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The New 2011 Sienna Minivan - Mommy Hate

Two days after buying our 2011 Toyota Sienna XLE, we started experiencing steering and braking problems.

Two weeks after buying it, the trunk door stopped operating. It now opens and closes at will and is completely misaligned.

The trunk door's remote controlled electronics are screwed up and we have to manually force it down to close shut and stay shut.

On top of that, the dealership claims WE "bent" it (there are no dents or dings anywhere btw, and we are lost as to how it got "bent"... maybe we took a sledgehammer to the door joints??).

What next... the passenger seats start sliding at will and the seatbelts start popping out?

This car is a danger.

Toyota is right - with a Sienna, ANYTHING could happen. How magical is that?

Of course, Toyota refuses to fix the problem... on a brand new less than 14 day old car (with additional 7 year extended warranty above and beyond the regular warranty).

What's the point of paying close to 40 grand? You get to be the biggest fool you'll ever know.

You also get to think each and every moment how much you are playing around with your children's safety by having this car in your garage.

At any time, the mechanically-astute passenger side door might decide it would like to open up right in the middle of traffic, and lo and behold, your kid is thrown out like bathwater. Or the wonderful sliding "captain: seats might just like to slip and slide around on their own while you're driving. Or maybe your sunroof will come crashing down and end your Sienn-ic misery. It's definitely a very... "Mommy" feeling.

Trust Toyota - never again.

Note: (This car was purchased in July 2010 from a dealership in MD. The owner lives in NJ and her local area NJ dealership has refused to even consider that the car's mechanism is faulty. Drive back to MD and face another rejection there? Sure Toyota, after stiffing us for 40 large, we've got nothing else to do but kowtow to you. Nice. Department of Transportation will like too.)


  • pax2upax2u Posts: 12
    Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. We were thinking about buying an XLE, but after reading your post (the problems AND the fact that Toyota won't take responsibility), we are rethinking our decision. Maybe we'll go with the Odyssey. I hear their (Honda) customer service is wonderful.
  • Sorry to hear that crazy stuff!!

    I would take it to another dealer..dont know how you would 'bend" a tailgate?..and record everything..lemon law stuff..

    Man I would be getting with corporate..or the of luck to you...
  • carbuf1carbuf1 Posts: 9
    Sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your new van. I know how frustrating it can be. I would work my way up the chain of command by writing letters and making phone calls and emails until I received some satisfaction. I think that is the best way to bring the heat to the dealership. I sure hope things work out for you. You might try another dealership if you feel like your relationship with the first is damaged beyond repair.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you got a 5pm Friday build.

    It's a lemon, escalate and ask them to buy it back or you'll lawyer up.
  • THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ADVICE. PLS CHECK OUT TWITTER - A LOT OF BRAND NEW 2011 SIENNA OWNERS ARE FACING SOME KIND OF PROBLEM OR THE OTHER WITH THEIR DOORS - either liftgate or sliding, and some are facing problems with their electronics.


    At our local Toyota dealership that we are getting our brand new Sienna investigated, another brand new Sienna came in that same week with the same identical same problem (liftgate stopped working, and was in fact bent out of shape on both cars).

    The dealership is now investigating what is happening to our batch atleast. It was purchased in July.

    We opened a case with Toyota Corporate in CA. That was 2 weeks ago. So far, nothing.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO: You can ALL call Lawrenceville Toyota in NJ and report your problems, as the rep from Corporate in Tokyo is there. 1-888-369-9136.

    The more Toyota Sienna 2011 complaints one dealership gets, it will force Toyota to look at all Siennas in an in-depth way, and they cannot call it isolated incidents that were caused by the consumers. They will not be able to to send each customer away just like that - if they get a whole host of reports at one location, regardless of what state you live in, they will be forced to address this isse.

    Everyone with Toyota Sienna 2011 purchased within the last 2 months (May - July 2010) pls call Lawrenceville Toyota at 888-369-9136, ask to speak with George or Renee, state your minivan's problem, and atleast ONE dealership will be geting 1,000 complaints rather than 1,000 dealerships getting on complaint each. That way, Toyota Corp will be forced to address the issue that SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY DEFECTIVE WITH THE TOYOTA SIENNA 2011.

    Thanks. Good luck everyone with your Siennas.
  • Please describe your sliding seat problem. We have a 2011 and have had the middle seats slide on their own on three occasions. I've elevated this issue through my dealer and just met with our regional rep in the PNW. They are logging the problem, but I wasn't given ANY satisfaction that they plan to do ANYTHING about it. Very serious safety issue.
  • ginzeroginzero Posts: 3
    I'm considering a 2011 Sienna and your experience is very disturbing. Can you tell us the Manufacture date/location of your vehicle (maybe located in driver side door jam). Wondering if the problems are only from that batch.

    Thank you
  • DLuDLu Posts: 15
    I, too, am sorry to hear that you have such a frustrating experience. I definitely think that Toyota is slipping in their quality control.

    We just took a road trip in our '11 Limited AWD. The biggest gripe is that the run-flats that come with the AWD are TERRIBLE -- they do deteriorate the ride quality somewhat and, what's worse, nobody seems to have any in stock. Why do I already need one? I hit a huge pot hole in Chicago and tried to immediately find a place to replace it (I did not trust these "run-flats" and wanted to get home!!!). Unfortunately, I did not find any FIrestone stores near me at the time, and all the other major chains (NTB, Sears, etc etc) did not carry a run-flat in its size. So I ended up putting a "regular" tire on at a local shop because, as I was "limping" around, the darn thing started to make a terrible noise after only 20 miles of driving under 50 mph. I am going to carry that regular tire around every time I take a trip now.

    To add insult to injury, one of the lug nuts apparently was cross-threaded on at the factory so that the kid who took it off ripped the whole bolt off (and kicked the freaking thing under the table, thinking nobody would notice a HOLE). I drove 1000 miles like that because the local shop did not have a replacement bolt; thankfully the dealer replaced it for free (the guy mumbled some junk about "this is not normally covered under the warranty but since your car is so new we'll cover it ...").

    You can count on a "daddy hate" here too!

    And don't even get me started on the sub-par interior fit and finish. I wish I got the LE instead of the $45k-plus Limited. What was I thinking?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Isn't the $45k Sienna a bit of a myth? A unicorn, if you will.

    Just checked and the most expensive one a local dealer is selling costs $35,720, and even the MSRP is under $39k.

    The LE is arguably the better value, since you're getting the same basic van for less, but I'm willing to bet that 80% or more of Sienna fall between $25k and 35k. Maybe even 90%.
  • The MSRP of an AWD Limited with Premium Package, Convenience Package, Special Color Paint (blizzard white) + destination charge is $45,715. Where's the myth?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    2 things that I can think of:

    1. Few if any are produced that heavily loaded. And no other van offers AWD and laser cruise control and a power folding 3rd row seat.

    2. High margin models are discounted most heavily, so that's a $41k van if you can even find one.

    Did you pay $45k? I doubt you did.
  • I paid 43,327.04 before taxes. Total paid, 47,928.09 after taxes and documentation. This is not, however, the matter being discussed. This discussion is about safety and quality concerns about Toyota. Someone expressed concern that for the dollars paid, we shouldn't have these kind of problems. Do you have a counter argument or would you rather discuss the specifics of dollars paid? Can we get back on topic?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't think the price tag should have much to do with it. A buyer should except a safe car no matter the price.

    A higher-end car with more options (lane departure warning, blind spot warning, things like that) has more things that could break. Look at the historical reliability of, say, a Range Rover.

    As to your original point, I do agree the LE is the better value, which is one of the reasons I got one (I also wanted the 8 seater model, though, and back then it was CE or LE only).

    I don't think that the LE's lower price makes it OK for people to be having problems, though.
  • We bought a top-of-the-line LTD AWD with all the options about 6 weeks ago. We had owned a 2004 XLE prior, and we need to replace the 2004 with this new 2011. Because we had just moved to Chicago, I decided we needed a minivan with AWD, so I decided to go with Sienna, although my initial reaction to the 2011 was fairly negative.

    Anyhow, the interior of the 2011 just seems cheap and not as comfortable when compared to the prior version.

    Well, we just put about 1500 miles on the 2011 through a road trip vacation. The 2011 did not perform well, as the tires were pretty loud and there was some odd smells coming through the vent. And to top it off, the sonar sensors stopped working as well (front and back). But it gets worse, as the navigation screen cracked - we did not place any undue pressure on the screen at all.

    Took it to the dealer today,and they are claiming something must have impacted the screen and they are not honoring the warranty. So now I have to play hardball to avoid paying 1,800 to replace the screen. We will see what happens tomorrow, but my sense is that Toyota product is probably a lot worse than I ever thought, and I will likely unload this crap machine once these issues are settled with the 2011.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited August 2010
    The Nav screen cracked? Holy cow!

    File a formal complaint here:

    Also, call Toyota's 800 number, they can put pressure on the dealer to help you.
  • DLuDLu Posts: 15
    Toyota has the gall to display an MSRP of $45k-plus on the Limited (all the Ltd in New England have the Premium Pkg when I was shopping around) -- especially considering that all their commercials are the Ltd trim -- so to me that's the message they conveying.

    Just because Toyota is desperate to move their product with steep discounts doesn't mean they still aren't trying to market their Sienna as befitting an $45k-plus price tag.
  • DLuDLu Posts: 15
    Regarding safety, thankfully I have not had any problems yet. In fact, my wife was able to make some emergency maneuvers and the thing handled it quite well.

    My one point is that Toyota is not paying nearly as much attention to details as they used to be (it seems). It's okay if trim pieces are hard and fraying around the edges for a cheap car, not one that you are trying to parade around as some luxury "spa" that moms would love to spend a lot of time in. So, again, I am disappointed in the Ltd. I agree that having actual problems and things falling apart is a big No-no.

    btw I know that there are a ton of New England dealers with $45k-plus Ltd AWD vehicles on the lot (again, talking about MSRP here). Sure, I only paid $39,500 for it, you're right. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    CR dinged them, too. Overall score dropped from 93 to 80, though it's still their 2nd highest rated van.
  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Yes,that was disappointing b`cos the 04-09 Sienna especially the 07-09 Sienna was very good except for the exterior shape. They corrected that in this redesign but elsewhere they really cheapened. Dont know if Odyssey also goes the same way. If not ,then Ody will be a home run and Toyota will have to do some major refreshening with better materials.

    I hope Ody is really good - it puts some real pressure on the Sienna to deliver in the next year.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Same here...I'm not a fan of the lightning bolt but I don't really care that much about how it looks. Vans are all about function.
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