Nice van, that came very well equipped.
April 14, 2011
I bought my 2004 Monterey used. I was going to buy a new van but somebody traded this van in at a Toyota dealer with 3K miles on it! When taking delivery, even their salesman was impressed with the features (memory seats & mirrors, auto temperature zones, heated AND cooled seats, etc.) on this edition. For this purchase I wanted to consider every van I could: I didn't buy the GM vans at the time because I am tall and their sun visors were too low and impeded my vision plus their somewhat makeshift third row seats took away 4 inches from the deck height. My brother has a Honda van and he went through a broken strut and a failed starter motor in a few months so I wasn't too impressed. I had owned two Chrysler vans previously and while OK, I did have to do a 60K mile tranny replacement on one, and besides, I felt the ride and handling on this Monterey to be more solid and quiet. When looking at the Sienna (that is why I was at the Toyota dealer) it had a nice interior but I sliced my finger on some sharp metal trying to adjust the third row seat and that turned me off of them. I had the band-aid on it while I drove this van home. The 4.2 engine has confident power in every range from take-off to freeway speeds with more in reserve. The transmission, while a basic 4 speed, shifts smooth and quiet. It easily tows my utility trailer but I added Air Lift air bags to keep the back end level for the trailer. The front seats are, in particular, worth mentioning; I am a big guy and these are solid, comfortable, supportive and the leather still looks very good. After putting 55K miles on it I've had no major mechanical or electrical failures, just one bad tire pressure sensor. The interior materials, the dashboard, door panels, carpets, etc, are all wearing very well. WISH LIST: Like everyone, I'd like better gas mileage...I get 15-16 in town and max out at 20 on highway, but I usually carry 300lbs+ of additional items in this vehicle for my work. Also, while the engine runs very well, it is a mature design and it sounds quite coarse compared to my wife's Buick Northstar V8. I can't imagine how nice this van would be updated with the Ford 3.5 Duratec and 6 speed auto. With 3-5 more MPG and a slightly modernized interior look, it might have still been a contender!