What you're looking at here is a minivan that al-most wasn't. And if the Aerostar looks like a minivan you might want to own, you can thank your Ford dealer that it's still with us. When Ford's new front-drive Windstar was ready for production, the company planned to drop the rear-drive Aerostar from its lineup. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the Aerostar, it was a clear shortage of production facilities - a factory gap. The drop may have made good business sense to Ford, but not to Ford dealers, who complained long and loud that taking the Aerostar out of the game would send their rear-drive customers straight to General Motors' Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari. Ford is good at listening to its dealers, as well as to its customers. And as a result, the Aerostar survived. Why is a rear-drive minivan important? Because when it comes to heavy jobs, particularly towing, rear-drive beats front-drive every time. Like the Astro and Safari, the Aerostar is a workhorse. It's roomy and comfortable enough for family travel. But it doesn't have the carlike feel of the front-drive minivans. If that's your priority, there are plenty to choose from, including two very good ones from Ford. On the other hand, when the loads and/or trailers start getting heavy, the Aerostar is one of your best bets.