Used 1997 Toyota Previa

1997 Toyota Previa
List price range

Pros

  • Powerful engine and unique shape.

Cons

  • High price. All-new replacement is being introduced later this year. (Of course, that one doesn't have a supercharged engine.)

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

What runs on supercharged power, has available all-wheel drive, met 1997 passenger car side-impact standards six years early, is as reliable as a Retriever, and boasts one of the most uniquely attractive shapes on the road? A high-profile sports car? A concept vehicle from the early '90s? Give up? It's the Toyota Previa minivan. That's right. A minivan. And in addition to all of these fine attributes, the Previa adds dual airbags, comfortable seating for seven, optional antilock brakes, and up to 152.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Toyota minivans come only with a supercharged engine this year; a wise move by product planners since the old base four-cylinder engine was a wheezemeister when it came to traversing anything with an incline. Previas are sold in DX or step-up LE trim, either rear-drive or with permanent All-Trac four-wheel drive.

Acceleration with the 161-horsepower, 2.4-liter supercharged engine is strong. However, it tends to be noisy, and gas mileage isn't the greatest. Worse yet, premium fuel is recommended. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. The engine is mounted amidships, below the floor, but major service points are accessible from under the front hood. Although this is the Previa's last year, Toyota has tried to quiet down some of the engine racket with the addition of more sound deadening material.

Seven people sit in reasonable comfort, with a fair amount of cargo space out back. Either or both sides of the split rear seat folds outward against the bodysides for extra cargo-hauling capacity, while the two-passenger center seat can be removed completely. Swivel-recline captain's chairs can be installed instead, and two-wheel-drive LE Previas can have dual power moonroofs--that's right, a pair of openings to the sky. Standard LE fittings include power door locks and windows, as well as dual air conditioners.

Unlike some competitors, Previas exhibit a distinctively rounded profile--one of the first minivans to go with curvaceous lines rather than a boxy shape. Previas aren't exactly cheap, and lack a V6 engine option, but like other Toyotas, they provoke relatively few complaints from owners. Unfortunately, people haven't been buying the Previa fast enough to suit Toyota, so this will be its last year.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Toyota Previa.

My Favorite Van Ever
Dennis, 11/12/2008
I have owned lots of vans, and the Previa is far and away the best van I have ever owned. Build quality is unbelievable (it's a Toyota, stupid), handling is exemplary with the mid- engine and AWD. Fuel mileage is 19 mpg around town, with up to 24 on the highway. I'm a Toyota salesman, and I sold this van new to an engineer and bought it from the family after he passed away. I constantly am amazed with the number of people who ask me if I want to sell it. Never is a hundred years.
Mom's Taxi Babies Ride
Joel G, 4/14/2010
Sold 86 Toyota Van 285K miles to be replaced with 97 Previa with 1st baby coming in Jun. Perfect to carry 2nd kid in 99. Also carried Mom, Dad, Father-in-law to doctor's appt. Use mostly for reserve weekend duty. Did not change remote bat 6 yrs later. Did reg maint oil/filter chg every 3K. Used in business for 6 yrs as modified pick up truck by removing middle seat & folding 3rd row. Kids love this because they can lie down and sleep and watch tv. Our kids and parents in their 80s enjoyed trips to NY, VA, FL, LA, GA, TN, SC, NC, AL, TX, MA, CO. With this economy we are glad to have Toyotas in our family. Camry 02 replaced 88 Celica. Convinced five younger brothers to get Toyotas. They did.
Best Minivan ever
Alf Skrastins, 4/14/2008
My 1997 AWD Previa is the third one that I have owned. I previously had a 1991 and a 1994. All three have been completely trouble free, for a total of over 620K mi. The supercharger gives the 2.4 litre engine the punch of a V6, while delivering great gas mileage. I've been searching for a replacement for 5 years, but nothing made these days even comes close. The Sienna is too long, fat, low and is just not as much fun. If Toyota ever made a reasonable replacement for the Previa, I would buy it in an instance.
The Best Van Ever Made Period.
dysphonix, 1/7/2003
Excellent, reliable car. Great handling on street, snow, rain, etc. Good acceleration for a car its size. Reliable...I have over 140.000 miles on mine, and never gave me any trouble or has broken down. Not even a radiator hose! Quality Japanese engineering. Too bad they discontinued it.
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Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
16 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
161 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Toyota Previa features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Poor

More about the 1997 Toyota Previa
Used 1997 Toyota Previa Overview

The Used 1997 Toyota Previa is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include LE 3dr Minivan, DX All-Trac 3dr Minivan AWD, LE All-Trac 3dr Minivan AWD, and DX 3dr Minivan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Toyota Previa?

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