2005 CHRYSLER PACIFICA TOURING REVIEW 2005 CHRYSLER PACIFICA AWD ROAD TEST

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2005 Chrysler Pacifica Touring AWD

 The Good:  Luxurious interior.  Stylish and bold exterior.  Easy entry and exit height.  Four individual seats all very comfortable.  Lots of room inside for each person.  Great mix of car, SUV and minivan. 

 The Bad:  Very little driver feedback from the steering wheel.  Slugging driving feel.  Needs better engine and transmission.

             One of the first vehicles to come out of the merger of Daimler and Chrysler was the Pacifica.  The Pacifica enjoys being a blend of minivan, SUV, and car.  A great blend we might add.  Inside hints of Mercedes design are abundant.  The height of the Pacifica makes for a car-like feel when entering and exiting, however seats are high enough to make the ride feel like a SUV and minivan. Individual seats in first and second rows are another trait borrowed from the mininvan.  The Pacifica can be called a large station wagon, but it is the twenty-first century now and automakers cannot utter the word 'wagon' lately.

Led by strong sales of several nameplates, the Chrysler Brand achieved a strong first quarter, with sales increasing 17 percent to 123,460 units.  This builds on the Chrysler Brand's growth over the last decade from 221,990 units in 1993 to more than 463,000 in 2003 (109 percent increase).  All Chrysler Pacifica models are built at DaimlerChrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

            The exterior design of the Pacifica is fresh and unique from most other vehicles on the road.  From afar it may seem smaller than it actually is, due to its sleek and slanted front end.  The Pacifica's large body shape has road presence and its overall appearance is a nice modern design, behind the wheel it certainly feels large.  Contours flow from the front to the tail end in a very stylish manner.  The length of the Pacifica is almost as large as the Town & Country minivan we recently tested.

            Step inside the Pacifica and you will notice that it is much easier to get in than in a large SUV.  We loved the flowing Mercedes-like interior design.  The width of the Pacifica really can be felt inside.  Wood look trim, mixed with aluminum door handles and silver painted trim is used throughout the cabin.  The cavernous interior is elegant with three rows of large seats bolstered for comfort and performance, with minivan style armrests on each seat.  The second row of seating is almost as comfortable as the first row, with fully individual seats with a console in between.  They are just slightly smaller than the front seats, but still very comfortable with armrests, reclining and sliding features.  This allows the third row of seats to have plenty of legroom if everyone slides up a bit.  The third row is also styled like a bench but is split folding with cup holder's ala minivan style to the sides.  Headroom is low in the third row as the roof does angle downward.  Getting into the third row is difficult because you must fold and flip forward the second row of seats.  It is quite easy to fold the second and third row to make a flat floor, however the floor will be high and so tall items will not fit.  Both the first and second row of seats have heating elements in low and high settings.  The second row also has its own fan adjustment for sending more air in the rear compartments.  Even the third row has vents for airflow on the floor of the Pacifica. 

            Up front in the driver's seat, controls are all nearby.  We liked the elegance of the compartment with its flowing design.  The ignition is located on the dash and not in the steering column.  We loved the Mercedes style power seat adjustment buttons in the shape of a seat on the door so you never have to hunt for the buttons or levers under the seat.  Now you can actually see the part of the seat you want to move.  The driver's seat also has a two-position memory feature.  The door unlock button is located next to the aluminum door pull.  All four windows are one touch down but not up, we would have liked to see them one touch up as well.  A foot lever near the dead pedal engages the parking brake.  Gas and brake pedals are also adjustable by way of a switch located on the door.  These are all features that make living with the Pacifica such a joy. 

Sharing of stereo and climate controls is a bit of a downer in this otherwise unique vehicle.  The 200-watt Infinity speaker system sounded great and it included CD and tape functions.  We had an optional DVD changer but no DVD screen; we would have liked that as well.  We much prefer using an IPOD with a FM tuner and so we made little use of the CD changers.

The temperature controls are located just above the stereo.  The system has settings for dual zones as well as controls for the rear fan.  We found the system to be loud up front with the second row fans turned on.  However it is still better than not having airflow in the rear compartment.  An air filtration system is also standard.

The instrument cluster glows white day or night in a very Mercedes S-Class style, which was a great elegant touch.  A glowing green clock is located just to the right of the instrument cluster and reminds us of the clock in Infiniti models.  A small display for the trip computer is located in the lower left hand corner of the instrument cluster with controls located near the oval clock in the dash.  At night most of the cabin glows green in color as in other Chrysler models.  The instrument cluster is a bit simplistic without the navigation system which displays inside of the main speedometer.  Here you do not have the option of having a passenger play with the navigation system and find interesting stopovers nearby your route.  However without the navigation system the instrument cluster looks incomplete.  Otherwise we feel that something like stereo station and a trip computer be displayed inside this otherwise empty area.

Another optional feature is a Bluetooth phone system called UConnect.  This is something we feel should be standard just for its large safety benefits.  High intensity discharge lamps are also optional and available on the Pacifica.  The standard beams worked better than any American car we have seen yet, the high beams were powerful and the low beams with the fog lights very bright.

The elegant steering wheel feels great to the touch and also holds loads of buttons for cruise control.  The steering column is manually adjustable up and down but not in its length.  Behind the wheel are buttons for the stereo system with no lettering describing what these buttons actually do, a strange oddity.  We would rather have the stereo buttons on the front of the wheel with the cruise buttons behind it. 

The powered rear lift gate on the Pacifica comes in handy when you have things in your hand.  A button for this is located in the upper console next to the Homelink Garage door buttons as well as on the keychain.  Seats in the second row also have hooks as in minivan seats.  Legroom and space overall is great in the Pacifica.  There is plenty of elbowroom for large American buyers and even with seats reclined a bit everyone has enough space to feel very comfortable. 

As far as cargo room goes, with the third row up, there is little room for much more than a few bags.  You generally must put the third row down when buying large amounts of groceries or anything larger than a tennis bag.  Cargo room with all seats folded is 79.5 cubic feet.

On the road the Pacifica handles more like a car than a SUV.  The interior is very quiet with road noise eliminated very well.  The Pacifica drives beautifully, maybe a little too well.  The feeling behind the wheel is a strange mix of large SUV and Minivan.  You cannot feel the tires touching the road very well through the steering wheel.  The stiff gas pedal and unresponsive engine and transmission makes for a sluggish feeling.  However, body bounce and sway is very low and composure on the road is quite good for this vehicle.  Only when you turn hard and sharp does the Pacifica sway too much.  So there is a point of no return on the suspension, go past this point and body lean is significant.  Driving around town and on highways is more comfortable than sporty.  The Pacifica has very good road mannerisms. 

            The Pacifica is powered by a 250 horsepower 3.5 Liter 6-cylinder engine which also produces 250 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a four speed automatic with AutoStick which lets you change gears by way of the gear shift lever.  The Pacifica's engine is not as free flowing those from German shores causing a slow strained feeling even with a good amount of horsepower.  Large 17-inch wheels and beefy 235/65R tires make for a solid feeling behind the wheel.  A five-link rear suspension with load leveling really shines through eliminating road bounce as we felt in minivans.  The brakes are all disc with antilock feature.  The Pacifica's fuel economy rating is listed at 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, we thought that it could be much better and hope that in the future it will get better. 

            Taking the Pacifica off road is not recommended as its ride height is not that great.  There is no hill descent control or automatic braking so that the Pacifica does not slide back on a hill.  We think that it is more like a minivan in the off road department and would not recommend it for serious off-roading at all. 

            The Pacifica is a great long journey tourer.  The smooth ride and quiet interior makes for a very relaxed trip.  The seats feel very comfortable and have long and wide bottoms that are soft enough to feel great day in and out.  The vehicle is wide and long so stability is also not an issue as it is often the case in minivans.  The ride height is low enough to give you a car-like feeling but with taller seats for a more minivan seating position. 

            Safety is also key in the Pacifica with dual front airbags and driver's knee airbag.  We did not find any side impact airbags or curtain bags for the three rows standard in our model however, the Limited model offers more airbags.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put the Pacifica through the paces and Chrysler Pacifica received the government's highest front and side crash test rating - Five Stars when equipped with the side airbags which are optional.  Pacifica also earned the U.S. Government's best rating for rollover resistance of all SUVs tested, four stars.

            For 2005 Chrysler will offer three models.  One is an entry level model priced at less than $25,000.  Then we have our test car, a Touring model priced at $30,370.  Finally a Limited model will be added with many more options.  All wheel drive models and front wheel drive models are available in each trim.  We would suggest you buy the Touring model with standard leather seats as the feeling inside is much more upscale.  Rear park assist is also a great option to have added in this large vehicle as well as Sirius radio.  The Pacifica limited will start at $36,995 and will include all wheel drive, 19-inch wheels, a nicer interior in leather with power moon roof, side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, and tire pressure monitoring system.  However this price range gets into competition with the BMW X3 and Acura MDX as well as our favorite SUV the Touareg.  With incentives offered by Chrysler the Pacifica can be a bargain when sold at invoice price or below invoice.  VW also offers Touareg's now below invoice and so that may be a better option.  However the ride quality is more relaxed, and comfortable in the Pacifica, rather than a high feeling in a SUV.  Look next year for the Mercedes Grand Sports Tourer which is likely to be a similarly styled vehicle to the Pacifica.   

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 28,094 30,645
Destination 680 680
Customer Preferred Package 26U  Includes Comfort/Convenience Group, F&R Head Curtain Air Bag Restraint System, Dual Side Impact Air Bag Restraint System, Dual Heated Power Folding Mirrors, Inside & LH O/S Automatic Day/Night Mirrors, Fog Lights, Auto Headlamp Control, Power Liftgate, AM/FM Stereo w/CD & Cassette & DVD Player w/6-Disc CD Changer in Dash & Memory Pkg Which Consists of Driver's Seat, Mirror & Power Pedal Memory. 2,006 2,280
Moon Roof, Power • Touring 788 895
Communication System, UConnect • Touring AWD, Limited 242 275
Premium Audio Pkg  Bose Premium Radio System & Sirius/ XM Satellite Radio Feature. 890 1,000
Headlamps, High Intensity Discharge • Touring, Limited 484 550
Navigation System • Touring, Limited 1,492 1,695
Park Assist, Rear 242 285
Tire Pressure Monitor • Touring 62 70
Sun Shades, Manual Rear Side • Wagons 134 150

 

COMPARISONS 2005 Chrysler Pacifica
Touring AWD 4dr Wagon (3.5L 6cyl 4A)
2004 Nissan Murano
SE AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
2004 Toyota Highlander
Limited AWD 4dr SUV w/3rd Row (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
2004 Infiniti FX35
AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2004 BMW X3
2.5i AWD 4dr SUV (2.5L 6cyl 6M)
MSRP $30,370 $30,850 $31,380 $36,050 $30,300
Invoice $27,849 $28,369 $27,926 $33,146 $27,735
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 7 yr. / 70000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 6 yr. / 70000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 3.5 liters 3.5 liters 3.3 liters 3.5 liters 2.5 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
single overhead cam (SOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 250 hp @ 6400 rpm 245 hp @ 5800 rpm 230 hp @ 5800 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm 184 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 250 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 246 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 242 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm 270 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm 175 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm
Tires P235/65R17
all season
P235/65TR18
all season
P225/65R17
all season
P265/60VR18
all season
P235/55HR17
all season
Third Row Seat Type 50-50 split bench Not Available bench Not Available Not Available
Max. Cargo Capacity 80 cu. ft. 82 cu. ft. 81 cu. ft. 65 cu. ft. 71 cu. ft.
City 17 mpg. 20 mpg. 18 mpg. 16 mpg. 18 mpg.
Highway 22 mpg. 24 mpg. 24 mpg. 22 mpg. 25 mpg.
Length 198.9 in. 187.6 in. 184.6 in. 189.1 in. 179.7 in.
Width 79.3 in. 74 in. 71.9 in. 75.8 in. 73 in.
Height 66.5 in. 66.5 in. 68.7 in. 65 in. 66 in.
Weight 4393 lbs. 3964 lbs. 3935 lbs. 4215 lbs. 4001 lbs.
Wheel Base 116.3 in. 111.2 in. 106.9 in. 112.2 in. 110.1 in.
Ground Clearance 5.9 in. 7 in. 7.3 in. 7.6 in. 8 in.
Front Headroom 39.2 in. 40.7 in. 40 in. 40.8 in. 39.3 in.
Rear Headroom 40.4 in. 39.7 in. 39.8 in. 39.5 in. 39.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 60.8 in. 59.6 in. 57.9 in. 56.9 in. 55.8 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 60.5 in. 59.1 in. 57 in. 57.4 in. 55.4 in.
Front Hip Room 55.2 in. 56.2 in. 55.1 in. 54.3 in.  
Rear Hip Room 56.3 in. 56.6 in. 54.9 in. 55 in.  
Front Leg Room 40.9 in. 43.4 in. 40.7 in. 43.9 in. 40.2 in.
Rear Leg Room 38.9 in. 36.1 in. 36.4 in. 35.2 in. 35.8 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 13 cu.ft. 32.6 cu.ft. 10.5 cu.ft. 27.4 cu.ft. 33 cu.ft.
Maximum Seating 6 5 7 5 5

 

2004 Chrysler Pacifica Feature Highlights

 

  • six-passenger Luxury Seating in Three Rows (2 + 2 + 2)

 

  • Full-Length Center Console – 1st and 2nd Rows

 

  • Seats – Power 10-way Driver, 4-way Passenger

 

  • Power Adjustable Pedals with Memory – INDUSTRY FIRST

 

  • Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control

 

  • Fold-Flat Load Floor

 

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

 

  • Next Generation (Multi-Stage) Front Air Bags*

 

  • Three-Row Side Curtain Air Bags*

 

  • 3.5-l, 24-Valve, SOHC V-6 Engine

 

  • (250 Horsepower, 250 lb.-ft. Torque)

 

  • Four-speed Automatic Transaxle with Autostick®

 

  • On-demand All-wheel Drive or Front-Wheel Drive with Traction Control

 

  • Four-wheel Antilock Disc Brakes

 

  • (318 x 28 mm Front and 312 x 14 mm Rear)

 

  • Five-link Independent Rear Suspension with Load-leveling and Height Control

 

  • 17-inch P235/65 Tires and Aluminum Wheels

 

 

 

Available:

 

  • Heated First- and Second-Row Seats

 

  • Leather-Trimmed Seats

 

  • In-Cluster Navigation System – INDUSTRY FIRST

 

  • Infinity Intermezzo ™ Digital 5.1 Surround sound

 

  • UConnect Hands-Free Communication System ™ – CHRYSLER FIRST

 

  • DVD Rear Seat Video ™ Entertainment System

 

  • SIRIUS Satellite Radio ™ Prep

 

  • High-Intensity Discharge Headlamps

 

 

 

 

Pacifica Standard Features

 

  • Door-Mounted Front Seat Power Switches – CHRYSLER FIRST

 

  • Power, Front & Rear One-touch Down Windows

 

  • Power Locks

 

  • Illuminated Keyless Entry with Central Locking

 

  • Security Alarm System

 

  • Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System

 

  • Radio/Driver Seat/Exterior Mirrors Memory

 

  • Universal Garage Door Opener System

 

  • Sunglass Holder

 

  • Illuminated Vanity Mirrors in Sun Visors

 

  • Tachometer

 

  • Power Accessory Delay

 

  • 4 Power Outlets – Front & Rear

 

  • Folding Second and Third Row Seats

 

  • Rear Cargo Storage Bin

 

  • Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob & Steering Wheel

 

  • Steering Wheel-Mounted Audio Controls

 

  • Speed Control

 

  • Tilt Steering Column

 

  • Instrument Panel Mounted Ignition Switch – CHRYSLER FIRST

 

  • Climate Control Outlets – Front/Rear

 

  • Air Filtering

 

  • Solar Control Sunscreen Glass

 

  • Rear Window Defroster

 

  • Automatic Halogen Headlamps

 

  • Fog Lamps

 

  • Exterior Mirrors – Dual, Power, Heated Fold-Away with Auto Dim Driver

 

  • Inside Rear View, Auto Dim Mirror

 

  • Antenna – Integrated in Side Window

 

  • Sound System

AM/FM Radio with Compact Disc and Changer Control

Amplifier – 150 Watt

Speakers – 7, Infinity®

 

  • Rear Window Wiper/Washer

 

  • Fuel Tank – 23 Gallons

 

*Always use seat belts. Remember, a backseat is the safest place for children 12 and under.

 

 

Pacifica Optional Features

 

  • Power Sunroof

 

  • Power Liftgate

 

  • 6-Disc, In-Dash CD/DVD Changer

 

  • Sound System

AM/FM/Cassette Radio with Compact Disc

Amplifier – 385 Watt

Speakers – 8, Infinity Intermezzo™ with Subwoofer

 

  • 17” Chrome Wheels

 

  • Full-Size Spare Tire

 

  • Cargo Convenience Group

Tonneau Cover

Cargo Net

Adjustable Roof Rail Crossbars

 

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