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2005 Toyota Sienna Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: 2005 Toyota Sienna: After seven years of ownership, I remain a huge van fan. by 05RSXbaseL

05RSXbaseL

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Introduction

Bought my 2005 Sienna as a Toyota Certified Used vehicle in 2008, with 24,000 miles on it. Two wheel drive XLE model with almost every option (leather, DVD, 17" wheel package, dual power doors, sunroof, etc.). The most money I ever paid for a car, and never owned a van before.

Let's start with the bad: Lifetime MPG is 18.6 on the trip computer. This was the last model year for the timing belt - 2006 and beyond have timing chains - so it's a $600 or so proposition every 90K miles for a new belt, water pump, and accessory drive belts. These vans have a very common set of issues, and I've experienced just about all of them: radiator leak, power door latch release failure, leaky transmission pan gasket (not fixed yet, but soon), and wheel hub bearing noise. Radio reception is horrible, as is the ability to see the radio display when the sun's out (i.e. most of the time). The 17" wheels are painted, and the finish must be waxed or it will peel. The transmission must be flushed every two years - regardless of miles driven - if you want it to remain smooth and responsive.

Now, the good: This van does so many things well, and consistently exceeds my expectations. It's been a light duty pickup, a cross-country cruiser, a daily commuter, and a family hauler that my 86 year old mother in law can easily enter and exit. The most practical and useful car I have ever owned, no question. It rides on car tires. The paint quality is fantastic (at least the Silver Shadow Pearl Metallic on my van). The finish has held up amazingly well - and a recent clay bar revealed almost no dirt intrusion, which floored me given its age. The engine is bulletproof. The transmission is good as long as it's flushed often and the pan gasket is monitored for leaks. All interior materials are holding up beautifully after 10 years & 100K miles.

Reviewed: 2005 Toyota Sienna

4dr Minivan, ext. 230-horsepower 3.3L V6 5-speed automatic FWD

2005 Toyota Sienna Love Letter

It's a box on wheels, but Toyota did take care to conceal the sliding door rails - and they used a clever approach in my opinion. They also took care to make exterior visibility relatively good for this size of vehicle with a relatively low beltline/large greenhouse. My favorite styling detail is the slab-straight siding - I like the simplicity of it. I'd characterize the overall styling approach to this van as "honest" - it's not trying to come off as anything other than the utilitarian vehicle that it is. I love that aspect of it.

Conclusion

Vans remain the one vehicle that can exceed the needs of most families. They are meant specifically to be honest cars - by design they are meant to haul people and things. They cannot pretend to be sporty, or off-road capable. CUVs and SUVs are great for people more concerned with style over substance, or have a genuine need to tow heavy loads and have enough space for a family and gear. Vans are for those who champion functionality above all else, and want a practical vehicle that can do many different tasks very well, without compromsing on space. I don't tow anything, so the van was the right choice for me as I wanted the most possible space for people and things without paying the premiums in purchase price, gas, insurance, and upkeep that many SUVs command.

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Response from JudiF

12:09 pm December 31, 2016

Hi,

I have a 2004 Toyota Sienna XLE that I bought in 2009 with 54,000 miles. Before that, had a 2000 Honda Odyssey that I totaled in an accident. The Honda has transmission issues so I am reluctant to purchase an Odyssey even though write ups are good. My Sienna has 195,000 miles on it and is still drivable even after a pretty bad accident. But, it does feel compromised and would like to buy a new used vehicle before my Sienna gives up the ghost. I saw a great deal on a 2016 Chrysler Town and Country and am considering buying it because it is a very good looking car with lots of bells and whistles that you don't get with a Sienna. I can't afford a new Sienna and even a used one is sooo expensive, just for the LE. The 2016 Town and Country with lots of great features like a power lift gate, is less expensive than a 2013 Sienna with none of the conveniences. But, I'm reluctant to buy a Chrysler for fear that it will always be in need of costly repairs. I put a lot of miles on my car and I need something safe and reliable. I don't have money for repairs nor can I be without a car. Am I still better off buying a used Sienna?



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Response from 05RSXbaseL

11:08 am January 8, 2017

Hello JudiF,

Were I in your position I would strongly consider the Town and Country (T&C). The T&C does very well against the Sienna in the True Delta reliability comparisons going back to 2010, with the exception of the 2011 and 2013 model years. So far the 2016 T&C is doing better than the '16 Sienna. I've read that the last model year in a production run is usually the most reliable, too. You'd also get the benefit of the factory warranty, which is 3 years/36,000 miles, if you can find one with low miles.

Otherwise I'd recommend looking at 2006-2009 Siennas with the fewest miles you can find. Starting in 2006, Sienna engines no longer had timing belts - they got timing chains that never need routine replacing, plus a power bump of about 30 horsepower. Not having to do a timing belt will save you about $700-$900 every time they come due, which is at 9 years or 90,000 miles if I remember correctly. The gas mileage didn't go down despite having more power. All of these model years are doing very well on True Delta.
You keep your cars a long time, though, and Toyotas are built for the long haul. The paint and interior materials on my 2005 Sienna still look great despite 12 years and a lot of use. I've been able to delay some routine maintenance, such as spark plugs, with no detrimental effects. I think my van will last at least 20 years, and I plan to keep it for at least that long. I've never been that confident about domestic brand vehicles I've owned in the past.


Good luck and best wishes for a good deal on a van that will serve you reliably and safely for many years!







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