"I have driven a Honda and Toyota van as well as my Villager. I like this van the best for many reasons.
I had to give the Honda up because its transmission gave me so many problems. Our company eventually got rid of them.
The Toyota was too big and harder to park. It was roomy but too big in comparison to my Villager. My Villager is just as roomy on the inside without the exterior bulkiness of the Toyota. Both the Toyota and Honda vans were provided by my company for the job I do.
My van has been reliable. It also has 190,000 miles on it and still does not leak oil.
I like its size. It is not too big. The Toyota and Honda's bottom end juts out, my Mercury's bottom end does not just out much more than the top.
It fits in parking places more easily than the Toyota and Honda van ever did while having good interior room.
I can also easily remove the two bucket seats and the back seat to carry large items. I carried 8 4x8 panels in it once.
The fit and finish has held up. My seat's upholstery is still intact and looks almost new and I don't do anything to it but vacuum it every few months. The dashboard, the interior covering on the doors is intact also.
With the Toyota and Honda vans, the dashboard started to show signs of age and cracking earlier.
I also get 22 miles to the gallon and up to 28 gallons on the highway.
We have had one problem with it, many of the Ford dealerships that work on it do a poor job. For example, there is a section of the tubing that leaks freon which we replaced after 4 years of owning our van. YOu would think that replacing it with a new one, it would last another 4 years. It did not, it only lasted less than a year. So we do not have air conditioning. We do have heat though which is all we need anyhow.
The mechanics in Germany did a better job on our Mercury villager. But each time we have had to get it fixed in the states, we have to get it redone, or on the other hand, it just never seems right.
We also got our brake pads replaced once and I noticed a vibration that was not there before I had brought it into the dealer as I drove it out after the brake pad replacement. We had a hard time getting that corrected - many trips back to the dealer and lack of competence and knowledge.
My problem is with the varying Ford dealerships that work on it. Consistently, their work is lacking.
But if they could make this van again and most of all straighten the problem with poorly trained mechanics, I would buy it all over again. I am planning to write to the company to ask if they will and if I may sit in on the planning.
There are so many things I love about this van that I am having a hard time thinking about shopping for a new vehicle which I know we may need in a few years.
I have had this van since 1995. It is not that I cannot afford a new one but have kept it because it has never let me down. Reliability is very important to me."
"My parents bought this van off the lot in 1995. I got it one year ago after my other car died. Currently the car has 319,000 miles on it and is still in excellent running condition. It is super comfy and can fit a lot of people comfortably. I love this car!!"
Pros: "reliability, visibility and overall performance"
Cons: "door locks stick when using the key only"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I can't say enough good things about my 98 Villager. I bought it about 1.5 years ago from the 2nd owner. It had about 130k miles at the time. It had some cosmetic issues but mechanically it checked out fine. Took it on a 4500 mile trip this past fall and it performed very well. Got about 23mpg on hwy in states that didn't require a 10% ethanol mix. In the city I get about 15-16 mpg.It's fun to drive with great visibility and lots of thrust when its needed. It's also fairly quiet on the road which tends to be a problem on vans and SUV. The locks have been an issue when using the key but a little WD40 fixed the problem. There's also a very helpful chat room on Yahoo dedicated to the Villager if you have repair questions about the vehicle. I'm very pleased with my purchase."
"Bought a 1996 Villager in 2002. Had about 78,000; now has 191,000. Air cond. quit about 3 years ago. Cost too much to fix. Had to replace brakes several times. The biggest problem has been front ball joints. Have had to replace them almost every year. But we live on a dirt/gravel road which is rough on vehicles. But overall it has been very reliable. Has always started and gotten us from a to b. Kids love it for the room. Back hatch doesn't open anymore. Sliding door is hard to open. Probably all the dirt and dust. Just bought a different vehicle--will be hard to get rid of van even with the problems it is starting to have. Have been happy with it overall."
"Bought this van with 101,000 mi---now has 160,000. Plan to keep it . I spent $125 on repair in last year and 1/2. Needs a few things but no rust--gets 22 mi per gal with 6 cyl. Runs great--comfy on trip. Back seat is adjustable but can't be removed. I bought it in Wisconsin so surprised it not rusty by now. Has been a great mini van."