The Best Years For Toyota Sienna (And Years to Avoid)

Nikola Stankovic
The Best Years For Toyota Sienna

Geography geeks will tell you the Sienna is an Italian city in Tuscany, but if you ask Toyota, the Sienna is a minivan on a mission to conquer the US market.

The Sienna was initially introduced in 1997 as a replacement for the Previa model, designed to meet the tastes of American drivers. The second and third generations followed in 2003 and 2010 (respectively), while the current fourth generation was introduced in 2020.

Over the years, these four generations have shown all their qualities and shortcomings. So, let’s look at the best years for a Toyota Sienna and what years should be avoided.

The Best Years for Toyota Sienna

1997. – 2002.

2002 toyota sienna

The first generation was produced from 1997 to 2002 and proved to be a real hit. It was especially popular among drivers with big families. Three versions were offered – CE, LE, and XLE, the last two equipped with so-called captain’s chairs.

Only one engine was on offer – a 3.0l V6 with 194 hp. It proved to be an excellent choice for this type of car – it is reliable, and the drivers were satisfied with the performance. The gearbox is a 4-speed automatic, and the drive is exclusively on the front wheels.

But, considering that it is a relatively old model, before buying, you should especially pay attention to the number of kilometers traveled, and service history, check the quality of the parts that were used as replacements, and check the general condition of the vital components.

What drivers say about the first-generation


  1. Manufacturing quality and reliability
  2. Comfort is great
  3. Fuel economy is very good
  4. Safety at a high level
  5. Towing ability.


  1. Visibility is bad
  2. Performances are modest
  3. There were problems with door handles.

2012 – 2023.

The third-generation Toyota Sienna was produced from 2010 to 2020, and from that period the most desirable models are those produced from 2012 onwards.

The 2012 Toyota Sienna is a great choice for those who want a full-sized vehicle but don’t want to sacrifice comfort or fuel economy. Under the hood is a powerful V6 engine with 266 hp. The car’s second row was quite adaptable. This minivan was one of the safest in its class – there is traction control, driver knee airbags, and anti-lock brakes.

The models from 2014 and 2016 also stood out as particularly good. During 2014, there were minor interior and exterior changes. The car had the same roomy, pleasant ride, comfort, and cargo volume. In 2016, the six-speed automatic transmission was replaced with an eight-speed, and the engine power was increased to 296 hp.

Unquestionably, the 2019 Toyota Sienna is among the best models of this vehicle. It drives well and has fantastic seats. This model achieves all that was envisioned for the third generation. This model is available in several versions – LE, SE, SE Premium, Limited, and XLE.

The current fourth generation was launched in 2020 and is available exclusively in a hybrid version. This version has yet to be proven, but according to the currently available information, it is a highly recommended model. All versions have a 2.5l naturally aspirated gasoline engine and two more electric power units – a total of 243 hp.

2023 toyota sienna

The offer includes the well-known versions LE, XLE, and Limited and two completely new versions – XSE and Platinum. Drivers especially appreciate that this minivan can still tow the same 1,600 kg capacity as the previous generation.

Practicality has also remained at a desirable level – the new Sienna has 18 cup holders.

What drivers say about the third and fourth generations.


  1. Fuel efficiency is very good
  2. The cabin is roomy and practical
  3. All-wheel drive is a fine option
  4. V6 provides good performance.


  1. Interior materials are cheap
  2. Braking is not the best.

Toyota Sienna Years To Avoid

2003. -2011

2011 toyota sienna

The period between 2003 and 2011 was not the worst for the Sienna.

After the very high-quality first generation, a second one was not particularly famous. It was produced in the period from 2003 to 2009. Its design is certainly more attractive than its predecessor, but it is a car you should consider before buying.

By far the worst models are those from 2004, which customers complained about the most. The biggest problem was the door, which often did not work properly.

Later models were also problematic. For example, they had problems with the steering system and corrosion, and customers complained about the inferior quality of the materials in the interior.

Models manufactured after 2007 have been partially cured of some “diseases”. Certain improvements are noticeable, but far from being a good choice to buy.

An extremely bad reputation in terms of quality and reliability also follows the third generation, but only models from the beginning of production. The last in a series of problematic models are those from 2013. After that, Toyota solved most of the shortcomings that the Sienna suffered from until then.

What drivers say about the second generations.


  1. Ride is smooth
  2. The V6 engine is good
  3. AWD is offered for the first time.


  1. Reliability is unexpectedly bad
  2. There is a higher chance of expensive repairs
  3. Seats are not comforted as expected
  4. Interior is noisy.

Is the Toyota Sienna a good buy?

Definitely yes. Especially the third and fourth (current) generations where Toyota has shown that it can make an exceptional minivan that will be the main competitor of Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey.

These Siennas are not only functional and reliable, but they are also the safest in their class. However, these models are not so affordable. The first generation is an excellent choice for those who want a practical and reliable minivan at an acceptable price – only a few thousand US dollars.

Does this mean the second generation should be avoided altogether? Not neccesarily. Buying a used car is always somewhat risky.

Maybe in this case, it would be better to consider other alternatives, but if you do decide on this model, you should be ready to accept all its features. Some qualities and flaws are obvious, while others you will discover over time.

More from best years:

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