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1997 Ford Aerostar

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1997 Ford Aerostar Review

A well-rounded van for any occasion.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1997 Ford Aerostar minivan offers both four-wheel drive and rear drive. Ford’s first entry into the minivan market distinguishes itself from competing minivans such as the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, and Plymouth Voyager by retaining truck-like characteristics. For example, the Aerostar has a rougher ride and a shape that looks practically anti-aerodynamic. The Aerostar also still offers rear drive. This makes it ideal for hauling campers, trailers, or boats.

The Aerostar comes in two trim levels: the base and the XLT. The XLT offers an extended wagon. Ford has planned to discontinue the Aerostar for some time, even going so far as to introduce the van’s eventual replacement in 1995. 1997 marks the Ford Aerostar’s final year of production.

The Range

Body Styles: three-door minivan
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 4.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Ford Aerostar cargo van, Ford Aerostar XLT rear-drive wagon, Ford Aerostar XLT rear-drive extended wagon, Ford Aerostar four-wheel drive extended wagon

What's New

The 1997 Ford Aerostar gets restyled seats, an upgraded stereo system, and a new five-speed automatic transmission.


The 1997 Ford Aerostar has a rather dated look. Its shape looks box-like in the back, with a curved front end, resembling a space shuttle. The base has a length of 174.9 inches, a width of 71.7 inches, and a height of 72.9 inches. The standard XLT measures 174.9 inches long, 71.7 inches wide, and 72.3 inches tall. The XLT extended wagon measures 190.3 inches long, 72 inches wide, and 74 inches tall.

Each model rides on a 119-inch wheelbase, with standard 14-inch steel wheels, rack and pinion steering, power steering, and independent front-wheel suspension.

Options include alloy wheels, a rear window defroster, power exterior mirrors, a roof rack, a camper/towing package, and two-tone paint.


The Ford Aerostar seats anywhere from two to seven people. The base cargo van is a basic two-seater, with just two captain’s chairs up front. Meanwhile, the standard XLT offers a third bench seat, with the option of adding four captain’s chairs, providing seating for seven. The seats have cloth upholstery.

The 1997 Ford Aerostar feels spacious. Legroom up front total 41.3 inches in each model. The standard XLT offers 38.6 inches of rear legroom, while the extended cab provides 39.4 inches of legroom for back-seat passengers. Passenger comfort undoubtedly marks a selling point.

Air-conditioning comes standard with the Aerostar. Options include rear air-conditioning, a center console, a child’s seat, either a cassette or CD player, power windows, cruise control, and a tilt steering wheel.

Performance & Handling

The Ford Aerostar offers a nice drive on highways and possesses adequate power. The Aerostar handles well and provides great visibility. The front suspension may feel overly stiff to some. Four-wheel-drive versions offer great stability, regardless of weather or road conditions.

Both models come standard with a 140-horsepower, three-liter V-6. The Aerostar XLT, however, offers the option of a larger 152-horsepower, four-liter V-6.

The 1997 Ford Aerostar’s brand-new five-speed automatic transmission gives more power to the four-liter V-6, simplifying uphill climbs and rear-drive trailer towing.


The 1997 Ford Aerostar comes standard with a driver’s-side front airbag and rear-wheel anti-lock brakes. NHTSA crash test results give the Aerostar three out of five stars for passenger safety and four stars for driver safety in front-impact crashes. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Aerostar “Poor"" in frontal-offset crash tests.

EPA Fuel Economy

Ford Aerostar: 17/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Huge cargo space
  • Spacious, roomy for passengers
  • Great stability with four-wheel drive
  • Hauling capacity of rear-drive models
  • Inexpensive

You Won't Like

  • Stiff suspension
  • Dated styling
  • Dated interior
  • Dated Chassis

Sum Up

A well-rounded van for any occasion.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • GMC Safari
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Plymouth Voyager
  • Chrysler Town & Country

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