AutoTest File - 2004 Chrysler Pacifica

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,717
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    [​IMG]

    Trans Pacifica: Chrysler’s cross-dress, er, crossover makes a splash

    [​IMG]

    We don't have the time nor the space to tell you once more what kind of vehicle we think the Pacifica is (that was a lie: It’s a station wagon; big, yeah, but a station wagon nonetheless). Chrysler insists on calling it a segment buster, crossover, sports tourer, transgendered automotive trans-portation (okay, maybe not that last one). Whatever you call it, we know one thing: You like it.

    From the looks of it, it is difficult not to like. The Pacifica strikes an elegant pose, using a tasteful sprinkling of chrome accents and body contours that feel purposeful rather than superfluous, to give it a distinctive look. The same holds for the vehicle’s interior, where Chrysler proves a simplicity of design doesn’t have to be boring. A minimal amount of wood trim, a nicely arcing line that integrates the center stack with the instrument panel, quality materials and excellent fit-and-finish give the Pacifica a high-quality feel. One editor was even compelled to comment, “This is probably the best-built Chrysler I’ve driven since the 1957 300D.” (He’s been around for a while.)

    Owners who responded to our AutoFile survey agree. “I fell in love with the design when it was a concept car at the Detroit show,” said one owner. “I looked closely at the production car and still liked what I saw. I think the exterior lines and details are absolutely the most beautiful on the road—and the interior is no slouch. The fit-and-finish is not quite up to par with my Audi, but it’s by far the best I’ve seen in a Chrysler.”

    But what the Pacifica has going for it in style, it wants for in motivation. The 250-hp, 250-lb-ft 3.5-liter V6 does just fine under the hood of the 300M. In this application, however, with 800 more pounds of heft to haul around, the engine simply suffers. From a stop, the Pacifica hardly jumps off the line, as substantiated at the track with a mediocre 9.86-second 0-to-60-mph time. But in highway passing situations, its poor power-to-weight ratio really makes itself known, with the Pacifica requiring almost eight seconds to travel from 60 to 80 mph. A five-speed would certainly begin to help out in that regard, but it is a problem best addressed with more power—or less weight. A lot less.

    Again, every owner agreed. “The only serious flaw of the Pacifica is the very weak engine/drivetrain,” said one.

    “It needs an engine of about 275 lb-ft and 290 hp to move its great weight. The four-speed transmission needs another gear down low and a smoother entry into the manual-shifting mode.” Another simply said: “Few cars have enough horsepower, especially this one!”

    Thankfully, the Pacifica manages to stop a lot better than it goes, its large four-wheel discs eating up only 130 feet of tarmac to drag the vehicle to a standstill from 60 mph (though not without a good deal of dive). That’s a decent distance for a sedan three-quarters the Pacifica’s size (for example, the 3300-pound Acura TSX needs 135 feet), so Chrysler is doing something right in managing the Pacifica’s mass.

    And it is not the only thing. The Pacifica’s strut front and multilink rear suspension setup gives the vehicle respectable handling capabilities, both in the real world—“While it won’t corner with the FX45, the ride/handling compromise is far better. It feels as if the damper spring combo is fairly soft, but with high roll stiffness,” said an owner—as well as on the track. Through our tight, 490-foot slalom, the Pacifica pulled off a 41.6-mph top speed, bettering smaller vehicles like the Honda CR-V (40.7 mph) and Jeep Liberty (39.5 mph), and even similarly sized vehicles like the Buick Rendezvous (40.4 mph) and Lincoln Aviator (39.4 mph).

    Complaints from owners (besides its lack of power) were mostly aimed at the vehicle’s minimal cargo room. “The Pacifica lacks the utility value of the Town & Country and doesn’t have much storage for a vehicle this big,” said one. Another simply said, “Cargo convenience group is a total rip-off.” Other owners criticized the Pacifica’s huge blind spots and big price tag, but adjusting mirrors properly and waiting for incentives seemed to address these issues.

    [​IMG]

    -----

    LIKES

    Styling
    Build quality
    People capacity

    DISLIKES

    Power-to-weight
    Rear visibility
    Cargo capacity

    OTHERS CONSIDERED

    Volvo XC90
    Infiniti FX45
    Acura MDX

    -----

    OWNERS SAY...
    The styling is great and it comes with so many bells and whistles. I love the controls and the fact that there are options for almost everything. There is a lot of flexibility in setting up the environment to suit you. It handles well and the ride is far superior to the Town & Country, though pickup is a tad sluggish at times. It also is deceptively roomy. The back seat is very comfy (living in Maine, I appreciate the heated seats) and the sound system is quite good. I love to drive because of it, and am really quite satisfied. -Cathie Kimball, Waterville, Maine

    The Pacifica, like many American cars, can be had for a hefty discount, and this was a major deal maker for me. The interior is beautiful in black leather. My 10-year-old loves the DVD and heated seats. The only critique of the rear seat is there isn’t any place to store the headsets, and the odd tray between the consoles is worthless. The engine, well, let’s just say that Chrysler has a way to go there. It makes decent power and pulls when needed, but won’t leave any black marks on the road. Ride and handling for such a large vehicle is amazing. -Eric Snyman, Moore, Okla.

    I am six foot five, and fit into very few cars with the exception of full-size SUVs, but I fit well into this car. The first two rows of seating are very comfortable for adults and children alike, and the third row works well with children, and adults under six feet. It is a very heavy vehicle, and the engine feels a bit anemic and is loud in general. The fit-and-finish is among the best I’ve seen from a American automaker. The brakes are fantastic, but rear visibility stinks and the passenger seat should have height adjustment. -Finn Runyon, Princeton, N.J.

    After owning five minivans, my wife was very reluctant to give up her Town & Country until she drove the Pacifica. We gave up a little bit of utility, but gained a lot of quietness, handling, technology and good looks. The car is smooth, has a great sound system, and the power liftgate comes in handy. The seats are easy to maneuver for interior flexibility. -LaMar Wyse, Gallipolis, Ohio

    -----

    VEHICLE SPECS AND ROAD-TEST DATA

    STICKER
    Base: (includes $680 delivery): $31,130
    As tested: $37,855
    Owners paid; average: $27,500 to $38,500; $33,332

    CHASSIS
    Unibody four-door sport/utility vehicle

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 116.3
    Track (in): 66.0 front, 66.0 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 198.9/79.3/66.5
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 4482/5600

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 23.0
    Cargo (cu ft): 13.0
    Towing (lbs): 3500

    ENGINE
    Front-transverse 3.5-liter/214.7-cid sohc V6
    Horsepower: 250 @ 6400 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 250 @ 3950 rpm

    Compression ratio: 10.0:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    Front-wheel drive
    Transmission: Four-speed automatic
    Final drive ratio: 4.28:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: Struts with coil springs, gas-charged
    shock absorbers and antiroll bar
    Rear: Five-link with coil springs, self-leveling
    gas-charged shock absorbers and antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Discs front and rear, ABS
    Aluminum 235/65R-17
    Michelin Energy MXV4 Pilot Radial XSE

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 9.86 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 10.45 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 17.4 sec @ 79.8 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (first gear): 3.1 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 5.3 sec
    60-80 mph (second and third gear): 7.8 sec

    BRAKING
    60 mph-0: 130 ft

    HANDLING
    490-foot slalom: 41.6 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.76 g


    INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
    Idle: 47
    Full throttle: 75
    Steady 60 mph: 66

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 19.23 mpg
    AW overall: 18.53 mpg

    RESIDUALS
    $16,970 after 48-month lease,
    44.8 percent of new vehicle price

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    71,398
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Houston
    I actually like the looks of it... too bad its a chrysler product w/ the junk ass intrepid 3.5L motor in it. :o
     
  3. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,717
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    I agree, it needs a new V6.

    Despite that, the people who are buying them are choosing them over some pretty heady competition, from Acura, Infiniti, and Volvo.

    :eek3: :eek3: :eek3:
     
  4. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    71,398
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Houston
    I don't think it has any real competition though.... its bigger than the volvo and the audi "all purpose" vehicles. Its not an SUV like the MDX or the Infiniti... its a new breed of cars, which is kinda scary. Its not a car, its not a minivan, and its not a SUV. its just another POS from chrysler to make people buy it based on its look rather than knowing about the horrible reliability they have.
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,717
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Those aren't SUVs.

    All of them are large wagons that offer AWD, and all the reader feedback makes it obvious what the competition is.
     
  6. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    71,398
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Houston
    I guess you're right... but IMO, this car is different than both of those. :dunno:
     
  7. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,886
    Likes Received:
    2,948
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    decent conservative styling for a conservative and practical car.

    ain't cheap though! :eek3:
     
  8. White Stormy

    White Stormy Take that, subspace!

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    85,486
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Sparkopolis
    my dad has a silver AWD and my brother has a black AWD..

    only complaint I have about it is the doors are like 4ft thick.. making it harder to get in/out around the huge doors.. and they come in farther than a normal door when you close them

    drives nice.. handles nice.. the self-leveling ride adjustment is hella fun.. sticks to the road very well.
     
  9. White Stormy

    White Stormy Take that, subspace!

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2002
    Messages:
    85,486
    Likes Received:
    69
    Location:
    Sparkopolis
    my dad and brother both got theirs AWD and loaded.. and chrysler gave them a rebate of $3k for buying that model.. my dad traded a 2000 sebring sedan with engine trouble and and '01 sebring convertible.. and paid like $10k I think
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,717
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    I've only sat in one, but was struck by how nicely done it was.

    The build and materials quality inside and out is very high, the same type of quality and attention detail seems to be carrying over to all of Chrysler's upcoming products, like the 300C and Dodge Magnum.

    :cool:
     
  11. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,717
    Likes Received:
    1,559
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    [​IMG]

    Coming this year. :big grin:
     
  12. Girth

    Girth ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Messages:
    71,398
    Likes Received:
    107
    Location:
    Houston
    Once again... nice car. Chrysler product. They're the best company to mask their reliability and crapness in their design. :o
     
  13. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2001
    Messages:
    293,886
    Likes Received:
    2,948
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I really like that big sedan. With a grill that doesn't look like a sheet of graph paper it would look a lot better though :o
     
  14. autoracer1

    autoracer1 Rallyx postponed :wtc: Next one May 10.

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    :mercedes:

    Seen them around. Theyre pretty nice. For the price... a High-tech packaged FX35 shits all over it. Those things handle impressively well.
     
  15. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    20,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    “It needs an engine of about 275 lb-ft and 290 hp to move its great weight. The four-speed transmission needs another gear down low and a smoother entry into the manual-shifting mode.” Another simply said: “Few cars have enough horsepower, especially this one!”

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 9.86 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 17.4 sec @ 79.8 mph

    :ugh:

    Anything costing $38k should be able to pull low 15's at least... I mean COME ON. Image how much of a slug it'll be when loaded...the family trip up to Lake Tahoe will see big rigs flashing their high beams at you up the mountain... :down:
     

Share This Page