Toyota Previa is known as Toyota Estima in Japan while in Australia it is known as Tarago. It is basically a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) produced for the first time in 1990 by Toyota. In North America it is called minivan. The term ‘Previa’ is taken from the Italian word for ‘Preview’. Toyota introduced this vehicle as a preview of technologies that would possibly be a part of Toyota’s future minivans.
First Generation (XR10, XR20; 1990–2000)
The first generation Previa was released in 1990 with only on sliding side door for the rear passengers. It was based on a mid-engine platform fitted with an inline 4-cylinder gasoline-powered engine.
Two smaller version of Previa were manufactured in Japan as the Toyota Estima Lucida and the Toyota Estima Emina. Both the vehicles were offered in a 2.2-L diesel engine (3C-T and 3C-TE) as well.
In general, the Previa was offered both as rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (known as All-Trac) versions. The first generation Previa came with a 2.4-L 4-cylinder with fuel injection engine capable of generating 135 hp (101kW) JIS (99 kW), mated to either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox.
The first generation Previa was offered in United States, Philippines, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
Second Generation (XR30, XR40; 2000–2006)
The first generation Previa remained in sales until 2000 when second generation Previa appeared in the automobile market. North American market didn’t see the second generation Previa at all rather Toyota Sienna was offered there. Compared to the previous generation, the second generation Previa was a bit larger with longer wheelbase, i.e. 2900 mm and narrower and lower as well, to say 1790 mm and 1770 mm respectively. Like first generation, it was offered as Estima in Japan and Tarago in Australia. Three different models were offered in Australia including the GLi, GLX and Ultima, where Ultima was produced to compete with the Chrysler’s Plymouth Voyager. All the Australian models came with a 2.4-L petrol engine mated to 4-speed automatic transmission.
The European models came with both petrol and diesel-powered 4-cylinder engines. The diesel engine offered was a 2.0-L 1CD-FTV producing 116 hp (87 kW), while the gasoline engine offered was a 2.4-L 2AZ-FE producing 156 hp (116 kW). Both mated to 5-speed manual as standard while 4-speed automatic was optional.
Third Generation (XR50; 2006-Present)
In 2006, the third generation Previa was launched in the Japanese as well as other markets. The features offered in third generation Previa are second generation Hybrid Synergy Drive drivetrain, automatic parallel and back-in parking, track-mounted second row reclining seats etc. G-BOOK was an optional feature.
Until February 2007, the Australian version received the same 2.4-L I4 engine which was then replaced by a more powerful 3.5-L V6 engine producing 271 hp (202 kW) and torque of 250 lb-ft (340 Nm) so as to make it a good competitor to the JDM Honda Odyssey, Kia Carnival/Sedona and the Hyundai iMax.
In January 2007, the Hong Kong along with some other markets, introduced the V6 Previa 3.5-L.