Best Years For Toyota Sienna: Most Reliable Models

Best years for Toyota Sienna are:

  • 2010
  • 2016
  • 2019
  • 2020

In this article, we will be taking a look at the best years for Toyota Sienna in terms of their reliability. We will see what changes have been made in the top models of Toyota Sienna over the years and how they have affected this minivan. The best Toyota Sienna years are also important if you’re looking for a used Toyota Sienna in a reliable condition.

The Toyota Sienna is a mid-size crossover minivan that was introduced in 1997. The Toyota Sienna is a very versatile vehicle. It can comfortably seat up to 8 passengers. The Toyota Sienna is a reliable vehicle that can handle any terrain. It has standard front-wheel drive but is also available in a four-wheel drive variant. It is well equipped with safety features. It is also one of the most fuel-efficient minivans on the market.

When it comes to selecting the best or worst years for Toyota Sienna, they don’t have any particular bad years or bad generations as they exist for other minivans like Honda Odysseys.

2004-2010 years of Toyota Sienna are all the same generation. 2011-2020 model years are all the same generation too. Often there are a few small tweaks after the first model year. So, in general, the 2012 model year of Toyota Sienna might be very slightly better than 2011 on average. The later models in each generation had extra safety features and tech features added; which can be valuable but also create additional points of failure as well.

What Are The Best Years for Toyota Sienna? 

According to the owners’ review and statistics shared by carcomplaints.com; 2016, 2010, 2019, and 2020 are the best years for Toyota Sienna with the least problems. 

2004-2006 models of Toyota Sienna are also good but they have timing belts instead of timing chains that need to be replaced after 90,000 miles. Replacing timing belts is quite a hectic job. So, people avoid it.

In 2007 Toyota Sienna, VVT oil line issues were addressed as Toyota introduced a rubber line in their 2GR-FE engine (3.5 V6) that could rupture easily. In 2008, Toyota redesigned VVT oil lines to a fully metal line and eliminated that issue. 

2007 Toyota Sienna had another issue of leakage through the oil cooler hose. Since all 2007 Toyota Sienna vans used to come with a tow package, they all had an oil cooler, and so, the rubber oil cooler line was causing issues. 

In the US, 2008+ Toyota Sienna vans were also available without a tow package. So, those vans without a tow package did not have an oil cooler. However, those with a tow package and an oil cooler had still a rubber oil cooler hose that was causing leakage issues. In 2012, Toyota switched from rubber oil cooler hose to metal.

As far as safety is concerned, I didn’t include any models of Toyota Sienna from the first generation because the side torso airbags and stability control were optional from 2004. In 2006, the side airbags feature became standard and the stability control in 2008.

Likewise, Toyota Sienna vans in 2017 were decent, but the replacement of the 6-speed with the 8-speed transmission in that model caused many problems. Certain models of Toyota Sienna built during the first production runs of the new 8-Speed Transmission had an issue where the transmission would rev very high before shifting to the next gear. This was especially apparent when starting from a stop.

Customers have received harsh gear shifting, delayed acceleration, excessive revving before upshifting, and reduced power issues in the 2017 Toyota Sienna models. However, those transmission issues were fixed in the later models of Toyota Sienna.

To address 9-speed transmission issues in 2017 and 2018 Toyota Sienna, Toyota asked dealerships to update the powertrain control module software. However, users still continued facing issues of whining noise and harsh gear shifts. At that time, Toyota told technicians to replace the transmissions with remanufactured transmissions.

Best Years of Toyota Sienna

1. 2010 Toyota Sienna

2010 Toyota Sienna was the final and the best model from the second generation in terms of reliability. The only difference between the 2010 and 2011 Toyota Sienna mechanically is the 5-speed vs the 6-speed automatic transmission.

While the 2011 Toyota Sierra had a lot of new features, it was the victim of a lot of cost-cutting. There have been quite a number of quality issues (design & build), and a lot of TSBs had been issued to help the technicians deal with the problems. According to carcomplain.com, more than 65 problems were reported by the users of the 2011 Toyota Sienna.

Also, when comparing the prices of a used 2010 vs a used 2011 with equivalent miles and options, 2011 is a few thousand dollars more. So, if you’re getting a 2010 Sienna with low mileage at the right price, you should consider it.

Being the final year of the Gen-2 models, the 2010 Toyota Sienna received virtually all of the ‘fixes’ for the various issues that emerged during the 7-year run. Moreover, users say that the 2010 Toyota Siennas had great interior quality. The 3.5 V6 was first introduced in the 2007 Toyota Sienna. In earlier models, there were many complaints about timing cover leaks. However, in the last model of the second generation i.e. 2010 Sienna, this issue was resolved.

2010 Toyota Sienna comes in trim levels of CE (Cheap Edition), LE, XLE, and Limited. The CE and LE come in seven and eight-passenger configurations while XLE and Limited trims of 2010 Sienna are seven-passenger only. It has a 3.5L V6 engine with 266 HP. 2010 Toyota Sierra also has an AWD option to get better traction on snow or ice. All-wheel drive is available on LE, XLE, and Limited trims.

The 2010 Toyota Sienna Sienna offers either a 7-seat configuration or an eight-seat configuration that has a removable center seat in the second row.

There are a few downsides to the 2010 Toyota Sienna. The first thing is its handling or maneuverability. The size of the 2010 Toyota Sienna has made it less maneuverable than some rival 2010 minivans. 

Another downside is that the 2010 Toyota Sienna has received a poor safety score for the Head restraints & seat test performed by IIHS.

The following notable safety features of the 2010 Sienna are:

  • All-disc antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system and traction control
  • Side-impact airbags for the front seats
  • Side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats

The price of the 2010 Toyota Sienna ranges from $7000 – $17,000, depending on its condition and trim level. the average repair/maintenance cost of a 2010 Toyota Sienna ranges from $300 to $550. Some types of repairs could also cost up to $1000/

2. 2016 Toyota Sienna

2016 Toyota Sienna belongs to the third generation models. It is also equipped with a 3.5 V6 engine. Belonging to the third generation, the 2016 Toyota Sienna has a 6-speed transmission. The 2016 Toyota is available in L, SE (Sport Edition), LE, XLE, and Limited. The LE and XLE come in seven and eight-passenger configurations; the L and Limited versions are seven-passenger only and the SE is eight-passenger only. The 2016 Sienna LE, XLE and Limited models can also be equipped with all-wheel drive. 

On the second and third rows of the 2016 Sienna, there are sunshades that can be pulled into place. LE trim of the 2016 Sienna also features dual power sliding doors.

In the 2016 Toyota Sienna, the side torso airbags were also modified to improve the protection of drivers and front seat passengers in side impact crashes.

Moreover, the gen-3 Toyota Sienna like the 2016 year model provides a more solid and planted experience while driving on the roadFurthermore, the 2016 Sienna has way fresher styling and interior finishes than the Gen-2.

3. 2019 and 2020 Toyota Sienna

Both 2019 and 2020 Sienna are the finest models as they are the last models of the third generation. After 2017, D4s direct injection was implemented to improve the fuel economy and get more horsepower. Those engines have 295 hp.

2019 and 2020 Sienna models have an 8-speed transmission system. Several users have had complaints with the 8-speed transmission up to mid-2018 production units of Sienna. However, the transmission has seemed to be smoothing out in the 2019 and 2020 Sienna models. 

The new injection system implemented after the 2017 Sienna models was a dual injection system (combination of direct injection and port injection). The system has two fuel injectors. One injects the fuel into the intake port and the other fuel injector directly injects the fuel into the combustion chamber. Previous year models of Sienna used to have an only port injection.

The introduction of direct fuel injection allows greater fuel efficiency by injecting highly pressurized fuel because of a higher level of precision over the amount of fuel injected into the cylinder.

Moreover, in the 2019 and 2020 model years of Sienna, Toyota also offered AWD in the SE trim which previously wasn’t available. Only the L trim of 2019 Sienna does not have all-wheel drive.

The 2019 and 2020 Sienna models also added Amazon Alexa and Apple CarPlay.

Amazon Alexa connectivity provides a conduit between the Sienna minivan and your home. Apple CarPlay increases connectivity between the Sienna and the owner’s iPhone.

The 2019 and 2020 models are also equipped with a Safety Sense feature, having a lane-keeping assistant. This Safety Sense feature seems to warn and gently correct line crossing. The system uses a camera to detect the lane markings in the road ahead and will alert the driver with audible and visual warnings if the vehicle starts to deviate from its lane without the turn indicator being applied.

Lastly, the 2019 and 2020 Sienna models have a Hill Start Assist Control feature that helps prevent rolling backward on an incline. 

Some Common Problems in Toyota Sienna

In Toyota Sienna, users have been complaining about transmission problems, engine gasket leaks, power sliding door issues, valve cover gasket leaks, oil leaks through the timing cover, and coolant leaks through the water pump.

You can watch the below video to learn more:

Final Thoughts

I hope you are able to decide which is the best year for Toyota Sienna. I have tried to pick the best Toyota Sienna models that have faced minimum problems reported by the users and are equipped with the advanced safety features. You can buy any model which suits your budget and needs.