- All-wheel drive available
- generous cargo room
- three rows of seating
- SUV capacity with car-like ride and handling.
Introduced in 2003, the five-year-old Chrysler Pacifica is neither an SUV, nor a station wagon, nor a minivan. While it is large enough to carry eight people with the optional third-row seat, it remains comfortable and car-like, which is ideal for freeway cruising. The taller stance, upright seating, and enormous cargo capacity compare favorably with minivans. It is a nearly seamless blend of three different vehicle types.
The Pacifica is available in both all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive forms. The base front-wheel-drive trim comes standard with a 3.8L V6, generating 200 horsepower, and a four-speed automatic transmission. The upgrade to all-wheel drive also brings with it a 4.0L V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission that make 253 horsepower. This is not a large step up in power, but the engine's flatter torque curve and two additional ratios from the transmission mean the vehicle, which weighs 4,300 pounds, will feel more sprightly.
The base Pacifica starts just over $24,000, and luxury-oriented standard items abound, including load-leveling suspension, power-adjustable front seats, and dual-zone climate control. Heated leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a six-disc CD changer come packaged for $1,945.
The Touring trim, which starts at $28,265, adds a folding third-row seat for two more people. Heated power mirrors and ten-way luxury power seats are also included upgrades. Wood grain is applied to the dash, making the Touring model feel more upscale. A six-disc CD changer, 19-inch wheels, Parksense park-assist system, heated second and third-row seating, and a high-end surround sound system are all available options.
The Limited trim starts at $34,150, but it includes many of the Touring's luxury options, such as 19-inch wheels, a power moonroof, fog lamps, Parksense, a power liftgate, and Sirius satellite radio. A rearview back-up camera with a display cleverly placed inside the speedometer can be added for $395.