I bought this vehicle to use for a courier service. I have put 10k on it since the purchase over 2 months ago. Was doing pretty good, then the transmission went. Such are the joys of a used vehicle without maintenance records! If you need a cheap minivan that's cheap to maintain, these are still a good purchase. Just look out for body rust (especially along the seams on the roof), electrical problems (power windows and locks) and transmission noises/leaks are bad news in this van. Braking is good, but these vans are known for chewing up front pads/rotors, since the front brakes do all the braking. The AWD (also known as E4WD) version can be expensive to fix.
Ride is a good mix of truck and car, better when loaded. Economy from 3.0 V6 (19 mpg in 50/50 mix of city and highway). Excellent view outside. Can fit a lot inside, floor is completely flat when seats are removed. Simple, cheap, RWD truck-based mechanicals.
The Aerostar died in 1997 due to the rise of SUVs, the general disdain for owning a minivan and the cost for Ford to bring a 1980's design up to date. Too bad, the Aerostar is good for hauling people and things places. I'd much rather have an updated Aerostar over the Windstar (uh, er... Freestar).