2008 Toyota Sienna Minivan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Toyota Sienna Minivan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Sienna Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 266 hp @ 6200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Toyota Sienna

  • Roomy, comfortable and well-built, the 2008 Toyota Sienna minivan is an easy choice, especially if you have a big family.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth and powerful V6, comfortable ride, an abundance of convenience features, choice of seven- or eight-passenger seating, available all-wheel drive, tight build quality.

  • Cons

    Expensive option packages, uninspired handling even for a minivan.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Toyota Sienna sees no significant changes.

Full 2008 Toyota Sienna Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Toyota Sienna sees no significant changes.

Introduction

Ever since its last makeover four years ago, the Toyota Sienna has been a top choice in the minivan segment for consumers and automotive critics alike. Things got even better last year, when Toyota updated the minivan with a new, 266-horsepower V6 that improved performance while remaining as fuel-efficient as the previous (and less powerful) engine. For 2008, the Toyota Sienna stands pat, and that sits just fine with us.

As you might expect from a Toyota product, the Sienna has a comfortable ride, earns respectable gas mileage and has top-notch safety ratings. It's also one of the roomiest minivans available and one of the few that offers eight-passenger capacity and all-wheel drive. Inside, the Sienna can be fitted with luxury features not typically seen on a minivan, such as a telescoping steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and rear sunshades. If Lexus made a minivan, we imagine it would be a lot like the Sienna.

Although it's got plenty of power, the Sienna still isn't the best choice for those looking for at least some driving involvement due to its softly tuned suspension and numb steering. Granted, most people buying a minivan are more concerned with getting all the kids to school and sports activities than tearing it up on a twisting road. However, those who'd like a more carlike experience behind the wheel of their family shuttle would be better served by the Honda Odyssey, which is as close to a sporty sedan as a minivan gets.

Besides the Honda, there are a few other minivans you might want to consider. The redesigned Dodge and Chrysler minivans offer a number of segment-exclusive features this year, and the less expensive Hyundai Entourage/Kia Sedona twins provide better value than the Sienna. But overall, the 2008 Toyota Sienna remains one of the best choices out there, especially if price isn't a huge concern.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Toyota Sienna minivan comes in four trim levels -- CE, LE, XLE and XLE Limited. The CE and LE come in seven- and eight-passenger configurations while the upper trims are seven-passenger only. All but the CE offer a choice of either front-wheel or all-wheel drive; the CE just comes as a front-driver.

The base Sienna CE includes 16-inch steel wheels, dual sliding rear doors with power-down windows, front and rear air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack, a telescoping steering wheel and full power accessories. The LE adds privacy and solar energy-absorbing glass, a roof rack, heated mirrors, a CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a folding front passenger seat, cruise control and upgraded instrumentation.

The Sienna XLE features alloy wheels, power-sliding rear doors, a power liftgate, automatic headlamps, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, wood-grain interior trim, a trip computer and a removable center console. The plush XLE Limited adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather/wood steering wheel, an upgraded 10-speaker JBL sound system, rear window shades and a windshield wiper de-icer. All-wheel-drive Siennas automatically receive 17-inch wheels, run-flat tires and the wiper de-icer.

Options on the Toyota Sienna are grouped into packages that vary based on buying region, and they can get rather pricey. You'll need to study them carefully to ensure the one you pick has just what you want. Notable items include xenon headlights, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a navigation system (with a back-up camera and Bluetooth), a power-folding third-row seat and a pair of 115-volt power outlets.

Powertrains and Performance

A superb 3.5-liter V6 engine with 266 hp matched to a five-speed automatic transmission is featured on every 2008 Sienna. This refined combination provides brisk performance (we timed an AWD version of the XLE from zero to 60 mph in just 8.0 seconds) as well as respectable gas mileage. The revised 2008 EPA figures come in at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for front-drive models, while the AWD versions rate 16 and 21, respectively.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and a full complement of airbags (including front-seat side and full-length side curtain) are standard on all Siennas. The XLE Limited also comes with front and rear park assist, while rear park assist is available on LE and XLE trims. If you opt for the navigation system, you'll also get a handy rearview camera.

In government crash testing, the 2008 Toyota Sienna earned four stars (out of five) for driver protection in frontal impacts and five stars for the front passenger. It also received five stars across the board for side-impact crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Toyota's minivan a "Good" rating (its highest) for its performance in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Sienna's spacious cabin is handsomely fitted with high-quality fabric on lower trim levels, and leather and faux wood on the higher-end models. The various controls are simple to use, storage space is plentiful and the seats are plush. Seven-passenger vans allow the second-row captain's chairs to be pushed together to create a bench seat. The eight-passenger version uses a 40/20/40-split bench in the second row whose center section slides 13 inches closer to the front seats for easier access to the little one seated there. The Sienna provides a cavernous 149 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2008 Toyota Sienna's automatic transmission is calibrated more for fuel economy than performance and thus tends to shift conservatively, there's no denying the potency of the new V6 when you step into it. Acceleration is spirited in most situations, and the engine delivers its power in a quiet, refined manner. Ride quality is smooth and comfortable, but the Sienna offers little inspiration in the handling department. It feels secure enough when going around corners, but with minimal steering feedback and considerable body roll, it's not a minivan you'll relish driving. Braking distances are on par with the rest of the minivan class, but pedal feel is too soft to inspire confidence.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



Very good...could be better

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna Limited 7-Passenger 4dr Minivan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I bought this used in 2010 w 45K miles. It has 119k now and is in very good shape. Its a great and comfortable car. It keeps me safe and gets through all the weather. Its pretty darn comfortable too. I feel safe in it and frankly I like it. I have a Yakima roof rack and I added a 2" trailer hitch to pull a small trailer. Its perfect for me and my two kids.




2008 sienna. lost trust in

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna CE 7-Passenger 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I own a 2008 Sienna bought brand new. Currently has 114k.(71k miles) All maintenance completed as per Toyota scheduling. Recall and or Warranty history: Rear door struts, vibrating radio speaker, roof trim pulling off, 02 sensor, spare tire cable, transmission shift solenoid. Repairs I performed myself as a journeyman mechanic: water pump @90k km. Same 02 sensor they replaced on Warranty and would not cover again. Transmission input speed sensor. This van does not inspire confidence. I drive around with my obd2 scanner in the van just in case of a C.E.L.




Could be a lot better

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna LE 7-Passenger 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We bought this used model (2008) from the Toyota dealer with 70K on it. The price was reasonable. The interior is poor. The rear passenger air turns on and off intermittently without anyone turning on. I read a lot of similar complaints on the ToyotaSienna online forum. The dealer said it is what it is (as is condition). I tried to look up for the solution, no solution found. The seats are poor quality. The hand rest for all seats are poorly built. It is really not so convenient for the driver to use the hand rest (Right). The center console between the driver and passenger could have been made better (which I suppose is now taken care in the new model). Poor quality seat belts.




It's great at what it

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna XLE 7-Passenger 4dr Minivan AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

As far as people carrying minivans go, it really doesn't get a whole lot better than this. For one, this is a very comfortable and roomy car. The leather seats are pretty good and the ride is silky smooth. Gas mileage isn't very good (We've average about 18-19 mpg mostly on the highway), but that's the price you pay for having a large vehicle with a V6 and AWD. Speaking of the V6, it's a quality engine. It generally revs very smoothly and there's more power on tap than anyone driving a minivan needs. So far it's been quite reliable reliable. There have been no big repair costs outside of general maintenance.




Love the car, not the

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna XLE 7-Passenger 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We are a family of 5 and really love having this van. The mpg is great, the accelation and breaks are great and driving it is just like driving a sedan. We love this car. THe issue we don't like is that this car has cold start rattling issue. And a lot of people complaing about it, yet Toyota dealers for the most part say it is a normal noise. The possible culprits for that are lifter problems, upper engine oil seal that keep the oil from draining into the bottom pan and variable valve timing oil hose. Basically the valves are not lubricated at cold start and that's what causes the noise. Still dealing with toyota to resolve this. The car wa hardy 37000 miles when the problem started.




Ac line corrosion

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Toyota Sienna CE 8-Passenger 4dr Minivan (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Love this van, like the design much better than the new one....but....we had our AC line replaced under warranty last summer, this summer we find that 3 other lines are also needing replacement due to corrosion...Toyota and the dealers offered us 50% shared cost for repairs, but, this should not be happening. The cost to us is still $1900.00, and, we are wondering if this will be an annual cost to keep the air in our vehicle? Toyota Canada stated this is not an issue with the Sienna and there is no recall or fix for this issue...



Talk About The 2008 Sienna

2008 Toyota Sienna Discussions See all Started By

cerrmj1
cerrmj1
09-10-2010
Here is a FYI for the group. My 2006 Sienna developed a problem with the power 3rd row seats where they will come up out of the seat well, seem to lock into plact but the seat backs will not come up....


dklein16
dklein16
04-09-2014
We were sitting at a stop light and heard a loud bang. Took it to the nearest Toyota dealership and they found the right front coil spring had broke. I brought the van new and it has never been in ?...


timothyh
timothyh
06-13-2007
Some bulletin boards speculate that Toyota is going to introduce a Sienna Hybrid in 2008. My question to the forum is this:...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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