The Air conditioning was weak when purchased. We had it serviced at the local Ford dealer; they did not fix it correctly the first two tries, which was frustrating. To their credit, they credited us for the second try and added considerable labor and parts at no charge to repair it on the 3rd try; it's been working fine since.
Other than this the headlight problem noted above is the only major problem. The vehicle has fabulous seats. I judge the seats before I will purchase, and have to say the air adjustable lumbar support and the height of the armrests is the best of any vehicle I've owned.
Fuel consumption with the 4.0L engine is about 22mpg, better than anything newer for the size and carrying capacity, Front and rear seat head and legroom is much better than any newer 'mini' van and the seating position gives a nice view. Ride is good; there is some sway if you push it hard on mountain turns. Performance is not hot, but adequate and feels 'just right' in most circumstances. Ford's idiosyncracy of calling 4th gear 'overdrive' and making a separate button to shift into this gear is a nuisance, but I've gotten used to it.
Reliability is very good; I'm not good about maintenance, and, fortunately, this vehichle hasn't needed any since we got the A/C fixed right after purchase.
We have the 4x4 version and live above 10,000 feet. I've owned probably over 30 4x4 vehicles, and I will state without reservation that this one has the best traction. With studded tires on all corners, it's almost impossible to make it spin, even on ice. It has never once started to slide in a turn, regardless of surface conditions, something I can't say for any other vehicle I've owned, 2x4, or 4x4. Brakes are excellent as many still living deer and elk (and unrolled vehicle) will attest.
On the downside, the tires are really small, about like a bunch of doughnuts, which limits ground clearance and tire selection. However, the clearance is still better than any of the newer vans that have replaced it. I replaced the stock tires with wider ones of same diameter, which greatly improved ride and gave it a little more 'lift' over uneven objects, like fallen trees and gulleys. I've bottomed it a few times, but I should have been driving my Jeep at the time.
Aerostar is still made and sold new in Mexico, where people tend to be very rough on vehicles. They are the most popular vehicle on the road down there, which attests to their durability.
I disagree with others who say this is a nice looking vehicle. It's just plain ugly, and that suits me fine.