The Ford Windstar was a minivan manufactured from 1994-2003. The Ford Aerostar, produced during the first three years of the Windstar's life, was replaced by the Windstar 1997. Though most Fords have a Mercury car with the same build, the Windstar was not at all like the Mercury minivan. The Windstar was based on the Ford Taurus sedan. With car-like handling and performance as well as plenty of passenger and cargo room, it was definitely a family friendly car.
The heart of the Windstar's powertrain was its 3.8 liter, V-6 engine, coupled to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. It generated 155 horsepower and 220 lb. ft. of torque at low rpms. Those qualities provided excellent maneuvering and driving qualities. This powertrain was managed by the newest electronic engine control available at the time providing quicker, easier shifting in various driving conditions. It could go from 0 to 60 mph in 11.0 sec, with a fuel consumption of only 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The Windstar seated up to seven: two in the front, two in the middle and three in the back.
The first generation of Ford Windstar was in production from 1995-1998. In 1996, the Vulcan V6 became standard. In 1997 a base line model became available with no frills beyond an optional CD player. In 1998 the Windstar had a minor facelift and a Limited model came out with leather seats. The second generation was available from 1999-2003. In 1999, a second sliding door was added as an option. In 2000, a VCR with flip down LCD screen became an option. The Windstar received another minor facelift in 2001 and a new Sport model became available. In 2002, two sliding doors were standard, while in 2003 no changes were made.
Front seat-mounted side airbags were optional. Built-in rollers allowed the third row to be removed or installed easily. For the first time Reverse Sensing System became an option on a minivan, sounding a warning if the vehicle came too close to an object while in reverse. When all seats are in place there is 24 cu. ft. of cargo space, with the third seat removed it provides 144 cu. ft. of cargo space. Sound and climate controls are in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Earphone connections let the two back seat passengers listen to and tune the radio, while the volume is down for the rest of the van.
The exterior of the Ford Windstar included a left-side sliding door optional on the base model, with antilock brakes standard. Side panels had contrasting bumper strips for parking lot protection. The minivan's rounded shape, echoing most Ford vehicles during the time, was intended to resemble the corporate logo.
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