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2003 Ford Windstar Van

4dr LTD

Starting at | Starting at 17 MPG City - 23 MPG Highway

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  • $34,825 original MSRP
Printable Version

2003 Ford Windstar Van

Printable Version

2003 Ford Windstar Van


2003 Ford Windstar

Source: New Car Test Drive


Ford Windstar is one of the quickest minivans on the road. Its strong, 200-horsepower V6 delivers quick acceleration performance. Among the largest of the so-called minivans, Windstar offers a versatile interior that can carry up to seven people or big loads of cargo. It comes with dual sliding doors, and can be trimmed with video systems and other options to satisfy any taste.

For eight straight years, the Windstar has earned the Federal government's best crash-test rating: five stars each for driver and front passenger. With its optional side-impact air bags, Windstar achieves a double five-star rating in the government's new side-impact tests as well. Safety is improved further for 2003, as the Windstar gets Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability enhancement system. AdvanceTrac detects skidding and actively corrects the Windstar's heading by selectively applying individual brakes and/or reducing engine power. That could make the difference between a close call and a collision on a rain-slicked or ice-covered road. Additional refinements for 2003 focus on reducing noise.

The current Windstar is nearing the end of its run, and an all-new Windstar is on the horizon.

Model Lineup

All Windstars come with air conditioning, a 3.8-liter V6 engine, antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EDB), and dual airbags. All come with dual sliding doors.

The 2003 Windstar LX ($22,710) comes standard with color-keyed bumpers, child-proof door locks, and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Standard tires are P215/70R15s on steel wheels.

A Standard Preferred Equipment Package ($3785) adds privacy glass, an overhead console, an adjustable roof rack, high-capacity auxiliary climate control, remote keyless entry, a CD player, a color-keyed vinyl-covered steering wheel, and upgraded seats and interior lights.

A Deluxe package ($4870) includes everything in the Standard package, plus tilt wheel, cruise control, a floor console, power driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, and P225/60R16 tires on painted aluminum wheels.

SE ($29,020) packs most of the equipment from the Deluxe LX, plus a chrome grille and side moldings, leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear-seat audio controls, cornering lamps, heated mirrors, interior storage nets, and low-back bucket seats in the second row.

The popular SEL ($31,750) adds leather to the interior, power to the front passenger's seat, and power to the sliding doors, plus two-tone body cladding, automatic headlights, an electronic message center, an electrochromic rear-view mirror, and a Homelink universal remote.

The top-dog Windstar is the Limited ($34,160), with side-impact airbags, SecuriLock perimeter alarm, wood-and-leather steering wheel, heated seats, woodgrain interior trim and in-dash 6-CD changer. Limited also comes with traction control, a trailer-tow package and a reverse-sensing system, a feature we've come to love.

Windstar offers a comprehensive list of options. Side-impact airbags ($390) can be added to any Windstar, but come standard on standard on Limited. Quad bucket seats ($745) are available and the SE can be equipped with power doors ($900). A Family Security package ($455) adds traction control, the perimeter security system, and 215/65R16 self-sealing tires to the LX Deluxe. SE and SEL buyers can get the package with the reverse-sensing system ($600). LX Deluxe, SE, SEL, and Limited offer a ($995) video entertainment system with a 6.4-inch monitor that folds down form the headliner. Several competing minivans offer video systems only on top-of-the-line models. Windstars sold in Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and Wyoming have engine-block heaters. A three-door cargo van is available for commercial and fleet buyers.


Ford Windstar benefits from refinements for 2003 designed to reduce noise. Aerodynamic mirrors, new beltline moldings, and new B-pillar appliques are designed to reduce wind turbulence. Thicker side glass in the front doors and improved sealing in the front bulkhead further insulate the Windstar's driver and passengers from wind noise.

Ford Windstar's styling hasn't changed much since its 1995 introduction, but it still looks contemporary. Windstar's front end received a minor redesign in 2001, and the LX Standard and Deluxe acquired driving lights in 2002. For 2003, all Windstars sport body-colored bumpers.

The sliding doors neatly hide the tracks below the lower edge of the rear side window, instead of gouging them out of the quarter-panel sheetmetal. This gives the Windstar a less utilitarian, more upscale look. Power operation for the dual sliding doors is optional on the SE, and standard on the SEL and Limited.

With the power-operated doors, you can open the Windstar by remote control, using a button on the key fob. This can be real benefit when you've got an armload and it's raining. It's also nice for folks who find opening and closing heavy doors a bit strenuous. The one shortcoming of the power doors is that they move more slowly than most people could slide the door by hand. Nonetheless, kids love the power doors. A safety feature automatically stops the door should some errant body part block its path. And an industry-first warning strobe alerts the driver when the sliding doors are opening.

Unlike some of its domestic competitors, Windstar is not available in a short-wheelbase model. Windstar comes in one size only, and that size is relatively large, comparable to the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Chrysler Town & Country, and the Honda Odyssey.

Interior Features

Ford Windstar is as large as the largest minivans, so there's lots of room inside. Kids love the spacious feel, while adults appreciate the generous legroom and headroom, especially in the center bucket seats. The nicely designed and substantial dashboard wraps around the driver, positioning the radio and climate controls within easy reach. Two cup holders are attached to a tray that slides out; spring-loaded sides allow them to accommodate a variety of containers. A convenient wide-angle mirror helps the driver keep an eye on what's going on in the rear seats.

We had trouble getting comfortable in the SEL. We found the front seats in flat, with little side bolstering. That made getting in and out easy, but left us with no side support for going around corners.

Some people like center consoles in minivans, others find them inconvenient, as it makes it difficult for adults to walk between the seats and into the rear of the vehicle. (Of course, it doesn't upset kids, who just clamber over it.) SEL and LX Deluxe come with the center console on the floor between the two front seats; LX and SE models don't have it, unless it is ordered as an option ($155).

Pedals are power adjustable, a genuinely useful feature Moving the pedals closer to the seat at the touch of a button is beneficial for drivers with short legs. This allows them to sit farther from the steering wheel, for better driving position and to avoid potential injury from the airbag.

Center-row seats are buckets in SE, SEL and Limited. We found them heavy and awkward to remove. LX buyers can choose a center-row bench, or buckets ($745). The bench seat can be positioned left or right, for your choice of either curbside or street-side access to the third-row seat. (However, once the seat is shifted to one side, third-seat access from that side becomes awkward.) The bench seat reclines and rolls forward and back, for more versatile cargo loading and easier removal.

The third-row seat is a bench on all models, and has seat belts for all three people. Like the second-row bench it rides on small rollers that make it slightly easier to remove. It weighs about 100 pounds, which makes removal a two-person job. Once back in the van, it moves seven inches fore and aft on its track, allowing more rear luggage space, or more rear-seat legroom, depending on need. However, moving it all the way forward exposes the seat tracks, which are greasy for cargo and not friendly to dogs.

The rear bench can also be moved to the second-row seat's attachment points, to provide seating for five and cavernous luggage space. That feature adds to the versatility of Windstars equipped with second-row buckets.

The third-row seatback folds down to provide a flat table and more cup holders. Rear climate controls come standard (except in the base model), a great feature especially on hot days for children and pets. SE, SEL, and Limited come standard with rear audio controls as well, allowing kids to play cassettes in the rear while adults listen to the radio up front.

A handy feature for entertaining restless rug rats is the Auto Vision Entertainment System ($995), consisting of a VHS tape player and a 6.4-inch LCD video screen that folds down from the overhead console. There are even ports for video games. It's a real boon for long trips: You may never hear "Are we there yet?" again. The system includes a pair of headphones, so people up front do not have to listen to "Land Before Time 32," or whatever else is screening in the rear cabin.

For busy adults, SEL and Limited models feature an electronic Message Center, which is a small voice recorder attached to the driver's sun visor. It can be used to record notes and other ideas that might come to mind while driving.

The tire pressure monitoring system that comes standard is a good idea: The warning light came on while we were driving our Windstar and, sure enough, the right rear tire was about 5 pounds low. Unfortunately, the system can't tell you which tire is low, so you'll have to check all four of them when the signal light glows, a good idea anyway.

Driving Impressions

With its big V6, the Windstar is one of the quickest minivans available. It delivers strong acceleration, and has plenty of power for safe passing even with a full load of passengers. For the most part, the Windstar's powertrain performs smoothly. The V6 sounds raucous at high rpm, however, and the transmission shifts abruptly at times.

Windstar's steering is about right, with some feedback to let the driver know what the front tires are doing. It feels stable at speed. And the ride is smooth, thanks to the longest wheelbase of any minivan. Windstar rides more comfortably than sport-utility vehicles. The suspension is soft, however. It allows the Windstar to wallow in corners and lets the nose dive when you use the Windstar's brakes. Also, the brakes seemed unimpressive.

LX Deluxe, SE, SEL and Limited come with fatter tires (225/60R16) and bigger wheels (16-inch), which help improve handling and stability. Yet this package adds little noise or ride harshness.

We recommend getting the optional AdvanceTrac, an electronic vehicle stability system that uses both engine management and the anti-lock brakes to help the driver maintain control on slippery roads or other extreme conditions. Cycling 200 times per second, the AdvanceTrac computer checks the Windstar's road behavior against the driver's steering input to be certain that the van is going where the driver wants it to go. If it is sliding or skidding, then AdvanceTrac reduces engine power and/or applies the brakes individually to help guide the Windstar back to the path that the driver intended.

Another useful device is the reverse sensing system, which is standard on the Limited and part of the Family Security package ($600) on SE and SEL. Rearward visibility is limited in the Windstar, and distance is difficult to judge because the back of the vehicle is such a long way from the driver. The reverse sensor measures the distance between the van and any object behind it (such as a wall, a parked car, or a child). A beeper sounds at an increasing pace as the van backs toward the object. Besides its safety benefits, this feature speeds up parallel parking on tight streets, nice for those times when your passengers are scurrying into the restaurant or theater. It enhances safety when backing up in crowded parking lots. It's amazing how often people will walk behind or drive up and stop behind a big vehicle when it's backing up and this feature will alert you to that.


Ford Windstar offers lots of power, lots of room, and the availability of most of the latest minivan features. It scores well in government crash testing and offers side-impact airbags as an option. New active safety features can help you avoid an accident in the first place. Its versatile seating arrangement works well.

The Windstar is a dated product, however, and lacks the sophistication of the newest minivans. Its brakes are unimpressive and its soft suspension wallows in corners and dives under hard braking. An all-new Windstar is on the horizon. Until then, look for deals on the 2003 models.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: LX ($22,710), LX Standard ($26,495); LX Deluxe ($27,580), SE ($29,020), SEL ($31,750), Limited ($34,160)
Engines: 200-hp 3.8-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): ABS, dual front airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, low tire-pressure warning system
Safety equipment (optional): front side-impact airbags, reverse sensing system, traction control, stability control
Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in: Oaksville, Ontario

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): SEL ($31,750)
Standard equipment: automatic air conditioning (front and rear), AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo, power windows, power mirrors, power locks, cruise control, tilt steering, alloy wheels, overhead console, dual power sliding doors, leather upholstery, front floor console
Options as tested (MSRP): Family Security Group II ($600), includes traction control, perimeter anti-theft system, P215/ 65R16 self-sealing tires, reverse sensing system
Destination charge: ($655)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $33,005
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 3.8-liter ohv 12-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 4900
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 240 @ 3600
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 17/23 mpg
Wheelbase: 120.7 in.
Length/width/height: 201.5/75.2/66.1 in.
Track, f/r: 64.3/63.0 in.
Turning circle: 39.3 ft.
Seating capacity: 7
Head/hip/leg room, f: 39.3/57.9/40.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: 41.1/60.8/36.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.8/48.7/35.6 in.
Trunk volume: 136.4 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: 3500 Lbs.
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: twist beam
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 4017 lbs.
Tires: P215/65R16
Brakes, f/r: disc/drum with ABS and EBD
Fuel capacity: 26.0 gal.


Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of May 13, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-392-3673 - www.ford.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.


Printable Version

2003 Ford Windstar Van

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Rollover Resistance

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Std


Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2003 Ford Windstar Van

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

Ford Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Manufacturer's 7 years / 100,000 miles Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Limited Warranty. See dealer for details.. See dealer for details. Rental Reimbursement $30/day.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 model years or newer / less than 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 172
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Ford Windstar Van

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