Well, it was a nice try- a sporty Windstar, which is. Last year Ford released an SE Sport version of its family hauler, and after one short season the SE Sport is gone. Perhaps Ford would have had better luck with a production version of the 2000 “Solutios” concept Windstar, developed jointly with Maytag. That snapshot of domestic perfection included a refrigerator, washer and dryer, trash compactor, microwave oven, wet/dry utility vacuum and, well, everything stains on the seats and pint size fingerprints on the glass. After its walk on the wild side, Ford has returned the Windstar to its roots as Ford’s safety showcase. The big news this year is the Advance Trac interactive vehicle dynamic system. Advance Trac was supposed to be the big news last year, but its introduction was pushed back to 2002. The system senses when a vehicle is entering a skid and uses the ABS to apply individual brakes, or cuts engine power, to help the driver remain in control. Advance Trac joins the Windstar existing Personal Safety System of dual stage driver and front passenger airbags.
An electronic crash severity sensor, a driver’s seat position sensor, seat belt, pre tensioners, a front passenger seat weight sensor and other controls contributing to the mini van’s quadruple five star government crash rating. Side impact airbags are optional, and 4 wheel ABS is standard. The safety hardware stays out of mind most of the time, but the Windstar’s entertainment and comfort features are hard to miss. Most noteworthy is the optional Autovision video entertainment system.