This one is for my friend Tom who has a Ford Windstar minivan. For years he has lamented the "money pit" that his Windstar has become because it constantly breaks down.
Well Tom, Ford is trying to getting its act together with the minivan by rolling out a compact version that is packed with potential.
At Detroit's Auto Show in January, Ford will unveil a new compact minivan called C-MAX. While Ford has not officially said when we'll see the C-Max, it's fair to say it will eventually roll into showrooms.
The C-Max is based on the same platform as the Focus compact car, and the best comparison for it in the market is the Mazda5. That's the interesting thing about C-Max.
While it is not like traditional full-size minivans, the C-Max could win over buyers who flock to the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country.
With the capability to haul up to seven people and with sliding rear doors, the C-Max has a couple of features that will get a lot of attention, including a hands-free liftgate. When the person holding the key to the C-Max waves a foot under the back of the minivan, the liftgate opens automatically.
Difference maker? Not sure.
When I mentioned this to neighbors who drive minivans almost all said the same thing, "Interesting feature, but I'll need to see more to trade in my Odyssey (or Sienna or Town & Country, etc.)."
That's the challenge for Ford. It's smart to try and make noise again in the minivan market. It's not a huge segment, but you can't ignore it.
Which brings up Windstar. It's been an also ran in the minivan segment and for years, Ford has essentially lost the chance to keep buyers in the family or to win them over with a truly competitive model.
Now, with C-Max Ford is getting back in the game.