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The Toyota Previa is an MPV that excels with its space, practicality and a level of luxury some may not reach.

16 Jul 2019

The MPV game has changed over the past few years. Now, most people carriers have ended up as seven-seater crossovers, such as the Peugeot 5008 and the Mitsubishi Outlander. They mostly look good, but when it comes to space, especially in third row, they tend to fall short.

The Previa impresses with its generous space, even in the third row

While the market has shifted, there will always be one car that comes to mind when people are looking for a reliable MPV - the Toyota Previa.

The people carrier

On the outside, there is nothing hiding the fact that the Previa is a people mover. Its squared-off, boxy looks aren't like the more streamlined and sportier contenders in the seven-seater crossover segment.

The Previa's sharpened nose helps to offset its boxy shape significantly

Still, it sports a rather characterful fascia, thanks to its tapered, bold lines. However, what the Previa excels in isn't in the looks department, but what lies inside.

A lounge-like space

The winning formula of the Previa is the amount of space it provides. Its wheelbase of 2,950mm means that there is a significant amount of legroom for three rows of seats.

Because of this, the third row can comfortably accommodate full-sized adults. This is unique, as the third row of most seven-seaters are usually more suited for children.

If you're only ferrying four around, the second row can be fully stretched out

If there is no need for the last row, it can be folded completely flat into the floor electronically. This allows for the second row to be stretched out and set into rather interesting configurations.

With the third row gone, the second row can now be adjusted to slide almost completely to the rear. The two seats can also recline, giving it a business-class like experience.

A relaxed drive

The relaxed nature of the Previa continues in the driver's seat. While seating position is high, it offers high outward visibility thanks to its large windows - useful for an MPV of this size.

With big windows and a well-weighted steering wheel, the Previa is not hard to place on the road

It's also easy to drive, with a well-weighted steering wheel making tight manoeuvres an easy task. While the Previa is not decked out in any latest safety assistance systems such as Toyota's Safety Sense, its easy-to-drive nature negates the need for them.

Its 2.4-litre naturally aspirated lump puts out a humble 168bhp and 224Nm of torque. But it doesn't feel underpowered, as its CVT transmission does a good job in keeping everything within the powerband.

The de facto MPV

Toyota has always been at the forefront when it comes to MPVs. Sitting between other people carrier options from the brand like the Prius+ Hybrid and the Alphard, the Previa strikes a great balance between space, practicality and luxury.

The Previa is a good MPV, but its price might cause some to head towards European choices

But at $161,988 (as of 12 July 2019), the Previa comes very close to European seven-seat competitors. The more spirited and turbocharged Volkswagen Sharan, for example, goes for $163,400. More competitively, the 2.0-litre Seat Alhambra is currently going for $155,400.

That said, there's no doubting the dependability and familiarity of the Toyota Previa that allow it to be a strong contender in its segment.

Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


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Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC with VVT-i

Engine Cap





125kW (168 bhp) / 6000 rpm



224 Nm / 4000 rpm




Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


11.2 km/L

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