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.
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.
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.
An amazing vehicle: mid-engine, supercharged, all-wheel drive, 7-passenger with plenty of room, yet 2 inches shorter than the Camry! This was our 2nd Previa. The first was a 1992 LE AWD. We bought that one with ~37k mi, sold it with ~150k mi, and last I knew, it now has over 220k on it. I bought my '97 with 50k mi and it now has 164k. It has been VERY reliable (as was the '92) and I would buy another if they still sold them. The Sienna is nice, but it is longer, lower, and the AWD model has those stupid/expensive run-flat tires.
I love this van, it's roomy and comfortable. The captain seats are great, it runs great. We have taken it on several long distant trips and it ran perfectly. We have had no mechanical problems, it has been well taken care of. Would definitely recommend. A++