I have owned this car for three years now. What Car? magazine generally fails to take into consideration its prime purpose. The Previa is a people-mover and as such it excels at that.
Seven or eight seats and top-class reliability and safety are what matter in this market. I have no complaints either on comfort or on-the-road ability. The engine became much more lively at 10,000 miles, the steering is nicely weighted and it is a joy to drive on long distances. On occasion it can even feel 'sporty'.
Running costs are also a major consideration, and although short town runs can bring about 22mpg, motorway driving is upwards of 37mpg. I average about 26-27 mpg. Other costs have been the three annual services and a set of front tyres. That's all. The extras may not be quite as plentiful as in other cars, but you do have large double rear sliding doors, benches that can fold down to make a bed, adequate storage and boot that can carry a week's shopping even with eight people aboard. There's climate control, too, and I have an automatic, which is great in slow or town traffic.
However, there are only six three-point seatbelts with two lap belts in the middle seats, and the rear benches cannot be removed or folded into floor.
Overall, though, it's a great MPV and I would choose it again over the rest (I have driven the Citroen C8, Chrysler Grand Voyager and Renault Grand Espace, which, although very nice in their own ways, don't quite match the Previa).
We bought a new 2.0-litre diesel T-Spirit. It has everything, nut most importantly is has double sliding doors, very dark tinted windows and a reasonably sized boot that can accommodate everything that a family of five needs.
The Chrysler Voyager was also on our list, but the quality of the vehicle was suspect and the service provided by the salesman at our local garage was rubbish. Toyota sales staff by comparison were excellent. We realised that our future ownership would be much better if we went for a Toyota.
We get about 35mpg. You must ensure that your tyres are inflated to the correct level (much higher than a saloon car) otherwise you will go through tyres every 10,000 miles.
This is my first Toyota and I am very pleased. With two fully grown teenagers and my disabled mum to ferry around the Previa is ideal and swallows all of the luggage, wheel chair etc with no problems at all. Adaptability is excellant and the individual seats are easy to remove without breaking my back. The sliding rear doors are great with kids in supermarket carparks and the vehicle is comparatively roomy, even when fully laden.
Driving is good, not perhaps the fastest of diesels these days but maintains well on motorways. I find fuel consumption great ( I had a 4ltr Jeep before) and my only gripe would be that I find the driver's seat a little short (I'm 5'9")
I bought mine as a 10 year investment to run kids backward and forward to Uni etc, so I looked at all of the key competitors in the MPV market in detail but nothing came close in terms of practicality, running costs, equipment levels, retention of investment, etc - event the AA man said that he very rarely attends one. Thoroughly recommended.
Bought this car in January 06 from a main dealer in south east. Have already had to change front brake pads. CV joints have gone apparently and now have to pay over £1100 to have them fixed. This was NOT covered under the warranty!!!! Dont think a car of this age and only having done 35,000 miles should need cv joints replacing. I have owned toyotas for some years now and never had to incur such large costs. Other than that a good car to drive.
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