1997 Ford Aerostar XL 3.0 liter from North America
The most dependable vehicle you'll ever own!
At about 111,000 miles the oil pan gasket had to be replaced because it was leaking, and the alternator was getting weak so I had that replaced at the same time along with a new serpentine belt. Total cost for repairs was $400.00.
Replaced the serpentine belt again at about 192,000 just before we pulled an enclosed U-Haul trailer full of furniture to Florida.
Replaced the front brake pads about 3 times & the rotors once so far and the rear pads & drums once.
I've never replaced any of the exhaust, but the muffler is starting to get a little louder now.
Had to have sliding side door repaired at about 152,000 miles because it wouldn't stay closed, the latch had to be replaced.
Some of the interior trim pieces cracked over time and the screws for the trim had a tendency to work themselves out.
This vehicle was our families multi-purpose vehicle. We went on trips all over the U.S. with this thing, sometimes pulling our 3,000 lb camper. I could pull out the seats and haul lumber or my D.J. equipment in it with no problems. I also used it to pull my trailer and moved two of my children with it more than once. It weathered the abuse of my 16 year old son driving it for about a year, got a couple of dents from that stint with him.
This van has never let my family down and has never left us stranded and aside from the above mentioned repairs, it has never needed any major repairs to the engine, and nothing but regular tranny flushes and one filter change for the transmission.
The interior seems a lot roomier than other mini-vans and the seats are very comfortable, unfortunately the ride is more akin to that of a truck, than a car.
The 3.0 liter engine has plenty of power and gets you up to highway speed fairly quickly. It didn't have any problem pulling our camper. The only downside is that any engine repair is going to cost a little more because it's so hard to access. Even a tune-up is more expensive, because a couple of the spark plugs are hard to reach, but an experienced mechanic will know the right tricks to get at them.
The rear wheel drive might be a negative for some people, but I grew up with rear wheel drive cars during winters in Minnesota. You throw a little weight in the cargo area and put some tires on with a some bite, and don't drive around like Mario Andretti, and you'll be fine.
Bottom line, this van is the most dependable vehicle I have ever owned, and if Ford hadn't stopped making it, I would buy another one in a heartbeat. If you need a good family vehicle and you find a low mileage, well maintained Aerostar, BUY IT!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th April, 2010