Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan

1996 Ford Windstar
List price range
1996 Ford Windstar

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Until mid-1994, nobody had seriously challenged Chrysler's domination of minivan sales. All previous attempts by domestic and imported manufacturers couldn't match the Chrysler standard for user-friendliness. They were either underpowered, too high off the ground, or the wrong size. When Windstars rolled into Ford showrooms, Chrysler finally had been bested at its own game.

For a while, at least. Windstar's superiority proved to be short-lived. The 1996 Chrysler minivans are simply best-in-class. The Ford is still quite good--even more so now that Ford has substantially upgraded the 1996 version and the competition is forcing Windstar prices to dip, in the form of sales rebates and sweetly subsidized lease deals.

Not everyone favors Windstar styling, but the interior is an ergonomic delight. With room for seven, dual airbags, and a commodious cargo area, the Windstar keeps passengers comfortable. Controls and displays are housed in an attractively swept dashboard, lending a well-crafted tone. The radio is crammed with buttons and tiny lettering; it's time for the new family of Ford radios, complete with big buttons and a volume knob, to debut in this van. Climate controls are mounted low, but are easy to modulate without glancing from the road. An optional center console adds generous amounts of much-needed storage, but cuts access to the rear seats. There's little to complain about, and quite a lot to like. Construction quality is fine and the interior is spacious and attractive. A single body size and style is offered, in cargo van, GL or luxury LX guise, with four-wheel antilock braking.

Ford has improved the Windstar in the face of stiff competition from Chrysler. Traction control is now available, and includes four-wheel disc brakes. The discs also come with the trailer tow package, which has been upgraded to handle more weight. A new integrated child seat makes the options list, and a convertible rear seat bed can be installed. But Holy Horsepower Batman! The big news is under the hood, where Ford has upped the 3.8-liter V6 engine's output from 155 horsepower to 200. To make matters more appealing, torque is up slightly and a revised final drive ratio means the Windstar is the sports van of family haulers. This new engine is standard on LX models, and optional with the GL trim level.

Standard on the GL and the cargo van is a 3.0-liter V6. Other changes for 1996 include 100,000-mile tune-up intervals for both engines, standard underseat storage for the GL, and a quad bucket seat option for the GL as well. Bodyside molding, standard on GL last year, has moved to the options list.

Windstar is anonymously styled, but goes about its business with flair when equipped with the new 3.8-liter V6. Still, it is basically an automotive utensil, providing scads of utility and little driving excitement outside of the quickest acceleration of any minivan on the market.

1996 Highlights

Ford boosted output on the 3.8-liter V6 from 155 to 200 horsepower. Trim and equipment have been revised, and four-wheel disc brakes come with traction control or the tow package. A new integrated child safety seat has been added to the options list. Tune-ups happen every 100,000 miles. Traction control is now optional.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Ford Windstar.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Too Many Repair Bills
Admittedly bought this car "as is" from a used car lot, but seems like an awful lot in repair bills in one year for a vehicle with only about 110,000 miles: Head gasket $1,700. Alternator $560. Transmission $2,300. Already more in repairs than I paid for it. Which is frustrating as otherwise it's comfortable to drive, and has the room I need to haul stuff around when the seats are taken out.
Best vehicle so far
Steve from Alberta,10/30/2003
Best vehicle we have ever owned. Bought in 98' with 25,000km in perfect condition. Now have almost 150,000km and have only done tires and brakes (once at 110,000km). Pulls our trailer (albeit a smaller one) and our 16ft boat with ease. Only knock we can come up with is a faulty speedometer (at 40,000km approx). Ford said this was normal and within the tolerances of manufacturing ($800 to fix). If the Windstar had a higher towing rating we would definitely buy another.
Windstar 1996 for sale
Forrest Jeffery,04/16/2010
This has been a wonderful car to drive. I drove it to the east coast 3 times. It has new tires in the last 2 years, and a recent complete tuneup. It has air conditioning and it gives a smooth ride.
Good ride, overall satisfied
I purchased this vehicle used, but in great condition, in the East Coast. I have since moved to Colorado and have been impressed with it's ability to tackle the Rockies. I am overall satisfied with the performance of the Windstar, though I've had to replace the speedometer and fuel pump. Otherwise, it is very reliable and comfortable. With a larger gas tank (25 gallons) than other minivans, I am able to travel further before filling up.
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Features & Specs

15 city / 23 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
147 hp @ 5000 rpm
15 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
200 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1996 Ford Windstar
Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan Overview

The Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan is offered in the following styles: GL 3dr Minivan, and LX 3dr Minivan.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivans are available in my area?

Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Ford Windstar Minivan for sale near you.

Can't find a used 1996 Ford Windstar Windstar Minivan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Ford Windstar for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $14,850.

Find a used Ford for sale - 4 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $10,998.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford Windstar for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $14,340.

Find a used certified pre-owned Ford for sale - 7 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $7,765.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Ford Windstar?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Ford lease specials
Check out Ford Windstar lease specials