Toyota Estima

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Toyota Estima

First generation (XR10, XR20; 1990–2000)

Toyota Previa rear

The first generation, designed by Toyota designer Tokuo Fukuichi and Calty designer David Doyle in 1987 (patent filed December 24, 1987), was introduced in January 1990, had only one sliding side door for the rear passengers. It featured a unique mid-engined platform, where the inline four cylinder gasoline -powered engine was installed almost flat (at a 75-degree angle), beneath the front seats.

Installing the engine in this configuration allowed moderately easy access to the spark plugs. which were located underneath a panel on the upper left-side of the vehicle, after removing the front passenger seat, the carpet, and an access panel. All engine-driven accessories, such as the alternator, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and radiator fan, are accessible from the front hood, driven off the front of the engine by an accessory driveshaft, and is known as the Supplemental Accessory Drive System, or SADS.

This allows for even front/rear weight distribution, which benefits ride quality and handling. However, it also prevents the installation of a larger engine, while the cost could not be relayed by sharing the platform with other vehicles.

The first generation Previa was 4,750#160;mm (187.0#160;in) long and 1,803#160;mm (71.0#160;in) wide. In Japan, two smaller versions, the Toyota Estima Lucida and Toyota Estima Emina . were produced, which were approximately 110#160;mm (4.3#160;in) narrower and 70#160;mm (2.8#160;in) shorter than the standard model.

The reason for the difference between the smaller Emina and Lucida models is the vehicle tax system in Japan, which is based on the product of length and width of the car. The smaller variants fall into a lower tax band. The Estima Emina and Estima Lucida were also available with a 2.2 litre diesel engine (3C-T and 3C-TE). [ 2 ]

The first generation Previa was available in both rear- and all-wheel drive versions (called All-Trac ) and powered by a 135#160;hp (101#160;kW) JIS (99#160;kW) 4-cylinder 2.4-litre fuel injection engine. Available with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual gearbox, this Previa also seated seven or eight people, with three seating configurations offered (North America only received the seven passenger configurations, however).

All configurations have a driver and front passenger seat forward, and a three-seat bench seat at the rear that splits and folds flat against the sides of the cabin. The 8-seat configuration contains a 2/1 split swiveling bench seat in the middle row, while the 7-seat configurations contain either two independently swiveling captain’s chairs (referred to as Quad Seating), in the middle row or a two seat bench offset towards the driver’s side.

The third row is also better upholstered in the 7-seat version. It was available with either 4-wheel disc brakes or traditional front disc/rear drum brake setup, with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) as an option.

United States

1997 model year Previa S/C AWD (last model year in the US)

In the United States, the Previa was sold from March 1990 (for the 1991 model year) to 1997. It was imported from Japan to compete with Chrysler Corporation’s successful Dodge Caravan minivan, and its twins Chrysler Town and Country and Plymouth Voyager ; Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca accused Toyota of dumping the Previa in the United States in order to steal market share in the minivan market from Chrysler. However, his claims were never substantiated.

While the Previa proved more popular than the Toyota Van it replaced, it failed to steal any significant share from the Chrysler minivans due to its high price, odd styling, poor fuel economy, and weak engines, as well as how Chrysler launched redesigned versions of its minivans at the same time that Toyota launched the Previa. The mid-engine design proved to have a significant weakness – the inability to incorporate larger engine sizes, which proved a significant problem as American drivers were used to having more power; the Dodge/Plymouth/Chrysler models were sold with available V6 engines.

Starting with the 1994 model year, Toyota solved this problem by offering a Roots-type supercharger with air-to-air intercooler, providing 6psi of boost (these models were called the S/C), bringing the engine power up to a competitive 160#160;hp (120#160;kW) and increasing fuel mileage by 6 mpg (miles per gallon) raising it to 23 mpg instead of 17 mpg. Initially, the S/C engine was only available as an option on the LE for the 1994 model year and all models for 1995.

For the 1996 model year, the normally aspirated engine was discontinued, and the S/C became the standard engine on all trim levels everywhere the Previa was sold excluding the smaller Estimas which were re-badged as Previas. The United States version of the Previa was discontinued after the 1997 model year, replaced by the more traditionally designed, front-wheel-drive, U.S.-designed and -built, Camry -based Sienna.

A few Americans have obtained the newer Previa model (and first generation Japan-spec Estimas), but the U.S. DOT and EPA restrictions against grey-market import vehicles are very stringent.


In the Netherlands. the first generation Previa was marketed there between 1991 and 1994.In 1995 the supercharged or SC model was made standard on all previa’s. The only engine available was a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine until 1995. Trim levels were base (later renamed to i denoting an injection engine), GL, GLi and GXi. The 2.2-litre diesel version was a popular grey import .

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia, the Tarago (Previa, Estima and informally Polly Trolley in New Zealand) was offered in GL/GLI, GLS, and GLX forms with 7-8 passenger seating from 1991- current models In addition to the Australian market, there were various special edition models available, which varied in trim levels. These include the RV (either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic with 4WD), commemorative Rugby World Cup editions and Getaway. Feature-wise, all of the special edition models are marketed between the base GLI and GLX models.

When the later-style update models were released in Australia, the top of the line GLS model was renamed Ultima and the Getaway became a mainstay trim level, being renamed Getaway II.

As with other areas the previa was sold, in 1995 the only engine available was the supercharged or SC engine


Toyota Motors Philippines offered the Previa in the mid-1990s before the first-generation model was discontinued. In recent years, pre-owned Lucidas and Eminas have been imported from Japan and converted to left-hand-drive before being sold in the gray market. These converted imports still retain their left-side sliding rear doors.

Additional notes

The 5-speed manual Previas (North American models) were made from 1991 through 1993; none of these has a supercharger. [ 3 ]

Starting in 1992, Previas (North American models) came with a driver’s side air bag and third brake-light with dual airbags becoming standard on 1994–97 models.

1992–1997 North American Previa models also came with a swivel feature on the optional middle-row captain’s chairs; the 1991 models had fixed optional captain’s chairs.

Available on Previas outside the U.S. was an ice-maker/refrigerator that doubled as a beverage heater called the Hot/Cool Box.

The supercharged engine is different from the normally aspirated engine, owing to a slight decrease in compression ratio and stronger engine internals. The supercharger is engaged on-demand by an electromagnetic clutch, based on input from the engine management system computer (the Engine Control Unit, or ECU).

Previas have optional dual moonroofs: A power horizontal-sliding only glass moonroof above the middle row of passengers, and a pop-up glass moonroof above the front seats.

Previas were also the first van to pass all US safety standards as pertaining to front impact, driver air bag, center-mounted brake light, ABS, daylights, etc.

Gas mileage is below average (11-13L/100#160;km or 18.1-21.4mpg city, 10-11L/100#160;km or 21.4-23.5mpg highway); the small 4-cyl engine needs to work a bit harder owing to the power to weight ratio of the vehicle, compared with today’s 6-cyl engines. The addition of the supercharger slightly improves power and gives better fuel consumption.

The Previa gives a practically omniscient view, excluding the pillars behind the front doors. This also turns the van into a greenhouse, accumulating extreme heat in a short period of time, although solar control glass later became an option, to help alleviate the problem.

Previas are affectionately called eggvans, eggs, or beans, because of their shape.

In the United States, first generation Previa model variations, in order of lowest to highest price/option features, are: DX, DX All-Trac. DX S/C, LE, LE All-Trac. LE S/C, LE S/C All-Trac (where S/C = Supercharged and AllTrac = 4WD)

The front drivers seat and a section of floor pan must be removed to perform a tune up because there is not enough room to remove spark plug leads or spark plugs.

When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the 1996 model in the offset frontal crash test, it revealed many safety problems: the cabin structure was unstable, the steering wheel moved upward all the way to the windshield, the lap belt tore which allowed the dummy to end up in a partially reclining position, and there were high forces on both of the lower legs, in which the IIHS evaluated it Poor. [ 4 ]

In some countries (mainly Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom) unsold Estimas and Lucidas were re-badged as 1995/1996 Previas.

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