Used 1997 Ford Aerostar Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

Ford's aging minivan gets a five-speed automatic transmission this year. The sound system is upgraded and the seats are restyled as well.

Vehicle overview

Ford's Aerostar was the Blue Oval's first entry in the fight against Chrysler Corporation's dominance of the minivan market. Unlike the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, and Chrysler Town and Country, the Aerostar retains many truck-like characteristics such as a rear-wheel drive layout, a rough ride, and an almost anti-aerodynamic shape.

Despite these seeming drawbacks, the Aerostar has won a loyal following of consumers who want a van smaller than a Club Wagon that can still haul a boat, camper, or trailer. In fact, there are so many Aerostar loyalists, that Ford continued the Aeorstar's production despite the introduction of its replacement in 1995.

Unfortunately, however, the Aerostar's time is finally up. Ford is putting its first minivan attempt out to pasture after the 1997 model year, leaving the Windstar as Ford's sole entry in the hotly contested minivan sales race. Don't despair, though, Ford has saved a few goodies for its final rendition of the Aerostar. This year sees the inclusion of Ford's all-new five-speed automatic transmission on 4.0-liter V6-equipped Aerostars. Using swap-shift technology the new transmission delivers power more efficiently than the four-speed, making hill climbs and trailer towing an easier affair.

Sure the styling is old, but the Aerostar still offers exceptional value when compared to other minivans. Particularly if your search has you investigating AWD alternatives such as the Dodge Grand Caravan AWD models.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.