2002 Windstar New Car Test Drive
If you think of minivans as faceless vehicles with fairly interchangeable personalities, then you need to think again. Ford's Windstar is a minivan with a difference, Minivanius maximus, a van outstanding in its field.
Windstar comes standard with a strong, 200-horsepower V6 and room for seven. It offers options aplenty to satisfy any taste. Like most modern minivans, the Windstar offers power sliding rear doors. However, Windstar is the only minivan with available power-adjustable pedals, allowing short and tall drivers to adjust seats and pedals for the safest, most comfortable driving position.
Perhaps most important for a family hauler, Windstar is also the only minivan to earn the Federal government's highest crash-test rating, five stars for the driver and front-passenger, for seven straight years. Now Windstar has also achieved the double five-star rating in the new side-impact tests when equipped with optional side-impact air bags.
All Windstars come with air conditioning, a 3.8-liter V6 engine, antilock brakes (ABS), and dual airbags. Commercial and fleet buyers can still choose a three-door body style (starting at $20,385), but all passenger Windstars for the consumer market now boast dual rear sliding doors.
With seating for seven, the Windstar LX starts at $22,340.
That's for the 'Base' LX; the 'Standard' LX lists for $26,175 and adds at least a dozen upgrades, including color-keyed bumpers, higher-capacity air conditioning, child-proof door locks, privacy glass, keyless entry, cruise control, interior assist straps, and an adjustable luggage rack.
The 'Deluxe' LX ($27,260) adds a power driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, and a center console.
But wait, there's more: There are still SE and SEL versions, each with their own individual personalities. The SE ($28,760) adds a chrome grille, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and P215/65R16 tires but deletes the LX-series' driving lights. (Last year's SE Sport has been retired.)
SEL ($31,430) adds power to the sliding doors, chrome to the front bumper inserts, leather to the interior, and two-tone body cladding, among other appointments.
The top-dog Windstar is the $33,840 Limited, with its side-impact airbags, SecuriLock perimeter security system, wood-and-leather steering wheel, accent-painted roof rack, heated seats, woodgrain interior trim and in-dash 6-CD changer. Limited also comes with traction control, a trailer-tow package and a reverse-sensing system, a feature we've come to love.
Windstar offers a comprehensive list of options. Side-impact airbags, standard on Limited, can be added to any other Windstar for $390. Quad bucket seats cost $745. SE can be equipped with power doors for $900. SE, SEL and Limited offer a $995 video entertainment system with a 6.4-inch monitor that folds down form the headliner.
Windstars sold in Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming have engine-block heaters.