We were looking for a van 3 years ago to replace our Dodge Caravan. I wanted a truck but we had to settle on one vehicle and this was it. Since then we have (a) hauled kids (b) hauled materials, including 4x8 sheets of drywall inside (c) done a lot of camping. This van works good for all aspects. This has been reliable and taken us everywhere we needed to go. The 4.8 V8 works fine, but if you can find one with a 5.3 V8 you'll be happier with the power and the gas mileage will be the same. The V6 is underpowered, even if you are only hauling people, and it gets the same mileage! Repair costs can be above average but the frequency of repairs has been the least of all our vehicles.
This was the worst vehicle we have ever owned!! We put $6,000 in repairs in it during the 2 years that we owned it. We finally ended up junking it and are still paying for the repairs we did. We hated this van so much that we are very leary of buying a Ford ever again. The repairs we did were timing belt cover seal, alternator, new engine, catalytic coverter (final straw) It let us down on vacation the first summer that we owned it. It was just a terrible, terrible experience!!!
Luckily I bought the 70000 mile extended warranty. At 50000 miles the transmission went out requiring a complete rebuild. At 65000 miles the engine leaked coolant into the crankcase requiring a new longblock.Most irritating was that the radiator was replaced by Ford with a faulty radiator which I drove 18000 miles in 8 months---Fords policy is 12 mo. or 12000---which means I had to Pay. In one three month period the dealership had the van longer than I did!.I hope that this is indicative of the newer vans--my 1990 has 200000 on it and going strong.Warning! don't buy the V6 standard engine---it's absolutely gutless in every sense of the word.