I'm a pretty good home mechanic and I think maybe somebody who isn't might not have been quite so happy with it - certainly paying some bozo $50 an hour might add up quick.
My wife crashed this van on Jan 7, '03. She got hit by a Dodge Caravan going around 55-60 MPH. My 6-year old daughter and she BOTH walked away with only bruises from the seatbelts!!! Both airbags deployed. This car has the best crash-test ratings of ANY American-made Minivan (to my knowledge) - and it was hit broadside (which the crash-test people don't rate vehicles on). We are looking for a replacement right now and we will absolutely ONLY buy a WINDSTAR!! Even if I had to pay for a $2000 transmission, I still have my little girl - You should think about that before you buy a Honda.
One thing I noticed about the other reviews is all the bad ones had the 3.8L engine - ours was a 3.0L. I think I might lean toward the 3.0L for the replacement for this reason. I thought it had PLENTY of power even with a full load of passengers and cargo - who the hell needs to do 0-60 in 5 seconds in a MINIVAN (gimme a break!!) Sounds like the 3.8 might be a little too powerful for the tranny (or they put a different, less reliable tranny in 'em - I don't know).
Other thing of note was most bad reviews were for the 95/96 when the Windstar was new, and for the 1999 when it was redesigned. I'll stay away from these years also.
It was a very comfortable vehicle for long trips and VERY roomy for cargo. Interior held up to rough children quite well (we've got 4).
We live where they pour lots of salt on the roads in winter, and even with 80,000 miles it had essentially no rust - that's really an amazing thing - Ford must be using MUCH better steel than they did in my 78 Zephyr (That melted from all the rust!)
By the way, for all you who complained about blown head gaskets, if you don't replace your coolant at least every other year, head gaskets blow. (Happens in ANY car with an iron block and aluminum head)
Like I said - we're buying another one. Period.