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Roadtrips and general opinions

4423 Views 22 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  OnTheRoadAgain
Hi everyone,

I'm looking into getting my first sienna and would love some opinions from current owners. I'm looking for a '15-'20 sienna xle or limited. This will be my first van. When my wife and I were expecting our first, my manager suggested we get a minivan because he had one with his kids and loved it. I kind of scoffed at the idea until I went and sat in a 3rd gen xle and loved it immediately. Since then everyone has been trying to convince me I should get a midsized suv but I feel the sienna can't be beat.

I have a few general questions.

What are your opinions on your siennas? Best years/features? Worst years/features? Things look out for when buying?

My wife and i took an 1800 mile round trip in our 08 crv last year and it about killed us from discomfort. After that experience, i really want a couch on wheels. How are they for like an annual roadtrip vacation with the kids? Fuel mileage?

Also I tend to keep vehicles for 10 yrs or so. How many miles have you seen on a 3rd gen?
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I am on my second Sienna, fourth Toyota minivan. Started with a minivan ('93 Previa LE) back in 1993 when the kids were about 3 and 8. Got a second van ('92 Previa All-Trac) about 1999. The '93 was removed from action in a wintertime slide off the road. The '92 was removed from action in 2010 when the engine decided it had had enough and went up in a cloud of smoke. It was replaced by an '05 Sienna LE AWD. Except for a right-side power door that locked up and could not be opened, it was basically trouble-free. It was replaced just last year with my current 2018 XLE AWD. It came to me with low miles (about 29k), but was in need of tires and brakes. Replaced them, had the fuel pump recall done and have had no other issues.

You will see a bit of discussion about the erratic operation of the 8-speed transmission, especially at lower speeds. The usual remedy is to switch away from the ECO mode. I tried that. I found it even more aggravating because you had to do it every time you started the engine, and all it seems to do is to change the response curve to throttle application. I had to re-calibrate my foot so I was not jumping away at stoplights, so it ended up not making any difference in the way the transmission responded.

Gas mileage is acceptable (for me). Average is 18-20 in town and 24-25 on the road, with the cruise control set at 70. My job is maintaining patient-care equipment in hospitals and doctor's offices, so I am always carrying tools and test equipment with me. With the third row seats folded down, there is plenty of room for all of that and up to three other people, if it's a larger facility we are servicing. Yes, for some reason, the uninitiated seem to scoff at minivans, but after having (at least) one for almost 30 years, it's my vehicle of choice and I am NOT ashamed to be seen driving it.

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