VEHICLE WE HAVE EVER OWNED. Sadly at 187,000 we were rear-ended in June 2018 and it was totaled. It was still running on the original spark plugs getting 24 MPG. Purred like a kitten and never let us down. The lower ball joints started squawking at 100,000 miles and I replaced them in a few hours. I replaced the bearings on the belt pulleys at 130,000, and the thermostat at 110,000. Then just normal maintenance; brakes, tires, etc. This is a very low cost van to drive. Super easy to work on too. You can access the full service records of the van you intend to buy by going to "Toyota owners" website and enter the VIN. Our van would have easily gone another 150,000 rust free miles if not for the accident.

* There is a problem resolved in 2010 version and that is the VVTi oil line on this engine. They used a rubber 4" hose that will rupture over time. I purchased the revised steel line and replaced mine at 70,000 miles - the part is $30. Pay the dealer to replace it. I did mine myself and it was not a fun job. But vitally necessary.

The transmission has issues hunting for gears at low speed. The solution is to do a complete ATF replacement and add a aux transmission cooler, 14,000 BTU or better. This gear hunting never recurred during our ownership. The transmission runs hot and the ATF fails in 30,000 miles if not kept cool. It's a cheap fix on an expensive part of the van.

We are going to miss our 2008 van. We had hoped to be able to give it to one of our kids in a year for their new family.

The van performs like an Indy car. I have outrun many jerks on the highway. Toyota hit this one out of the park. If you buy one with miles on it, just get a service history to know how it was taken care of first.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th July, 2018

6th Jul 2018, 12:53

Other drivers are "jerks", but you're the one driving a minivan like an "Indy car", got it.

8th Jul 2018, 03:17

Alternatively, replacing the transmission fluid annually will yield major benefits.

Been nursing a 1999 Accord V6 transmission this way - has been going well :)

2008 Toyota Sienna XLE from North America

Summary:

Bar-None, the best van we have owned

Faults:

I will be replacing the lower ball joints this weekend. Other than that, it's been trouble free.

General Comments:

The one issue which really isn't important, is the exhaust noise when the engine is cold on start up. It sounds like a diesel, but quiets down once it is warm.

For the size of this vehicle, it gets excellent gas mileage. We average 22 city and 24 highway. The engine performs fantastically and has incredible torque and power. You would think it is a V8. Smooth and strong throughout the RPM range.

These Siennas are very roomy and great for long distance traveling.

I use synthetic oil and added a transmission cooler at 60,000. I would suggest you add a cooler to yours.

The transmission shifted poorly at 60,000 miles, but a good fluid flush and transmission cooler fixed that problem. Toyota claims WS trans fluid never needs changing. Don't believe them. Newer models don't have a drain plug, but 2008 and older models do.

I was worried that we would have terrible tire wear, but our tires are still good 35,000 miles later. It must have been an AWD issue.

If you are interested in a transmission cooler, you can see my install here:

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/274-2nd-generation-2004-2010/419801-transmission-cooler-install-diy-picture-thread.html#post3923136

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 2014