I'm late to the party here, but I used to own a 3.1L Lumina APV (GM dustbuster) aka, moonbuggy. Was notoriously reliable. In 14 years: head removed for bad gasket. Belt tensioner broke and fell off in the middle of the highway. At year 13, the steel frame under the engine rusted through and dropped the engine in the middle of the road (wouldn't have been so bad if the steering linkage hadn't separated when the engine fell. Good thing I was doing about 2 mph at the time). The five interchangeable removeable seats were amazingly flexible. I must have driven with a dozen different seat combinations. I rebuilt my garage roof (frame, sheathing, shingles). I put all the material in/on the Lumina APV in one trip. Must have been 1,500-2,000 lbs. Springs were crushed the whole way home. That may be why my cars don't last forever.
I never actually measured the mileage, but I could go back and forth to work for 3 full weeks (300+ miles) on a tank (16 gallon total). It must have been running well into the 20's mpg in mostly suburban driving. Even though mileage wasn't a big thing at the time, it did occur to me that it would have been an advantage to have the windshield wipers parked in the up position, providing a huge smooth front.
Belt tensioner broke and fell off in the middle of the highway.
Heh, that's gotta be so common on those motors, walk around the edges of any big parking lot, or inspect the gutters while you're walking the city streets and it seems almost inevitable you'll see one of those belt tensioners
I remember The RoadWarrior..To understand who he was, you have to go back to another time..the world was powered by the black fuel & the desert sprouted great cities..Gone now, swept away..two mighty warrior tribes went to war & touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel, they were nothing..thundering machines sputtered & stopped..Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice
Just a little story. But first, I agree that Previas are one of the best automobiles ever built and by far the best minivan. Way ahead of their time then and still ahead of their time.
I removed the heavy seats from my dad's chrysler minivan 3.8 liter Town and Country pig. Got 26.1mpg roundtrip mostly highway hypermiling it as much as I know how to hypermile an automatic. Some P&G no EOC but the car doesn't like going back into gear from neutral when the RPMs are up a bit, although the car is taller geared than my VX. The way back was more up hill than the way there. The way back was filled with stuff including a light bed frame, box frame, and a mattress and bunch of other junk. Up a hill that can be coasted at about 55-60mph I averaged 17-18mpg (let's call it 17.5mpg) based on the computer in the car. Now if this car had engine shut off whenever not on the throttle (some form of mild hybrid) I should, then, theoretically be able to get 35mpg no? If I can average 17.5mpg going up a hill I could coast down at 55-60mph--then roundtrip should be 35mpg! And yet with the engine always running I can only manage 26mpg. This car has terrible idle fuel use. 45mph=100mpg. I swear all big engine cars/vans/suvs should be hybrids.
The only minivan I've ever heard of to give better mpg than average, and better than your subie, are the "dustbuster" GM minivans with the 3.8. Owners report high 20's, even 30 mpg. I have no personal experience with them, but I do know that the 3.8 delivers effortless power with better than usual economy.
All the others I thought of- Quest, Villager, MPV, etc., suck gas just as bad as the subie.
One thing to watch for on those vans. My father had one a while back. He hated it because the slope of the windshield lined up with the hood. You were flying blind because you could not see where the front of the vehicle was. It probably was the most aerodynamic minivan ever offered to the public though. GM made it a little better to drive in the later models where they flattened out the front end a bit, instead of making it come to a point.