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1997 Toyota Previa Van

3dr Wgn DX S/C

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 22 MPG Highway

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  • $24,878 original MSRP
Printable Version

1997 Toyota Previa Van

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1997 Toyota Previa Van

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1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

Source: New Car Test Drive

Fresh air fun on a budget.

by Helen V. Hutchings

Regardless of what kind of powerplant is lurking under the hood, convertibles equate with fun.

But compared to their hard-topped counterparts, they also equate with premium prices. And when there's lots of horsepower, your friendly statistical forecasters in the insurance industry think the fun may get out of hand, which is why so many ragtops are saddled with sky-high premiums.

That's the beauty of the new Toyota Paseo convertible. It delivers plenty of stylish fresh-air fun, but dodges the purchase price premiums and insurance penalties associated with most other ragtops.

Yes, it's true that this new convertible costs quite a bit more than the Paseo coupe. The basic Paseo costs $13,628, including a $420 destination and delivery charge, while the topless version starts at $17,148.

But that's still a bargain price for a convertible. The only ragtops that are cheaper are the Geo Tracker and Suzuki Sidekick sport-utilities.

And with only 93 horsepower, the Paseo doesn't attract much unfavorable scrutiny from the insurance companies.

However, please don't be deceived into thinking this is some sort of anemic snail like the late and unlamented Geo Metro Convertible. With less than 2200 pounds 93 hp produces better performance here than you might expect.

Toyota introduced the Paseo early in 1991 as a 1992 model. Translated from Spanish, the name means walk or stroll, which may suggest something about the car's performance that isn't quite true (remember it has a favorable power-to-weight ratio).

Although the nifty two-door bodywork is unique to the Paseo, the rest of the car--front-drive chassis and powertrain--is shared with Toyota's subcompact Tercel line.

However, even though there's a lot of mechanical commonality, the Paseo has a distinctly sportier personality than its more conservative cousins, and is more fun to drive.

Walkaround

During our time with this car we were pleasantly surprised by the number of folks who inquired if this was the new Toyota. Just goes to show that convertibles do make people look--and maybe too, the Toyota advertising has made an impression.

Whatever the reason, our basic black convertible drew questions and attention. Toyota calls this color Satin Black Metallic, by the way, and it is one of only three in which the Paseo convertible is available. The others are Super White and Super Red. The palette is larger for Paseo coupes, with eight exterior colors offered in all.

The body panels upon which the color is sprayed and baked fit together well. Coupe or convertible, the finished car has a sporty, fun look that invites you to take it for a drive.

And if it's the convertible, well, ya gotta put the top down. No problem. Undo the latches on the windshield header and flip it down. It's almost as easy as a Mazda Miata.

Look in the trunk and you'll find the separate boot to snap over the folded top, to tidy up the appearance. When it's time to put the car away, or if weather becomes a problem, reversing the procedure is equally simple and quick.

An added thoughtful touch is the glass rear window with an integrated electric defogger, a quality feature we usually associate with much more expensive convertibles. In fact, some very pricey ragtops still have plastic rear windows, which is prone to yellowing and distortion over time.

Another nice touch: the rear quarter windows fold down with the top.

Toyota builds the Paseo at its big plant in Toyota City, Japan. Paseos ticketed for convertibilization are only partially assembled and additional structural members are added in Japan. Then they are shipped to California where a division of ASC (formerly known as American Sunroof) takes over. ASC completes the conversion and adds the high-quality, multi-layer insulated convertible top.

The Inside Story

Like the Tercel, the Paseo is a simple, straightforward car. It takes only a moment of orientation to locate all the controls, which are logically placed, well marked and operate as one would expect.

We found the Paseo surprisingly quiet and taut for a convertible. There was some wind noise noticeable from the driver's seat, but not much, and not enough to interfere with conversation, even at freeway speeds.

And equally pleasant was the ease with which conversation between front and back seat occupants was possible, without raising voices.

However, we think there won't be many occasions when you'll be talking to folks in the rear seats. This is a subcompact car, and even though the Paseo has almost as much rear seat legroom as a Ford Mustang, it's still a 2+2, and that back seat is suitable only for very short trips.

A primary mission of subcompact cars is to keep costs down, which means they don't offer much in the way of comfort and convenience features, at least not as standard equipment.

However, the Paseo is not a stripper. Standard appointments include two front air bags, reclining cloth-covered sport bucket seats in front, intermittent windshield wipers, full carpeting, and a gauge package that includes a tachometer and trip odometer.

Also standard is the digital clock, which is recessed high in the center of the dash making it easily readable day or night from anywhere in the car. An AM/fM radio with four speakers is also standard, along with the requisite cup holders.

Air conditioning, the only extra on our test car, adds $926 to the sticker price. Also available as factory options are cruise control, power windows and door locks, and an upgrade radio with a cassette player. Antilock brakes add $550, and coupe purchasers can also consider adding a moonroof ($415), as well as a rear decklid spoiler.

Ride & Drive

This straightforward, honest little car acquits itself respectably in everyday driving.

Thanks to its low curb weight, the Paseo's 1.5-liter twin-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine delivers surprisingly peppy acceleration, as well as very good fuel economy on good old unleaded regular. We liked the shift action of the manual five-speed transmission, which adds to the driving fun, but even with the optional four-speed automatic the car performs respectably compared to other small cars.

ASC seems to have done its usual good work in creating this convertible for Toyota. Although its chassis isn't quite as rigid as the coupe, an inevitable consequence of removing the roof structure, it has the solid feel we've come to associate with Toyotas over the years.

It also delivers respectable handling and a sporty but comfortable ride. This is another area where the Paseo's low weight pays high dividends. The less weight there is to shift back and forth, the quicker the response to driver commands.

The combination of crisp steering and prompt responses in avoidance maneuvers gives the Paseo a lively feel that we found surprising. It's not a Miata, but it doesn't pretend to be; and, as we noted earlier, your insurance company won't think it's a Miata, either.

Braking performance, from a front disc, rear drum system, is good--low curb weight paying yet another dividend--though we recommend popping the extra $550 for ABS, a good price for
this important active safety feature.

Final Word

Toyota has earned a solid reputation for building serviceable cars that last. In 1996, J.D. Power included the Paseo in the top five of the "Best Sporty Car" category in its Initial Quality Study.

That's a high tribute for a subcompact car, and it means you can expect your Paseo to keep delivering fun over the long haul.

We promise we won't tell your insurance agent.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084

© 1997 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1997 Toyota Previa Van

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

1997 Toyota Previa Van

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles Service adjustment 12 months/12,500 miles (24 months/18,000 miles in New York)
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

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12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*

7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**

1-year of Roadside Assistance***

160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection

CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportTM****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History ReportsTM are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1997 Toyota Previa Van

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