The public got its first look at the Ford Aerostar in the summer of 1985. Ford’s first minivan was slightly different than other minivans on the market. It was given a rear wheel drive like a truck. While this did decrease the interior space;it increased the minivan’s towing capacity and provided greater stabilization when loaded.
The Aerostar was offered with a 2.3 liter engine however this was underpowered and the upgrade for this was the 2.8 Liter Cologne and the new 3.0 Liter V6 for the 1987 model.
Parts were easy to come by since the Aerostar used truck parts. Any Ford Ranger, Bronco II or Explorer parts were interchangeable with the Aerostar and many owners chose to upgrade to 16 inch wheels from the Ranger or Explorer.
The Aerostar offered many firsts that left competitors scrambling to keep up. One of the first innovative designs Ford came up with was including all wheel drive for the 1990 model. Another was to offer an upscale version of it’s base and midline models. The Eddie Bauer Aerostar was introduced in 1988. Chrysler offered no competition until 2 years later when they introduced the Town and Country.
At the time of Aerostars introduction in 1986, the only other 4 door model SUV on the market was AMC’s Jeep Cherokee. With the introduction of several other SUV’s following in the early nineties, the minivan’s popularity was slipping and it would soon lose it’s place as the must have family vehicle. The Explorer’s 1991 introduction would soon displace the Aerostar in sales and eventually the Aerostar line was dropped in 1997.