Toyota Sienna AWD models concerns

borik1234borik1234 Member Posts: 5
We got to the point where we need to upgrade (mostly in size) to keep up with the growing family and as much as we despised the idea of getting a minivan before we found ourselves deciding between a minivan and a crossover with the third row. Since AWD is the only option I’d consider – it’s a must in CO – Sienna is the only option we have if we go with the minivan. I talked to a number of people who own late models of Sienna and they all find it to be a perfect solution for a large family and like it in all other aspects. However, the AWD version adds a number of elements in the mix that I wasn’t too impressed about.

1. AWD system – I can’t find any technical explanation as to how Sienna’s AWD system works. Aside from some references from various forums to the system being very “basic” and “outdated” no technical details seem to exist anywhere. The dealer was not very helpful either.

2. Tires – since in their infinite wisdom Toyota decided not to include the spare tire (and yes, I know the space is occupied by the transfer case now, but I don’t believe there was no other space for it that could be found) I have yet to see a positive or even neutral comment about the RFT that the van is equipped now with. I understand that positive comments don’t often fine their way to forums, but my research so far shows that the tires live on average for about 15-20K miles and often times cannot be repaired after catching a nail even if the sidewall is not damaged by either the nail or driving on it for a while. Tire selection is also very limited – only one model for All-Season and two versions of Blizzak (one being older generation and one extremely expensive) for Winter. Additionally, due to the nature of RFT being heavy and stiff, I understand that the performance of AWD’s version of the van is subpar to the FWD version equipped with regular tires.

3. Alignment – I am hearing that even on AWD version the rear wheels cannot be aligned and front alignment needs to be done often – based on what I’m seeing on the forums that problem seem to be following Toyota on these vans since 2006 or so.
Any personal or professional experience or any input otherwise is greatly appreciated! We’re looking to upgrade in the next couple of month and right now deciding between late model Sienna AWD or ’13 Pathfinder


  • tervurentervuren Member Posts: 1
    In the process of getting quotes on a AWD which I cannot find in my state, but I live close to the Missouri state line and a dealer in Springfield has a few. I am concerned about getting a good price especially when the 2014 are about to come out. I have a estimate on a XLE AWD for $ 40,037 which I think is high. Has the XLE premium package but looking for the Lower Moulding. Should I be getting a better deal since its end of year? And is the Limited worth paying more for? I keep my cars over 10 years:)
  • borik1234borik1234 Member Posts: 5
    40K sounds like way too much - you'd be better off flying somewhere to pick up the car and driving it back if that's the price you can get.

    I paid 33K for an AWD XLE and that was in the middle of the year (there was a $1K rebate from Toyota at that time though) - prices should have gone down because of the end of year (but availability maybe down too).

    Check carsdirect and see what they quote. If you can't get a local dealer to match or beat that price, you can usually buy directly from them and they will do the negotiation for you - you'll just pick it up from the dealer. In my case, the dealer beat their prices by quite a bit.
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