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Used car focus Toyota Previa – 2000 onwards

Previa is one of the MPV world's grandees. Originally launched in 1990, it was one of the first purpose-built people carriers on the market. The current range went on sale in 2000, with space-age looks, better practicality and, most importantly, a diesel engine (from 2001). Ten-year-old examples of the old model still fetch upwards of £2,000 – an indicator of how highly regarded Previa is.

There are two engines (the 2.0-litre D-4D diesel and 2.4-litre VVT-i petrol). GS has air-con, multi-information display, power steering, electric front and rear windows, tilt adjust steering and front foglamps; GLS with rear air-con and a single disc CD player. Range-topping CDX models also boast privacy glass and twin electrically operated sunroofs.

Previa received a minor facelift in mid-2003, with new badging to bring it into line with the rest of the Toyota line-up (T2, T3 and T-Spirit replaced GS, GLS and CDX). The spec was improved, all models now have seven-seat three-point seatbelts, the 2.4 petrol engine is Euro IV compliant and the range-topping T-Spirit has sat-nav.

Despite its bulk, Previa is agile and easy to drive. But finding a parking space big enough can be a problem. Grip is good, so it can be driven enthusiastically, but it's best on the motorway where it's a superb high-speed cruiser.

The driver is well catered for: all the major instruments are located in the centre of the dash and the driver's seat is comfortable. Wind and road noise is kept to a minimum, although the engine can be noisy at times (especially the diesel). Passengers have armchair-style seats in seven or eight-seat configuration. There's plenty of space, especially in the front and middle rows, plus generous luggage space; no fewer than 18 cubby-holes and cup/bottle holders.

The gutsy and refined 154bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has good acceleration and is nippy around town; both the 2.4 and newer 114bhp 2.0-litre D4-D diesel can easily sustain high cruising speeds.

No Euro NCAP result yet, but there's the usual airbags (including front sidebags) and ABS; brake pedal retreats in a collision; fuel cut off; and ISOFIX child seat fixing points.

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