|Also called||Toyota Canarado (Asia Pacific)
Toyota Estima (Japan)
Toyota Tarago (Australia)
|Assembly||Japan: Kariya, Aichi
Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Motomachi plant)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||3-door minivan
|Predecessor||Toyota TownAce/MasterAce Surf (R20/R30)|
|Successor||Toyota Sienna (North America only)|
The Toyota Previa, also known as the Toyota Estima (エスティマ) in Japan, Toyota Canarado in the Asia Pacific, and Toyota Tarago in Australia, is an MPV or multi-purpose vehicle (known as a minivan in North America) produced by Toyota since 1990. The name "Previa" is derived from the Spanish and Italian for "preview," as Toyota saw the first Previa as a vehicle that would preview technologies used in future minivans. Along with the Toyota Sienna, the Previa is the second largest minivan in Toyota's line-up after the bigger and more luxurious Alphard/Vellfire (which is not offered in most Western markets).
First generation (XR10, XR20; 1990–1999)
|Production||January 1990 – December 1999|
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Motomachi plant)|
|Designer||Tokuo Fukuichi; David Doyle (1987)|
|Layout||Front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout
Front mid-engine, four-wheel-drive layout
|Engine||2.4 L 2TZ-FE I4 (gasoline)
2.4 L 2TZ-FZE I4 (supercharged gasoline)
2.2 L 3C-T I4 (turbocharged diesel)
2.2 L 3C-TE I4 (turbocharged diesel)
|Wheelbase||112.8 in (2,865 mm)|
|Length||1991–92, 1995–97: 4,750 mm (187.0 in)
1993–94: 4,760 mm (187.4 in)
|Width||1991–94: 1,801 mm (70.9 in)
1995–97: 1,798 mm (70.8 in)
|Height||1991–94 RWD: 1,745 mm (68.7 in)
1995–97 RWD: 1,781 mm (70.1 in)
1991–94 AWD: 1,755 mm (69.1 in)
1995–2001 AWD: 1,791 mm (70.5 in)
|Curb weight||1,703 kg (3,755 lb)|
The first generation, designed by Toyota designer Tokuo Fukuichi and Calty designer David Doyle in 1987 (patent filed December 24, 1987), was introduced in January 1990, had only one sliding side door for the rear passengers. It featured a unique mid-engined platform, where the inline four cylinder gasoline-powered engine was installed almost flat (at a 75-degree angle), beneath the front seats. Installing the engine in this configuration allowed moderately easy access to the spark plugs, which were located underneath a panel on the upper left-side of the vehicle, after removing the front passenger seat, the carpet, and an access panel. All engine-driven accessories, such as the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and radiator fan, are accessible from the front hood, driven off the front of the engine by an accessory driveshaft, and is known as the Supplemental Accessory Drive System, or "SADS." This allows for even front/rear weight distribution, which benefits ride quality and handling. However, it also prevents the installation of a larger engine, while the cost could not be relayed by sharing the platform with other vehicles.
The first generation Previa was 4,750 mm (187.0 in) long and 1,803 mm (71.0 in) wide. In Japan, two smaller versions, the Toyota Estima Lucida and Toyota Estima Emina, were produced, which were approximately 110 mm (4.3 in) narrower and 70 mm (2.8 in) shorter than the standard model. The reason for the difference between the smaller Emina and Lucida models is the vehicle tax system in Japan, which is based on the product of length and width of the car, and the smaller variants fall into a lower tax band. The Estima Emina and Estima Lucida were also available with a 2.2 litre diesel engine (3C-T and 3C-TE). In Japan, the Estima was exclusive to Toyota Japanese dealerships called Toyota Store.
The first generation Previa was available in both rear- and all-wheel drive versions (called All-Trac) and powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) JIS (99 kW) 4-cylinder 2.4-litre fuel injection engine. Available with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox, this Previa also seated seven or eight people, with three seating configurations offered (North America only received the seven passenger configurations, however). All configurations have a driver and front passenger seat forward, and a three-seat bench seat at the rear that splits and folds flat against the sides of the cabin. The 8-seat configuration contains a 2/1 split swiveling bench seat in the middle row, while the 7-seat configurations contain either two independently swiveling captain's chairs (referred to as "Quad Seating"), in the middle row or a two seat bench offset towards the driver's side. The third row is also better upholstered in the 7-seat version. It was available with either 4-wheel disc brakes or traditional front disc/rear drum brake setup, with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) as an option.
In the United States, the Previa was sold from March 1990 (for the 1991 model year) to 1997. It was imported from Japan to compete with Chrysler Corporation's successful Dodge Caravan minivan, and its twins Chrysler Town and Country and Plymouth Voyager; Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca accused Toyota of dumping the Previa in the United States in order to steal market share in the minivan market from Chrysler. However, his claims were never substantiated. While the Previa proved more popular than the Toyota Van it replaced, it failed to steal any significant share from the Chrysler minivans due to its high price, odd styling, poor fuel economy, and weak engines, as well as how Chrysler launched redesigned versions of its minivans at the same time that Toyota launched the Previa. The mid-engine design proved to have a significant weakness – the inability to incorporate larger engine sizes, which proved a significant problem as American drivers were used to having more power; the Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler models were sold with available V6 engines. Starting with the 1994 model year, Toyota solved this problem by offering a Roots-type supercharger with air-to-air intercooler, providing 6psi of boost (these models were called the "S/C"), bringing the engine power up to a competitive 160 hp (120 kW) and increasing fuel mileage by 6 mpg (miles per gallon) raising it to 23 mpg instead of 17 mpg . Initially, the S/C engine was only available as an option on the LE for the 1994 model year and all models for 1995. For the 1996 model year, the normally aspirated engine was discontinued, and the S/C became the standard engine on all trim levels everywhere the Previa was sold excluding the smaller Estimas which were re-badged as Previas. The United States version of the Previa was discontinued after the 1997 model year, replaced by the more traditionally designed, front-wheel-drive, U.S.-designed and -built, Camry-based Sienna. A few Americans have obtained the newer Previa model (and first generation Japan-spec Estimas), but the U.S. DOT and EPA restrictions against "grey-market" import vehicles are very stringent.
The first generation Previa was marketed in the Netherlands between 1991 and 1994. In 1994 the supercharged or SC model was made standard on all Previas. The only engine available was a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine until 1995. Trim levels were base (later renamed to i denoting an injection engine), GL, GLi and GXi. The 2.2-litre diesel version was a popular grey import.
In Australia, the Tarago was offered in GL/GLI, GLS, and GLX forms with 7–8 passenger seating from 1991 models. In addition to the Australian market, there were various special edition models available, which varied in trim levels. These include the RV (either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic with 4WD), commemorative Rugby World Cup editions and Getaway. Feature-wise, all of the special edition models are marketed between the base GLI and GLX models. When the later-style update models were released in Australia, the top of the line GLS model was renamed "Ultima" and the Getaway became a mainstay trim level, being renamed Getaway II.
- The 5-speed manual Previas (North American models) were made from 1991 through 1993; none of these have a supercharger.
- Starting in 1992, Previas (North American models) came with a driver's side air bag and third brake-light with dual airbags becoming standard on 1994–97 models.
- 1992–1997 North American Previa models also came with a swivel feature on the optional middle-row captain's chairs; the 1991 models had fixed optional captain's chairs.
- Available on Previas outside the U.S., was an ice-maker/refrigerator that doubled as a beverage heater called the Hot/Cool Box.
- The supercharged engine is different from the normally aspirated engine, owing to a slight decrease in compression ratio and stronger engine internals. The supercharger is engaged on-demand by an electromagnetic clutch, based on input from the engine management system computer (the Engine Control Unit, or ECU).
- Previas have optional dual moonroofs: A power horizontal-sliding only glass moonroof above the middle row of passengers, and a pop-up glass moonroof above the front seats.
- Previas were also the first van to pass all US safety standards as pertaining to front impact, driver air bag, center-mounted brake light, ABS, daylights, etc.
- Gas mileage is below average (11-13L/100 km or 18.1–21.4mpg city, 10-11L/100 km or 21.4–23.5mpg highway); the small 4-cyl engine needs to work a bit harder owing to the power to weight ratio of the vehicle, compared with today's 6-cyl engines. The addition of the supercharger slightly improves power and gives better fuel consumption.
- The Previa gives a practically omniscient view, excluding the pillars behind the front doors. This also turns the van into a greenhouse, accumulating extreme heat in a short period of time, although solar control glass later became an option, to help alleviate the problem.
- Previas are affectionately called "eggvans", "eggs", or "beans", because of their shape.
- In the United States, first generation Previa model variations, in order of lowest to highest price/option features, are: DX, DX All-Trac, DX S/C, LE, LE All-Trac, LE S/C, LE S/C All-Trac (where S/C = Supercharged and AllTrac = 4WD)
- The front passenger seat and a section of floor pan must be removed to perform a tune up because there is not enough room to remove spark plug leads or spark plugs.
- When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the 1996 model in the offset frontal crash test, it revealed many safety problems: the cabin structure was unstable, the steering wheel moved upward all the way to the windshield, the lap belt tore which allowed the dummy to end up in a partially reclining position, and there were high forces on both of the lower legs, in which the IIHS evaluated it "Poor".
- In some countries (mainly Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom) unsold Estimas and Lucidas were re-badged as 1995/1996 Previas.
Second generation (XR30, XR40; 2000–2005)
|Production||January 2000 – December 2005|
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Motomachi plant)|
|Engine||2.0 L 1CD-FTV I4 diesel
2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4
3.0 L 1MZ-FE V6
CVT (Hybrid only)
|Wheelbase||2,900 mm (114.2 in)|
|Length||4,750 mm (187.0 in)|
|Width||1,790 mm (70.5 in)|
|Height||1,770 mm (69.7 in)|
|Curb weight||1,640–1,850 kg (3,616–4,079 lb)|
The first generation Previa was sold outside the United States until 2000, when a new dynamically designed front wheel drive second generation replaced it. The second generation was not available in North America. The North American market received the Toyota Sienna. The second generation Previa had a slightly longer wheelbase (2900 mm) and was both narrower (1790 mm) and lower (1770 mm) than the first one; it switched to FF layout and was based on the Camry platform. It was produced with passenger doors on both sides and offered space for up to six, seven or eight passengers and, as with the first generation, was sold as the Estima in Japan and as the Tarago in Australia. The range available in Australia was the GLi, GLX and Ultima. The Ultima version was targeted as a competitor of the Chrysler's Plymouth Voyager.
Models sold on the European markets were available with both gasoline and diesel-powered 4-cylinder engines. The diesel engine was a 2.0 L 1CD-FTV with 116 hp (87 kW) and the gasoline-powered one a 2.4 L 2AZ-FE with 156 hp (116 kW). Both models featured a 5-speed manual transmission as the part of standard equipment, while a 4-speed automatic was available as an option on gasoline-powered model.
Australian models were only available with the 2.4 L petrol engine and a 4-speed automatic.
The second generation Estima Hybrid employed the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive and used a single electric motor and a mechanical CVT in its transmission and had been on sale in Japan since June 2001. It is claimed by Toyota to be the world's first hybrid minivan.
Third generation (XR50; 2006–present)
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Motomachi plant)|
|Engine||2.4 L 2AZ-FE I4
3.5 L 2GR-FE V6
|Wheelbase||2,950 mm (116.1 in)|
|Length||4,795 mm (188.8 in)|
|Width||1,800 mm (70.9 in)|
|Height||1,750 mm (68.9 in)|
|Curb weight||1,725–1,915 kg (3,803–4,222 lb)|
The third generation was introduced in 2006 in the Japanese and Australian markets as Estima and Tarago, respectively, and as Previa elsewhere. Features include an available second-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive drivetrain, automatic parallel and back-in parking, track-mounted second row reclining seats with footrests, and power-folding split third row seats. It was facelifted in 2009. G-BOOK was added to the list of optional features.
As with the previous generation, the Australian version of the automobile continued to use a 2.4L I4 engine. In February 2007, a 3.5L V6 engine (202 kW (271 hp), 340 N·m (250 ft·lbf) torque) became available in order for the automobile to remain competitive against its main rivals in Australia, the international Honda Odyssey, the Kia Carnival/Sedona, and the Hyundai iMax. The 2.4L engine was widely criticized for lacking torque. It is known as the Toyota Tarago in Australia.
In some markets such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, Toyota announced the V6 Previa 3.5L in January 2007.
The Previa continues to be excluded from North America as the locally produced Sienna occupies that market.
Notable about this generation was its absence in Europe. In many parts of the continent, the price setter in this segment has, since the late 1990s, been a joint venture vehicle produced in Palmela, Portugal by Ford Europe and Volkswagen, the Ford Galaxy/Volkswagen Sharan/SEAT Alhambra. By 2004, the second generation Galaxy/Sharan was coming to the end of its model life and run-out versions were heavily discounted. Competitors found themselves responding to the discounts or losing market share. In European markets Toyota-branded vehicles often achieve a price premium, but scope for this is not unlimited. Ford Europe's third generation Galaxy, launched in 2006, was also aggressively priced, which offers one clue as to why Toyota ended Previa sales in Europe, where healthier margins are available on smaller slightly nimbler minivans and in the still hugely lucrative luxury four wheel drive segment.
The third generation Estima Hybrid, currently only sold in Japan and Hong Kong, uses a drivetrain very similar to the Lexus RX400h with two electric motors – one for the front wheels plus a second, rear-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels for four-wheel drive capability.
- Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha. "US Patent D305624". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- "1990–2000 Toyota Estima". Right Drive. Canada. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Matras, John (April 1994). "Supercharging to the rescue". Popular Science.
- "IIHS-HLDI: Toyota Previa". Iihs.org. 2005-09-02. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
- Alex Nunez (June 13, 2006). "Toyota Estima Hybrid gets a full redesign". Autoblog Green. Retrieved November 20, 2009.
- "Japanese Production Sites" (Press release). Japan: Toyota. 2015-03-06. Archived from the original on 2015-03-18.
- Tan, Paul. "Toyota Estima receives a facelift in Japan". Paultan.org. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
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