The Ford Windstar was the brand’s first front-drive minivan and the first real challenger to the Dodge Caravan. So naturally we chose it as our 1995 Drivers’ Choice Award for best minivan. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the 1995 Ford Windstar a good used van purchase.
The Windstar is a most car-like minivan, and has the greatest wheelbase and width of all ‘95 front-wheel drive models. Its very low-step in height, only 16 inches, makes it easy to slide into the driver’s seat. Manual controls and a fixed steering wheel are standard, but LX vans get a leather-wrapped tilt wheel and 6-way power seat adjustments, plus power lumbar support. Dual air bags are standard. Interior storage is abundant—in the doors, the center of the dash, under the front passenger’s bucket seat and in a center console. There’s also a large glove box.
Rear seating is versatile. Unfortunately, no left side sliding door is available. Buyers can choose optional buckets in place of the standard bench. All Windstars get this third bench seat which folds and can slide forward, allowing for even more cargo space behind the rear seat. Rear passengers have the convenience of their own climate controls and stereo controls with headphone jacks.
Power comes from either the 3.0-liter V-6 available on the base GL model or the 3.8-liter V-6, which we tested. The 3.8-liter delivers 155 horsepower and 220 pound-feet of torque. That was enough power to move our people-hauler from 0 to 60 in 9.7 seconds and a quarter mile time of 17.4 seconds, ending at 82 miles per hour.
Handling was car-like, too, with moderate amounts of body roll. The Windstar’s standard 4-wheel anti-lock brakes brought the van to a stop from 60 in an average distance of 124 feet.
In our long-term test, we lived with the Windstar for over 31,000 miles and averaged a solid 20 miles per gallon. We did have two minor problems: a dead coolant temperature gauge, and we noticed the transmission usually slammed into gear when first taken out of park. Pat Goss advises that there have been several technical service bulletins dealing with modifications to the transmission.
Prices range from $17,300 for a GL to $20,000 for a loaded LX. And that’s a good price for a refined minivan with excellent ride, handling and styling.
Engine: 3.8-Liter V-6
Torque: 220 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 9.7 Seconds
1/4 Mile: 17.4 Seconds @ 82 MPH
60-0 MPH: 124 Feet