Minivan; Built in Japan
  • 3-door van
  • longitudinal mid-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,300 – $3,400*


1992 Toyota Previa


1991 Toyota Previa


1993 Toyota Previa LE


1991 Toyota Previa interior


1991 Toyota Previa interior

Pros:
  • Antilock brakes (optional)
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Climate controls
  • Engine noise
  • Fuel economy

With its roomy, versatile nature and Toyota’s reputation for reliability and durability, the Previa qualifies as a good family vehicle.

Overview

Previa minivans went on sale in 1990 as a replacement for the Toyota Van. Previa had either rear-wheel drive or permanently engaged 4-wheel drive (All-Tracs) and were offered in either Deluxe or LE trim. The only engine was a 2.4-liter twin-cam 4-cylinder rated at 138 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission was standard; a 4-speed automatic optional. The Previa’s engine was mounted below the front seats, but tilted to one side in order to provide a flat floor. It’s accessible through a panel in the floor or from underneath the vehicle. Fluid reservoirs and other vehicle service points can be reached by opening the hood. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard on LE models and an antilock system was optional. A sliding right-side door and a one-piece liftgate augmented the front doors.

Yearly Updates

1992 Previa
Previa gains a driver-side airbag, knee bolsters under the dashboard, and a center high-mount rear stoplight, becoming the first minivan to meet all passenger-car safety requirements. Among other changes this year, antilock brakes become optional on Deluxe models as well as LE models.
1993 Previa
Only minor equipment revisions are made to the 1993 Previa.
1994 Previa
Toyota minivans add a standard passenger-side airbag and an available supercharged engine for ’94. The LE S/C and LE S/C All-Trac models arrived in showrooms in the spring. S/C denotes models equipped with the supercharged version of the Previa’s 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. It boosts power to 161 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 201 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm. Also, the previously available 5-speed manual transmission is dropped, meaning all Previas now feature the 4-speed automatic. Among the other changes this year are a new steering wheel, a pull-down strap on the inside of the rear liftgate, new front buckets seats with adjustable headrests, and a new front bumper and spoiler.
1995 Previa
The supercharged engine became available on the lower-priced DX model for 1995. This increases Previa offerings from six to eight.
1996 Previa
For ’96, Previa is available only with the supercharged engine. As a result, the number of Previa model offerings shrinks from eight to four, with the DX S/C 2WD, DX S/C All-Trac, LE S/C 2WD, and LE S/C All-Trac making up the new lineup.
1997 Previa
Revisions designed to reduce engine noise and vibration are the main changes made to the Previa, as it enters its final year of production.

Engines

longitudinal mid-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

Toyota’s new Previa minivan debuted in 1991 with only one engine, a new 2.4-liter twin-cam 4-cylinder. It produces 138 horsepower at 5000 rpm (37 more than the previous Toyota Van) and 154 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard; a 4-speed automatic is optional. The engine is uniquely mounted below the front seats, but tilted to one side in order to provide a flat floor. It’s accessible through a panel in the floor, or from underneath the vehicle. Fluid reservoirs, the air conditioning compressor, and other vehicle service points can be reached by opening the short, sloping hood. For ’94, Toyota made a new supercharged version of the same 2.4-liter engine available for both DX and LE models, as well as the DX All-Trac and LE All-Trac models. It boosts power to 161 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 201 pound-feet of torque at 3600 rpm. Also, the previously available 5-speed manual transmission was dropped, meaning all 1994-97 Previas feature only the 4-speed automatic. Toyota drops the normally aspirated engine entirely for 1996, meaning all ’96 and ’97 Previas come equipped with the supercharged engine that was a $500 option in 1995.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 154
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
19/22
17/22
18.5
Supercharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 161
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 201
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/22

Road Test

Acceleration is decent, but when worked hard the engine gets noisy and sends an annoying vibration through the floor. It’s responsive in everyday driving, however, thanks to an automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and promptly, and seldom hunts between third and fourth gears. We averaged 15 mpg in one test and 19 mpg in another. Though the 161-horsepower supercharged version doesn’t move the Previa into the fast lane, it does make this minivan more responsive, particularly in passing situations.

While the Previa holds the road well and seems composed going around corners, neither its ride nor overall handling match that of the class champion Chrysler minivans.

The wild-looking W-shaped dashboard actually works rather well, putting most controls within easy reach, though the climate controls are poorly marked. Only the rear-seat headrests keep outward vision from being absolutely panoramic. Passenger space is ample, though the split third seat is too tight to accommodate three adults, and head room beneath the sliding sunroof is only adequate for 6-footers. The center seat is removable and rear seat is split so that both halves can fold outward against the sides of the vehicle.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Toyota Previa LE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 48

Specifications

3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.8 187.2 70.8 68.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
152.3 19.8 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.4 38.9 40.1 36.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Previa 3-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 97
Injury 81
Theft 82

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: A faulty expansion valve may cause the air conditioner to gradually lose efficiency. (1992-93)
Air conditioner
Description: The (magnetic) valve for the rear air conditioner is prone to failure and the company has offered two revisions for both R-12 and R134a refrigerant systems. (1991-97)
Automatic transmission
Description: A-40 series automatic transmissions may shift harshly because rubber check balls become smaller, blow through the plate, and get dislodged. (1992-94)
Coolant leak
Description: Core plugs in the cylinder head may leak coolant. (1991)
Exhaust system
Description: In compliance with emission-control regulations, the oxygen sensor will be replaced free at the 80,000-mile maintenance. (1993-95)

Recall History

1991
Description: Certain windshield-wiper components are subject to premature failure.
1991
Description: Failure of component in Fujitsu-Ten radio causes short circuit that could result in fire.
1997
Description: Oil leakage can occur at continuous speeds above 75 mph.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.