2003 Windstar New Car Test Drive
Ford Windstar is one of the quickest minivans on the road. Its strong, 200-horsepower V6 delivers quick acceleration performance. Among the largest of the so-called minivans, Windstar offers a versatile interior that can carry up to seven people or big loads of cargo. It comes with dual sliding doors, and can be trimmed with video systems and other options to satisfy any taste.
For eight straight years, the Windstar has earned the Federal government's best crash-test rating: five stars each for driver and front passenger. With its optional side-impact air bags, Windstar achieves a double five-star rating in the government's new side-impact tests as well. Safety is improved further for 2003, as the Windstar gets Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability enhancement system. AdvanceTrac detects skidding and actively corrects the Windstar's heading by selectively applying individual brakes and/or reducing engine power. That could make the difference between a close call and a collision on a rain-slicked or ice-covered road. Additional refinements for 2003 focus on reducing noise.
The current Windstar is nearing the end of its run, and an all-new Windstar is on the horizon.
All Windstars come with air conditioning, a 3.8-liter V6 engine, antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EDB), and dual airbags. All come with dual sliding doors.
The 2003 Windstar LX ($22,710) comes standard with color-keyed bumpers, child-proof door locks, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Standard tires are P215/70R15s on steel wheels.
A Standard Preferred Equipment Package ($3785) adds privacy glass, an overhead console, an adjustable roof rack, high-capacity auxiliary climate control, remote keyless entry, a CD player, a color-keyed vinyl-covered steering wheel, and upgraded seats and interior lights.
A Deluxe package ($4870) includes everything in the Standard package, plus tilt wheel, cruise control, a floor console, power driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, and P225/60R16 tires on painted aluminum wheels.
SE ($29,020) packs most of the equipment from the Deluxe LX, plus a chrome grille and side moldings, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-seat audio controls, cornering lamps, heated mirrors, interior storage nets, and low-back bucket seats in the second row.
The popular SEL ($31,750) adds leather to the interior, power to the front passenger's seat, and power to the sliding doors, plus two-tone body cladding, automatic headlights, an electronic message center, an electrochromic rear-view mirror, and a Homelink universal remote.
The top-dog Windstar is the Limited ($34,160), with side-impact airbags, SecuriLock perimeter alarm, wood-and-leather steering wheel, 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 ($390) can be added to any Windstar, but come standard on standard on Limited. Quad bucket seats ($745) are available and the SE can be equipped with power doors ($900). A Family Security package ($455) adds traction control, the perimeter security system, and 215/65R16 self-sealing tires to the LX Deluxe. SE and SEL buyers can get the package with the reverse-sensing system ($600). LX Deluxe, SE, SEL, and Limited offer a ($995) video entertainment system with a 6.4-inch monitor that folds down form the headliner. Several competing minivans offer video systems only on top-of-the-line models. Windstars sold in Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming have engine-block heaters. A three-door cargo van is available for commercial and fleet buyers.