Used 2000 Ford Windstar Review

Edmunds expert review

Safe and powerful, Windstar suffers most from poor packaging.

What's new for 2000

The Windstar now has standard power-adjustable pedals and an optional rear-seat video entertainment center. There's also a new trim level called the Limited. Available midyear 2000, it will contain more standard features than the previously top-line SEL.

Vehicle overview

Much of the Ford Windstar's reputation is based on safety. And in the highly contested minivan market, that's a pretty good piece of turf upon which to stake a claim. In the five straight years it has been tested, the Windstar has earned the U.S. government's highest frontal crash test rating for both the driver and front passenger. Additionally, the Windstar can be equipped with optional side-impact airbags that give the minivan top government marks for side-impact crash safety.

In 1999, the Windstar gained dual-power-sliding doors, head-and-chest side airbags and a sonar-based reverse sensing system. For 2000, new power-adjustable pedals (March 2000 availability) enable the driver to move the gas and brake pedals up to 4 inches toward the seat while maintaining a safe operating distance from the steering wheel. Adding to the safety of the vehicle is a standard child-seat-anchor system that meets new U.S. government requirements. The anchors provide a more secure attachment point for the child-safety seat.

Another new addition is a rear-seat entertainment console. The system features a video cassette player and a video monitor with a 6.4-inch LCD screen that flips up from the center console for viewing. The console also contains RCA jacks for video game use. The Windstar also allows front-seat passengers to listen to one media, such as radio or tape, while rear-seat passengers can listen to a separate media (such as a CD) through headphones.

The new Limited version of the Windstar includes many of the luxury-oriented SEL's optional equipment as standard, including side airbags, the reverse sensing system, power-adjustable pedals, traction control, an in-dash six-CD changer and a towing package. The Limited can be identified by its unique 10-spoke aluminum wheels and special Light Parchment Gold paint (black is optional). Inside, floor mats are embroidered with Limited script and door panels have wood grain trim.

All four-door Windstars are equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that generates a robust, although somewhat noisy, 200 horsepower. Ford says the engine meets current Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards.

On the road, the Windstar doesn't match up to its competition in terms of its handling abilities. The suspension is quite soft, allowing a disconcerting amount of body roll. Another shortcoming is a lack of legroom for second- and third-row passengers.

Despite these deficits in handling and interior design, the Windstar is a good blend of everyday practicality, useable performance and innovative features. It is also wrapped in a shell that will protect your loved ones from all but the most serious crashes, when properly restrained. As long as you don't need to haul adults in back on a regular basis, it should serve your needs well if you absolutely must buy a vehicle with a domestic nameplate on the grille.

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.