Toyota Previa

The Toyota Previa: Why This Bizarre Van Deserves More Respect

The Toyota Previa: Ah, what a peculiar and endearing relic of the past. For those of us of a certain age, reminiscing about the days when every family owned a minivan is like taking a trip down memory lane. But we’re not talking about those modern, cool minivans with off-road capabilities and rooftop tents. No, we’re recalling the egg-shaped contraptions that no one really loved but secretly admired. Back then, dads wouldn’t be caught dead driving one, but they held a strange kind of respect for these vehicles.

In the early ’90s, minivans were an essential fixture in every suburban driveway, and we embraced it. Fast forward to today, and it seems like a whopping 80% of those minivans have been replaced by giant SUVs that, let’s face it, are essentially just glorified minivans. It’s a bit maddening, isn’t it?

While most minivans from that era were designed with practicality as the main goal, there were a few eccentric outliers that graced only the bravest and most adventurous parents’ driveways. The undisputed king of all these bizarre minivans was none other than the Toyota Previa. Kneel before its quirky majesty and behold its wonder!

Toyota Previa
Toyota Previa

Why is the Toyota Previa so popular?

The Toyota Previa is a delightful blend of nostalgia and eccentricity, offering a dose of nostalgia for those who remember it from their childhood and a touch of rarity with its rather quirky features. It’s not uncommon for people to playfully liken the Toyota Previa to a supercar, despite it being a supercharged, mid-engined, all-wheel-drive minivan. This comparison is a humorous cliche that’s tossed around the internet like a college kid’s hacky sack.

In reality, the funny little van isn’t particularly fast or remarkable in most measurable ways. These peculiarities are indeed accurate, but they don’t elevate its driving experience above that of a Honda Odyssey or Dodge Caravan from the same era. However, it’s worth noting that the Toyota Previa is possibly more beloved today than it was during its heyday.

People adore the Previa for three key reasons: Quality, nostalgia, and irony. These are all valid and excellent reasons to have a fondness for a car. The quality aspect stems from Toyota’s long-standing reputation for crafting durable, reliable vehicles that stand the test of time. So, if the Previa stirs up nostalgia and you appreciate its quirky features, rest assured that it’s still a Toyota and likely to offer a satisfying ownership experience. Nostalgia is straightforward; even if your parents didn’t own a Previa, you probably knew someone who did or have childhood memories of these unique vans. As for the irony factor, it’s a bit whimsical, but car enthusiasts are known for their quirks. As mentioned earlier, we get a kick out of playfully dubbing this minivan a supercar. While its specs may not be earth-shattering, they do add a fun twist to a minivan.

Is the Toyota Previa reliable?

The Toyota Previa continues to enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being a dependable and robust van. It’s genuinely impressive how Toyota managed to integrate such unique features into a minivan while still ensuring its reliability.

The Toyota Previa was a predecessor to Toyota’s current minivan offering, the Toyota Sienna, and it was in production from 1991 to 1997. As previously mentioned, the Previa boasted an impressive list of features, none of which are typical for minivans. Among these features, the Supercharger stands out as one of the most extreme.

Both versions of the Previa were quite remarkable from a specifications perspective. The base model was a naturally aspirated, rear-wheel-drive, mid-engined minivan with a manual transmission, delivering 138 hp. For those seeking an even more thrilling ride, there was the Supercharged, all-wheel-drive version, packing 161 hp. However, it’s worth noting that the supercharged version only came with an automatic transmission.

Despite all these unconventional features, the Previa continues to be renowned for its reliability, provided it received proper care during its prime years.

What are the weirdest interior features of the Toyota Previa?

The Toyota Previa is brimming with unique features that set it apart from other vans. To truly appreciate its quirkiness, I recommend watching Doug DeMuro’s fantastic video showcasing all these peculiar features in action. Rather than listing them all here, the video provides a comprehensive look at what makes the Previa so distinct.

However, a few standout features worth mentioning include its remarkably long windshield, the placement of the emergency brake on the left side, and the rotating captain’s chairs. These chairs, in particular, are a personal favorite as they transform the Previa into an ideal conversion camper or a versatile road trip companion.

No matter which aspect of the Toyota Previa captures your fascination, it’s a van that has enchanted car enthusiasts for decades. While we can only hope that minivans regain this level of coolness in the future, it’s always a treat to revisit the unique charm of the Previa.

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