For over 25 years, the Windstar was Ford's first-ever front-wheel-drive minivan. It featured dual airbags, standard 4-wheel antilock brakes and a flexible seating system with a third seat that can move fore and aft as much as 7 in.
The Ford Windstar was first unveiled in January 1994 at the North American International Auto Show, and production began on January 27 as an early 1995 model. Pricing was announced on February 24, 1994, and the minivan officially went on sale on March 24, 1994.
Positioned in the middle of the minivan market, the Windstar was designed to appeal to younger buyers who valued contemporary styling in a versatile package. Its key competition included the Mazda MPV, Mercury Villager, Nissan Quest and Dodge Grand Caravan.
The Windstar benefited from a number of running changes that included the following options: a convertible seat/bed for GL models, new leather trim and an integral child restraint seat. Other key upgrades were an optional towing and engine cooling package that raised towing capacity to 3500 pounds, an automatic load-leveling suspension and enhanced instrumentation illumination.
Also coming on board was a brand-new entry-level powertrain team, a 3.0-liter V6 and 4-speed automatic overdrive transaxle.
The base engine was the new 3.0-liter 147-horsepower ohv V6. The optional engine was a 3.8-liter 155-horsepower ohv V6. Both were mated to a 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission.
The Windstar was available in two series, the Van (cargo) and Wagon (passenger). The Wagon had two trim levels: GL and LX.
The commercial Van model had a higher, 1750-pound payload in 1995 and new rear disc brakes.
On October 10, 1994, the Ford Windstar was re-released as a 1995.5 model.
The 1996 Windstar received a new standard engine, a 3.8-liter V6 with 200 horsepower. Pricing was announced in August 1995, and the minivan went on sale in late September.
Less units of the previous model year's Windstar were made. For 1997, the Windstar got a facelift. A new optional CD player was also available. Pricing was announced in August 1996, and the car went on sale on October 2, 1996.
The 1998 Windstar was unveiled on January 20, 1997. Many changes were made to the first generation Windstar minivan for its last model year before it went on sale on February 13, 1997.
Unveiled on May 14, 1998, the Windstar was redesigned for the 1999 model year. A new four-door body style was introduced for the first time, joining the three-door, the latter which last sold in 2001.
As of February 24, 1994:
- $17,745 (1995 Ford Windstar Cargo Van)
- $19,240 (1995 Ford Windstar GL)
- $23,000 (1995 Ford Windstar LX)
As of September 22, 1994:
- $17,510 (1995.5 Ford Windstar Cargo Van)
- $19,590 (1995.5 Ford Windstar GL)
- $23,760 (1995.5 Ford Windstar LX)
As of June 15, 1995:
- $19,590 (1996 Ford Windstar GL)
- $24,465 (1996 Ford Windstar LX)
As of October 1, 1995:
- $18,825 (1996 Ford Windstar Cargo Van)
- $540 (early 1995 models)
- $555 (1995.5-1996 models)