The 2000 Ford Windstar van and minivan models, like their predecessors, place an emphasis on safety, achieving very high safety ratings. Other than its safety record, the Windstar is mostly known for two unwelcome features: the lack of middle- and back-seat legroom and difficulty removing the seats.
The van was completely redesigned in 1999, so the 2000 model shows only minor changes. Changes for 1999 include the addition of a driver’s side middle door and placing the seats on rollers. Unfortunately, the third-row seat seems easier to move but still hard to remove and the legroom problem persists. Still these changes make the Windstar much more user friendly and it includes a ton of comfort features, so anyone who does not have to accommodate many adult passengers or extra cargo should take a look.
Body Styles: van, minivan
Engines: 3.0-liter V-6, 3.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Ford Windstar Van, Ford Windstar Minivan, Ford Windstar LX, Ford Windstar SE, Ford Windstar SEL, Ford Windstar Limited
Power pedals mark the only new standard feature. A rear-seat video entertainment system is a new option. The Limited model starts new this year.
The Windstar measures slightly longer than the Dodge Caravan at 200.9 inches in length. All models offer a choice between a single, passenger-side, sliding middle door or dual sliding middle doors. A button to electronically control these doors provides an option on the SE model and comes standard on the SEL and Limited models. The Limited model includes a standard towing package.
All passenger Windstar models seat seven with a bench middle seat on the base and LX models and two bucket middle seats on the SE, SEL, and Limited models. The middle and rear seats are all removable, and the third-row bench seat moves to the middle row for extra seating or storage. The cargo van has two bucket seats only and the rest of the van comes carpeted. Owners can remove the rear seats, but not easily like the Chrysler minivans or even relatively so like the GM minivans. The Windstar feels very roomy overall, with a wheelbase of 120.7 inches and total length of 200.9 inches. Nonetheless, the legroom in the middle and rear seats seems lacking.
The controls of the Windstar feel ergonomic and easy to operate without looking, except for the radio controls. The buttons for climate control look large, and the cruise control buttons sit on the steering wheel. Power windows, door locks, and mirrors come standard. Separate climate and audio controls remain optional for the rear of the minivan. The SEL and Limited models feature standard leather upholstery.
Performance & Handling
The power of the Windstar seems more than adequate, particularly with the 3.8-liter engine. The SE, SEL, and Limited models and the cargo van all come with a 3.8-liter V-6 that produces 200 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. The lower models contain a three-liter V-6 with 150 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The 3.8-liter can be added to the lower-end models as an option. Either way, it offers plenty of power to pass when needed.
Handling seems lacking in the Windstar, though, compared to Chrysler minivans. It experiences heavy under-steer and the body leans too much on corners. The suspension feels very rough, causing riders to feel every bump and dip.
Ford issued a recall notice for all Windstar models manufactured from September 1, 1997 through February 28, 2003 that were sold or driven in certain states. The rear axle could corrode in certain geographical areas, making it susceptible to fracture. Other than this issue, the Windstar has an excellent safety record, earning the highest government front crash test rating from 1995 to 2000. It has front driver- and passenger-side airbags that can be turned off, and side curtain airbags. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes also come standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
Ford Windstar Cargo Van: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Windstar Minivan: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Windstar LX Minivan: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Windstar SE Minivan: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Windstar SEL Minivan: 15/21 mpg city/highway
Ford Windstar Limited Minivan: 15/21 mpg city/highway
- Safety record
- Overall roominess
You Won't Like
- Legroom in middle and rear seats
- Difficulty removing seats
- Noisy engine
Powerful and safe minivan, but noisy with hard-to-remove seats.
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