Minivan; Built in USA
  • 3-door van
  • 3-door van
  • longitudinal rear-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $2,400*


1991 Ford Aerostar XL


1993 Ford Aerostar


1996 Ford Aerostar


1997 Ford Aerostar


1997 Ford Aerostar

Pros:
  • Cargo room (extended-length)
  • Optional AWD traction
  • Passenger room
  • Trailer-towing capability
Cons:
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy
  • Ride

Aerostar and the Chevrolet Astro/GMC Safari are better suited to heavy-duty work, such as hauling hefty payloads or towing trailers (up to 4800 pounds), than the league-leading front-drive Chrysler minivans.

Overview

Introduced way back in 1986, Ford’s rear-drive minivan came in both passenger and cargo-hauling form. A stretched van joined the original for 1989, on the same 118.9-inch wheelbase but with 15.4 inches tacked onto the rear. An available 4.0-liter V6 and heavy-duty 4-speed automatic transmission arrived for 1990. Also new for 1990: full-time 4-wheel drive (as an option) and standard antilock rear brakes. Seating for five was standard; space for seven optional. Six trim levels were available.

Yearly Updates

1991 Aerostar
A new sport appearance package for regular-length XL and XLT included forged alloy wheels and silver-color body accents (including a front air dam and side running boards). A door ajar light was added for models with dual rear doors.
1992 Aerostar
A driver-side airbag and front-end facelift came for ’92. The new dashboard got redesigned headlamp and climate controls. The automatic-transmission shift lever moved from the floor to the steering column. High-back front buckets now were standard. Rear outboard seats got lap/shoulder belts. A new grille and flush aero headlamps were installed.
1993 Aerostar
New optional integrated child safety seats became available, folding out from the middle bench.
1994 Aerostar
A high-mounted third brake light was installed for ’94. Aerostars still came in XL, XL Plus, XLT, and Eddie Bauer trim.
1995 Aerostar
Produced in regular or extended form, the Aerostar XLT complemented Ford,s new front-drive Windstar minivan. Side-impact beams were added to both front doors and the sliding side door. Permanent 4-wheel drive remained available, only in extended-length models. No more manual-shift Aerostars went on sale.
1996 Aerostar
A new 4-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift controls became available. Radios got larger buttons. Optional premium sound systems were upgraded to 24 watts. The optional auto-climate system was redesigned with new air conditioning controls.
1997 Aerostar
A new 5-speed automatic transmission arrived for ’97, which turned out to be Aerostar,s final season. The 5-speed came only with the 4.0-liter engine, which was standard on 4WD Aerostars. This minivan was discontinued at the end of the year.

Engines

longitudinal rear-engine/rear- or all-wheel drive

In 1990, Aerostar’s 3.0-liter V6 developed 145 horsepower and was available with either 5-speed manual shift or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The new 4.0-liter V6, rated 152 horsepower, came only with a heavy-duty 4-speed automatic transmission and was standard in 4WD models. The 4-wheel-drive system introduced in 1990 was permanently engaged. Under normal conditions, one-third of the engine’s torque is sent to front wheels and two-thirds to the rear. A center differential locks in a 50-50 split if wheelspin is detected. Manual shift disappeared after ’94.

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 135-145
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 160-165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

17/23

13.5

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/244
Engine HP 152-155
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 215-230
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
17/23
16/22
14.6

Road Test

The 3.0-liter engine produces adequate muscle, but the extra grunt of a 4.0-liter V6 is welcome, helping to haul around the hardware of the available 4-wheel-drive system. Don’t expect great gas mileage with either engine: around 15 mpg in city/suburban driving, or low 20s on the highway.

Poor traction can be a problem in rain or snow with the rear-drive Aerostar. Ride quality is another drawback, even with the Aerostar’s long wheelbase. Suspensions are not very compliant, producing a rather harsh experience over bumps, though an Aerostar is stable and well-controlled.

Cabins are roomy. Seven people can sit without squeezing, and the XLT and Eddie Bauer models contain plush and comfortable interior furnishings. Getting into the front seats requires a high step up. Cargo space is unimpressive in standard-size models, when all seats are in place.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1994 Ford Aerostar ext. 4WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 3
30%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 3
30%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 43

Specifications

3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
118.9 174.9 71.7 72.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
141.4 21.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 38.8 41.4 39.5
3-door van
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
118.9 190.3 72.0 72.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
170.0 21.0 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 38.3 41.4 40.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Aerostar 3-door van

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
80%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 70
Injury 94
Theft 52

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: Air conditioner compressors are prone to failure if there is not enough A/C oil in the system. (1994-97)
Engine noise
Description: A hammering noise and erratic temperature gauge reading is caused by a weak water pump. A revised pump is available. (1994-97)
Engine noise
Description: The dash panel rattles or buzzes due to interference between the trim on the front pillar and the side quarter glass. (1992-96)
Audio system
Description: Whining noises in the radio speakers is caused by the gas tank fuel pump. An electronic noise filter must be installed on the fuel pump. (1990-96)
Steering noise
Description: A clanging noise comes from the power steering cooler. A replacement will eliminate the noise. (1990-96)

Recall History

1990
Description: With quad captain’s chairs, tilt-forward latch of right-hand seat in second row may release under severe frontal impact.
1990
Description: Inability to maintain pressure in master cylinder could increase brake-pedal travel.
1990 registered in specified states
Description: Upper portion of fuel tank can develop cracks due to extended exposure to high ambient temperatures; fuel vapor or leakage could occur.
1990-91
Description: Ignition switch could short-circuit, causing smoke and possible fire.
1990-91
Description: When automatic transmission is in Park position, pawl does not always engage park gear.
1992 w/AWD
Description: Powertrain bending resonance or transfer case output shaft bushing displacement can result in structural failure leading to fluid expulsion, driveshaft separation, or loss of vehicle drive.
1992-97
Description: During start-up, arcing could potentially cause pitting, which, over time, might create short circuit that leads to overheating and potential fire.
1992-97 w/AWD
Description: Structural failure of transmission and/or transfer case can occur, resulting in fluid expulsion, driveshaft separation, or loss of drive.
1994-95
Description: Heat generation in wiring harness to fuel pump assembly can cause electrical short; vehicle could experience loss of power and become immobilized, fuel gauge may be erratic, and possible heat damage could lead to fire.
1995
Description: Underbody spare tire can contact brake lines, resulting in fracture of line.
1996
Description: When in secondary latched position, driver’s door may not sustain specified load.
1996
Description: Certification label shows incorrect rear tire inflation pressure.
1997 w/3.0-liter engine
Description: Accelerator cable may be kinked during installation, causing the core wires to eventually fray with wire strands breaking one at a time.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.