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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy Mel281's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    What to look for in a Sienna

    We are due with #3 in early June so are starting to look at our first minivan. DH does not want to buy until April or May, but I want to start figuring out what I want.
    I would like a 2nd generation Sienna (so 2005-2010), but our budget is around $15,000, ideally.
    What features would YOU want if you were buying now?
    ie,
    1. Are there safety improvements that came with a certain year?
    2. What would be more important to you, 8 passenger seating available in the LE edition or the XLE/Limited edition with power doors and the bells and whistles that come with it (specifically, what)?
    3. We live in MN, so having AWD would be nice, but I've never driven one so I don't know if it matters that much. They are harder to find in the lower price range. Would you say AWD is a must?
    DS1 8/5/07, 48", 45 lbs, harnessed in Maestro/Nautilus
    DD 11/30/07 alternates FF in EFTA(FF). 31 lbs, 39.25" tall
    DS2 6/3/13 15.5 lbs, RF in EFTA/Nextfit
    Riding in 2006 7 pass Sienna and 2012 F-150

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  3. #2
    CPS Fanatic Mags462's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    Re: What to look for in a Sienna

    1. Are there safety improvements that came with a certain year?

    I would personally narrow it down to 2006-2010.... in 2006 there became a lot more standard safety features - they were available as options in 04/05 but its harder to pinpoint exactly what people chose. I personally have a 2005 and love it, but there are some safety features i wish it had like side curtain airbags.

    2. What would be more important to you, 8 passenger seating available in the LE edition or the XLE/Limited edition with power doors and the bells and whistles that come with it (specifically, what)?

    Honestly i am anti-8 seater I just do not like having my children 3 across - they fight, they have a harder time getting in their own seats, and i have a harder time reaching them. I do not plan to have more than 4 kids (and honestly we will likely not have anymore than the 3 we have now) so the "need" for the 8th seat is irrelevant to me. I wanted arm rests on the captains chairs which an 8 seater will not have. However with that said the all power doors on my XLE are a bit silly. I LOVE my power passenger door, but we rarely use the auto lift gate feature and rarely use the drivers side sliding door. We enter through the passenger door so its the only one i care about being automatic. The DVD player is nice - but portable ones are so cheap now thats neither here nor there. I don't have leather (it was optional in 05) and frankly i don't like leather. I also don't have a sun/moon roof which i would like, but its not going to keep me from buying a car. One thing that i really have come to love on my XLE is my running boards. They are beyond helpful and i won't own a van without them now that i have gotten used to them.

    3. We live in MN, so having AWD would be nice, but I've never driven one so I don't know if it matters that much. They are harder to find in the lower price range. Would you say AWD is a must?

    Snow IMO doesn't automatically = AWD necessity. AWD really sucks the gas down and also limits your choices. You cannot get an AWD 8 seater - the AWD option is only in the XLE trim level and the XLE trims were only 7 seaters from my understanding of that model of Sienna. If i lived in particularly mountainous/hilly conditions i would more seriously consider it..... My Sienna is just a standard FWD and it handles very well in the snow. Better than my neighbors Oddy and my in-laws Chrysler minivan. But we do have good tires and good brakes, so its hard to make sure all cars are "equal" kwim?

    So there's my two cents.... have fun van shopping!
    Maggie - Rollin' hard in my Swagger Wagon with my 3 lil' men all properly restrained

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy Mel281's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    Re: What to look for in a Sienna

    Thank you, that was very helpful!
    I did not know that AWD was only available in the XLE/Limited option, so this makes it easier to shop. At least I won't be holding out for something that doesn't exist!
    DS1 8/5/07, 48", 45 lbs, harnessed in Maestro/Nautilus
    DD 11/30/07 alternates FF in EFTA(FF). 31 lbs, 39.25" tall
    DS2 6/3/13 15.5 lbs, RF in EFTA/Nextfit
    Riding in 2006 7 pass Sienna and 2012 F-150

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy Mel281's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    111

    Re: What to look for in a Sienna

    Correction: you can get AWD in the LE, just maybe not the 8 seater it looks like.
    DS1 8/5/07, 48", 45 lbs, harnessed in Maestro/Nautilus
    DD 11/30/07 alternates FF in EFTA(FF). 31 lbs, 39.25" tall
    DS2 6/3/13 15.5 lbs, RF in EFTA/Nextfit
    Riding in 2006 7 pass Sienna and 2012 F-150

  6. #5
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
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    USA
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    Re: What to look for in a Sienna

    Right, AWD was an option on the LE trim levels and up through the XLE Limited versions, but not available on the CE base model at all, and AWD cannot co-exist with the 8-passenger seating, only with the 7-seater version of the 2004-2010 Sienna models. AWD models also use run flat tires which have a reputation for wearing out more quickly and being spendier to replace than regular, non run flat tires, another potential gotcha with the AWD option. FWIW we bought a new 2005 Sienna LE 8-passenger in early 2005 as a replacement for a 2003 Saturn Vue with AWD, owned the Sienna for 7 years, and didn't miss the AWD here in the snowy, northern winters. In addition to side curtain and front side torso airbags, stability control IMHO is another must have (it's bundled with traction control) and was optional at the time we shopped for our 2005 model and later on it became standard equipment, around the 2008/2009 model year for the Sienna IIRC. Edmunds has a good summary of Sienna models by generation/model year at http://www.edmunds.com/toyota/sienna/
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy supermommyof2's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Eckville, AB
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    207
    Actually, AWD was available on CEs, at least on Canada, we had an 06. Yeah, they suck gas.
    Beth, mom to
    Isaac (06/03) seatbelt
    Joshua (04/05) seatbelt
    Andrew (03/09) PW
    Micah (07/12) Fllo


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