Nobody wants a minivan these days as they are generally more boring, worse-looking, and less practical vehicles than modern large SUVs. Probably there’s one more factor – they don’t make them like they used to. Case in point – the first generation Toyota Previa built between 1990 and 1999.
This is an MPV far from being just a regular people-hauler from Japan. It has a unique mid-engine layout with the motor installed at a 75-degree angle beneath the front seats. It’s a four-cylinder supercharged engine generating 158 horsepower (118 kilowatts) and returning up to 23 miles per gallon on average. Now we are talking, right?
An example from the 1996 model year in what seems to be a very good condition is now up for sale in the World Wide Web. It’s located in California and has approximately 115,000 miles (about 185,000 kilometers) on the odometer. The photos of the car (see the gallery below) reveal a clean and well-maintained vehicle with the only bad points visible being the damaged plastics on the door panels. Other than that, everything seems to be almost perfect.
Gallery: 1996 Toyota Previa for sale
There are a couple of interesting facts about owning a Previa. For example, if you want to replace the spark plugs or check the oil, you have to remove the front passenger seat, the carpet, and an access panel to reach the engine. However, all engine-driven accessories, including the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and radiator fan, are accessible from the front hood, despite the mid-engine layout of the MPV.
In the end, the Previa turned out to be a relatively unsuccessful model for Toyota in terms of sales, especially in North America where it was replaced by the more traditionally designed, front-wheel-drive Camry-based Sienna in 1997. Still, it remains a rare piece of automotive history that can be yours for just below $5,000.