The folks at Ford are grinning from wheel hub to wheel hub.

Chrysler is No. 1 in the mini-van market, but Ford pulled off a minorcoup by beating the leader out with a four-wheel-drive mini-van-with antilock brakes to boot.

Chrysler adds four-wheel drive with antilock brakes as an option for1991. Ford has both of those systems in its 1990 Aerostar.

The 4WD/ABS combination is offered in the regular 118.9-inch wheelbase/174.9-inch long and extended 118.9-inch wheelbase/190.3-inch long Aerostarsfor 1990. We test drove the extended version.

The four-wheel drive is full time with no buttons to push, hubs to lockor transfer case to fiddle with. The antilock brakes are on the rear wheelsonly.

The antilock brakes worked admirably on rain soaked roads when weattempted a panic stop or two. Without snow, we weren`t able to put the four- wheel drive to its ultimate test.

The 4WD Aerostar comes only with 4-liter, 155-h.p., V-6 engine with afloor-mounted 4-speed automatic. Decent response and quiet operation, but the EPA rating is 16 m.p.g. city/22 m.p.g. highway.

Ride and handling were adequate. One time we idled while waiting for thearrow in a left-turn lane. Cars and trucks zoomed past on the right and theslab-sided Aerostar reacted like a rocking chair to each gust of wind.

The van seated seven in a two-bucket/two-bucket/bench-seat pattern. There was above average comfort and room front to rear with more than adequate spacebehind the third seat to haul groceries or luggage. The cargo area showed Fordpaid attention to detail. The floor had two easy pop open compartments, one tohide the tire jack and wrench, the other for storage. Another storage bin was built into the side wall.

There was enough walk-through space from second to third seat, but nowalk-through room to or from the front seat. A mammoth console blocked theway.

The console did have one redeeming value. It had-and you knew this wascoming-cupholders for each front-seat occupant and dual holders for secondseat passengers. The console also housed coin and cassette holders and a pull-out drawer suitable for maps.

The extended length four-wheel-drive Aerostar has a base price of$15,408.

Standard equipment includes power brakes and steering; air conditioning;AM radio; tinted glass; steel-belted, all-season, radial tires; and dualmirrors plus a host of minor items ranging from dome lights to coat hooks.

Our vehicle came with a preferred equipment group that ran a hefty $7,873 and included captain`s chairs, air conditioning front and rear, privacy glass,rear window wiper/washer/defroster, power convenience group (windows/doorlocks/mirrors), luggage rack, AM/FM stereo with cassette and clock,electronics group (overhead console with trip computer and electronicinstrument cluster), cruise control and tilt wheel. A trailer towing packagethat would handle up to 4,600 pounds ran $149.

The test vehicle stickered for more than $22,000.