New & Used Chrysler Pacifica: In Depth
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The Chrysler Pacifica was a wagon--or was it a crossover? A derivative of the company's popular minivans, the lower and sleeker Pacifica was a six-passenger alternative to the minivan that, in its short life, actually helped make those Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans even better.
First shown in 2002 as a concept, the Pacifica went into production as a 2004 model. At nearly 80 inches wide, almost 200 inches long, and almost 67 inches high, it was larger than all of Chrysler's passenger cars, but still smaller than its minivans. The packaging delivered seating for six in three rows--mostly for kids in the back--and a fold-flat cargo floor that was as useful as the stow areas in contemporary vehicles like the Volvo XC90 and Audi allroad. The Pacifica's seating system was so new, in fact, it led Chrysler to retool its then-current minivans to share the same seating arrangement--what would become the Stow 'n Go package.In its first year on the market, the Pacifica came with a single powertrain, Chrysler's 3.5-liter V-6 and a four-speed automatic. The powertrain was viewed as lackluster, though it was one of the best minivan powertrains available from Chrysler at the time. Most of the complaints were over its unrefined sounds and its lack of pulling power once the Pacifica was laden with people and their cargo. Chrysler also offered all-wheel drive on some models, which added more weight and traded it off for all-weather traction. The Pacifica had other components from other global partners: the rear suspension was lifted, all but intact, from a previous-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan.
For the 2007 model year, Chrysler tried to correct the powertrain shortcomings with the Pacifica by adding a new 4.0-liter V-6 rated at 253 horsepower coupled to a six-speed automatic, and by making it standard on all models except base front-wheel-drive versions. Those models got a smaller 3.8-liter, 200-horsepower V-6 with a four-speed automatic. Side-curtain airbags and stability control were standard, as was a knee-blocker airbag and dual-zone air conditioning. Up the options list, the Pacifica was available with a rearview camera, heated seats, DVD navigation, and a premium Infinity surround sound system.
Slow sales weren't helped by Chrysler's internal turmoil--or by the Pacifica's neither-fish-nor-fowl positioning. In many ways it was a precursor of vehicles like the Dodge Durango, Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, even the Ford Flex. Still, demand slipped, and by the 2008 model year the Pacifica already was on the way out--even before Chrysler slipped first out of control of Daimler AG, then venture-capital funding, then finally into bankruptcy in 2009.