bought car brand new. did standard maint. car still runs strong and quiet. now at 150K I did do the timing belt/hoses at 75k. The A/C stopped working 3 years ago. Recharged with sealant fixed it! Interior passenger door handle broke twice... cracking AGAIN! Struts seemed okay, but replaced at 120K due to slick salesperson at tire place. Car runs like NEW. The car had LOTS of short trips, and had many hours run time in crazy long traffic. Now giving it to my son to drive until it dies. Best $22K I ever spent on a car. Previous van Dodge caravan sport SE, just about fell apart at 150K, many repairs and extra maint! (But the dodge looked nicer ;-) ).
I have owned my 98 Sienna for 10 years and am very pleased with it. I drive it to and from work daily (40 miles round trip). Bought it with 60,000 miles on it and currently it has 158,000 and counting. Problems: exterior door handles breaking (common on these models); one interior door handle break; rear intake gasket leak; power window switch. Also had the rack and pinion replaced recently. Otherwise it has been only routine maintenance required. Another dependable toyota product and can't wait to see how many miles I can get out of it.
My mom bought this car new and I inherited it at 16. I keep saying I'll get a new car when it dies - but it just won't die! The sliding doors stopped working almost immediately (5 years). One won't open at all and the other child locks itself every time it closes. I had them fixed once, but that only lasted about a year before they quit again. At about the 10 year mark, my AC went out. After that things have started to fall apart slowly. I've replaced the battery twice in the last 4 years, had to have a new radiator put in, had an oxygen sensor go out, the thermometer broke, and my armrest regularly breaks. For a 15 year old car though, she's sure still kickin (almost 200,000 miles now)!
Reliable, comfortable for road trips, tons of space (especially without the seats).
Shortly after we bought this car the transmission died. We replaced it with another sienna tranny, then that died. So we got another one, and by 170,000 miles it was on its way out, refusing to leave 1st gear until 40mph. As other users have stated, the exterior door handles break off. Our interior handles (backseats) died around 170,000 miles, so I rigged up the trunk to open from the inside. The window motors died by 100,000 miles, and the radio and AC died around the same time. The engine only had about 4 of the 6 cylinders working when it finally died. Despite all of these things, the car held up in my family for 13 years and 4 different drivers, and with care, treated us well.
High ground clearance.
The stock speakers actually sounded very good.
Despite the nonstop problems with our van, friends who drove the same car loved theirs and had no where near as many problems.
We just got stuck with a lemon and were too stupid to realize it until much later.
Use body panels that don't dent as easily.
Less cheap-quality door handles and window motors.
I've owned/drove our 98 Sienna for 10 years, since it was 3yrs old. It has been our best vehicle yet - I've owned 16 others. I've not once had to take it in for a repair. It now has 155K miles and is still a reliable, safe, and most versatile vehicle. The original battery lasted 9 yrs. It still has the original exhaust and timing belt. After our children had grown up and moved on, the removable rear seats came out and I used it for handy man work and pulling a small trailer. City gas mileage is the one complaint, but I've got up to 28 MPG on long trips. The Sienna is by far my best vehicle for vacation trips.
Quality. Safety. Reliability. Versatility. Comfort on long trips. Drivers side sliding door.