By on June 22, 2009

In the autumn of 2003, DaimlerChrysler introduced their first co-developed product: a “segment buster” called the Chrysler Pacifica. According to the official spin, the Pacifica married a minivan’s utility with an SUV’s machismo. In reality, the Pacifica was a six-seat station wagon on stilts, closest in concept to Audi’s slow-selling Allroad Quattro. While the Allroad pulled a Hasselhoff (more popular in Germany than its intended market), the Pacifica was born under a bad sign, raised with great expectations and expired stateside without fanfare or corporate hand-wringing. RIP Pacifica or good riddance to bad rubbish?

In many ways, the Pacifica was neither fish nor foul, starting with the proportions. It was taller than a car but lower than most SUVs. It had an exceptionally wide body and stretched nearly as long as Chrysler’s Town and Country minivan. But is still looked like what it was: a big-assed station wagon.

Chrysler designers used clever styling tricks to hide its heft. For example, the body sported multiple crease marks, near the window line, and again near the rocker panel. Like vertical stripes on clothing, the lines make the overall design seem longer and leaner. From the rear end, the Pacifica’s quarter panels taper dramatically inward from the rear wheels, thereby creating a thinner look. And the use of black molding on the roof give the vehicle the appearance of a sleek profile. The result was extremely color sensitive; dressed in white, you expected to see Captain Ahab pinned to the roof.

In keeping with Motown traditions, the first Pacificas hit dealer showrooms fully-loaded: all wheel-drive, load-leveling suspension, leather upholstery, heated first and second-row seats, sunroof, power liftgate, navigation (beautifully situated directly in front of the driver), dual zone climate control, DVD entertainment system and Sirius satellite radio. While the car’s upscale pretensions were obvious from the git-go, potential customers couldn’t see the price point. Initial Pacificas cost north of $35K. Even worse, the CUV’s build quality didn’t match the model’s “near luxury” aspirations. In-dash rattles, plastic panels that fell off, unpainted gas caps—the Pacifica (along with the new Crossfire Sports Car) was ground zero for dreams of Mercedes quality combined with Chrysler style.

Speaking of which, the Pacifica’s interior packaging sucked. The first two rows were spacious enough for four occupants, but the third row was suitable only for small, nimble, unloved children. When deployed, row three also left very little room for cargo, although it did fold flat when not in use. The Chrysler Pacifica posed the same question that the CUV genre still asks today: what IS the point? While modern CUVs answer with SUV-lite styling, the Pacifica looked like what it was: an expensive, big-assed station wagon.

Early Pacificas featured a mediocre engine (250hp 3.5-liter V6) and gear-challenged (four speed) transmission in a price bracket known for potent and refined powertrains. Thanks to the DaimlerChrysler’s vehicle’s heft and the ancient autobox, the Pacifica was both slow AND thirsty. The EPA rated its fuel economy at a less than desirable 15/20 mpg.

For the 2005 model year, Chrysler rectified the pricing problem (claiming it was their plan all along). The LX trim came equipped as a five-seater. In fact, the vehicle was thoroughly de-contented, including some very questionable seat materials, which undermined any chance of upmarket cachet. And did nothing much for sales.

DaimlerChrysler had a real dog on their hands. Not only did the vehicle fail to sell well, the company lost money on every one. The Pacifica sat on a modified minivan platform, but it didn’t share any interior furnishings with any other Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep product. The window switches, power seat controls (a nod to Daimler), audio and video entertainment options, seats, center console and the instrument panel weren’t interchangeable with any other vehicle.

Adding insult to injury, the Pacifica quickly developed a reputation for horrendous reliability. Straight out of the box, early models suffered from engine problems, transmission woes and the aforementioned quality control issues. Reflecting the analysis paralysis and cultural warfare bedeviling Auburn Hills, Chrysler failed to handle the Pacifica’s defects with speed or decisiveness. While some of early problems were eventually ironed-out, electrical gremlins plagued the Pacifica throughout its entire production cycle.

In sum, the Pacifica was one of the worst new car introductions in Chrysler’s history, with little or no advanced notice, hardly any pre-production publicity, and very little dealer training.

Since the Pacifica’s introduction, the CUV genre has exploded. Buyers looking for crossovers can choose from a wide range of vehicles that look like SUVs, burn gas like SUVs, won’t go off-road or tow like SUVs, and can’t carry more than five adults in comfort. But none of them—not one—looks like a bloated station wagon. There are brand new 2008 Pacificas sitting on ChryslerFiat dealers’ lots. Which tells you just about everything you need to know about the late, not-great Chrysler Pacifica.

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71 Comments on “Review: Last Call: Chrysler Pacifica...”


  • avatar

    Well the interior was very nice in this thing and I don’t think it rode bad at all. Quite roomy for me as well. Much better interior than any Chrysler on the road now that’s for sure.

    I don’t think there’s a 3rd row seat in any mid-sized SUV or CUV that doesn’t suck, tbh. But they’re very useful for a short-drive with a group of folks to a restaurant and such.

    • 0 avatar

      i have crysler pacifica 4lt awd best whicle i ever drive cornftable nice handle
      lots of room for small family
      look like van but when you driving its like racing car amazing corner handeling
      first couple gear not much power but when you get 60-70 mile speed man its kick as its not attack on the low gear but when its get going beatiful ride
      no road sound i love engine sound
      any bad road i dont feel anythink best ride ever
      i took test drive olmost every whicle before i buy this one non of whicle compare with cyrsler pacifica
      fuil mileg 80 lt tank i drove 650 km
      with this price i dont think you can get better than this whicle

  • avatar
    Wolven

    It’s sad really… Chrysler sat on the side lines for DECADES and watched while Chevy and Ford made a quickly pissed away fortune on full size SUV’s. I waited in vain for a full size Dodge Durango built on the Ram chassis. It would have been a great seller. (Probably still would be for that matter, but that’s another ballgame.) Instead the brilliant German leadershit offered us the Pacifica… which with just a bit of American styling and design really COULD have been a nice looking vehicle… and the abortion version of a full sized Durango.

    Sad, sad, sad. Can’t imagine why they had to pay Cerberus to take the company away…

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    I like station wagons because they protect my sound equipment from the elements and are relatively easy to load. Putting them on stilts like the Pacifica or Venza is dumb.

    Doesn’t jacking up a car also cause more drag which lowers efficiency?

    Will some of my fellow Americans ever stop playing “king of the hill” with their SUV’s or pretend cowboys with their silly pick ups?

    Here in Phoenix for every 2 landscapers or contractors who might have a use for a pickup there are 98 pretend cowboys driving around in empty pickups.

  • avatar
    afabbro

    I long ago noticed that when reviewing small, cheap things, people are brutally honest. But when reviewing large, expensive things they’ve purchased, people tend to be biased in favor of giving a positive review.

    The Chrysler Pacifica is no exception. But amid the typical lovefest that it gets, there is a note that someone bought one for $34K in 2007 and found its trade-in was $16K in spring of 2008. Ouch.

    Of course, it appears that with the right engine, your Pacific might go up in flames anyway.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Just add it to the list of yet another Chrysler screwed up from the get-go by M-B.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    I test drove one about 2005 or so. I thought it rode comfortably and handled quite well for a bloated wagon/mini-van. Felt incredibly wide from the driver’s seat.

    I never drove one, but I could see how the later-model 4.0L engine (and didn’t it have a new trans too?) could improve the vehicle.

    I agree on the 3rd row ergo/cargo. It’s a lose/lose proposition. A trait which appears to have infected the Ford Flex (if to a lesser degree).

    I don’t think the Traverse’s 3rd row sucks nearly as bad as the Pacifica. The Traverse is another “CUV” that also looks like a bigassed station wagon.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Closing time, you don’t have to go home but you can stay here! This thing was an underpowered Orca from the get-go. Amazing isn’t it, that 15 years ago no one, I mean no one, would have been caught dead driving the last Buick Roadmaster wagon, which BTW was a pretty quality automobile. The Pacifica’s design had to have been the Chrysler equivilent of the Pentagon Wars, with the end result Merc and Cerberus failing to make the ultimate Cross-over. Instead we got the Family Truckster.

  • avatar
    afabbro

    The Pacifica is nowhere near as ugly as that last edition of the Buck Roadmaster station wagon. Ugh.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I thought the Chrysler Pacifica was intended as a down scale Mercedes R-Class. It has similar characteristics at a much lower price point; a poorly designed, lousy quality big-assed station wagon few want.

  • avatar

    Chrysler was on to something with this vehicle. Resources should have been directed towards redesigning it and making it even better.

    But Chrysler cheapened it and let it whither and now it’s gone. Another brand that could have been big was totally abandoned.

    It also had Chrysler’s best modern interior IMO. It was beautiful inside when new.

  • avatar
    revolver1978

    While looking for a wagon,I test drove one of these at the behest of my brother, who favors the art-deco look of Chrysler products of late. (With the exception of the Sebring, which even he agrees is fugly.)
    It felt MASSIVE, visibility was questionable,and it generally felt like a older person’s car. Oddly enough, I felt the same way on an ’05 E320 4Matic Wagon. (Though the visibility was excellent.)
    The whole thing looked the part of upscale, but didn’t have the tactile quality to back it up. It also broke a cardinal rule of clever packaging – it was big on the outside and little on the inside.

  • avatar
    slateslate

    Having your debut TV campaign centered around Celion Dion didn’t help as well.

  • avatar

    The 4.0-liter V6 and six-speed automatic certainly improved performance beginning with the 2007, but the transmission has had reliability issues, based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey:

    [url=http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Chrysler&mc=68&email=Guest]Chrysler Pacifica reliability comparisons[/url]

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Don’t worry. As long as there is a “Chrysler” (maybe 18 months tops) you will be able buy a “new” 2008 Pacifica. Just make sure the the tires, hoses, and belts are OK.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I like station wagons because they protect my sound equipment from the elements and are relatively easy to load. Putting them on stilts like the Pacifica or Venza is dumb.

    There’s a good reason for raising the roof as long as you keep the floor low (eg, most minivans, the Kia Rondo). You get a huge amount of space, chair-like seating—all with the same exterior dimensions as a large sedan or wagon. They’re genuinely useful cars

    Raised-floor crossovers, though, are silly.

    It felt MASSIVE, visibility was questionable,and it generally felt like a older person’s car.

    One of the points in favour of the Japanese minivans (Sienna, Oddy) is that they really do feel quite small and carlike, even compared to their CUV counterparts.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Our neighbor had one of these in white. It was a limited model and I can tell you, these aren’t worth the money. I couldn’t believe what they paid. It looked like a bargain basement rental model, but with tacky plastic wood trim and rough, plasticky leather. Yuck. It never had any problems but they since replaced it with a loaded Avalon, which is really spacious as well. Smart people.

  • avatar
    windswords

    “dreams of Mercedes quality” that’s an oxymoron.

    “electrical gremlins plagued the Pacifica throughout its entire production cycle”, yep, it’s a German souled car alright.

    I rented one of these in 07. It wasn’t that bad. The ride was very nice. Power was adequate (thanks to the upgraded 4.0 and 6 speed). The interior materials were very nice (much better than Chrysler’s decontented fair) but the layout was not the best, revealing it’s Mercedes roots. I always liked the exterior styling but I never mistook it for an SUV wannabe, and that’s where I think people were disappointed in it. They wanted something like an SUV and this was something like a minivan.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Since the demise of the Pacifica SUV wannabe that’s really a mutated minivan the new Dodge Journey CUV has done very well despite a down market and very little marketing support. It’s not in the same size segment but it looks like a proper CUV, that is to say an SUV.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Since the demise of the Pacifica SUV wannabe that’s really a mutated minivan the new Dodge Journey CUV has done very well despite a down market and very little marketing support.

    But how much of that is fleet sales?

    The thing that pisses me off about the Journey is that they killed the short wheelbase Caravan to make room for it. Dumb move, especially when gas prices when through the roof.

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    BlueBrat – there’s only one mid-size ‘ute (of either persuasion) with a good 3rd row seat – the Land Rover LR3. I spent a lot of time in many 3rd rows before I settled on one – at 6’1 and 215lbs, I fit comfortably – plenty of headroom AND legroom.

    Slightly more on topic, I’ve always liked the idea of the Pacifica; the execution and price just wasn’t right for Chrysler.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “I waited in vain for a full size Dodge Durango built on the Ram chassis.”

    You mean a 4-door version of this?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    it is the cheap cousin of the Merc R type.
    try to park both side by side.
    I was told in one autoshow, they try to have the stand as far apart as each other so people cannot recognise the R from Pacifica.

    Nto-with-standing from being the same body why Chryslur had to water down the quality so much?

    I suppose the R 350 is not going to be a real stop light dragster. They make R 500 too, but is going to be using more gas faster than the guys downing beer at a drinking contest.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I always kinda liked these, but then I have a soft spot for big wagons and need something that can seat 6 or more from time to time. The car seemed relatively popular in my area, and presented the impression of Chrysler moving up in class and style. The inside was well done, though the 3d seat lacked the headroom required for my tall kids.

    But it seems that the Pacifica is turning into another late model MoPar MoneyPit. A shame, because it seemed so nice. I have some friends who have bought used ones lateley, and they seem happy. I hope they do better than some of the B&B’s esperiences.

  • avatar
    50merc

    I always found the Pacifica to have some appealing attributes. Reportedly it’s a comfy highway cruiser. So when a Pacifica pulled in behind us at a sightseeing stop, I asked the driver how he liked the car.

    The first words out of his mouth were “I would never, never, never buy another Chrysler product.” He went on the explain he’d been given the Pacifica by a car rental agency. He said he’d owned a Dodge that was a lemon, and replaced it with a used Bronco that went a quarter-million miles. Then, enticed by rebates, he bought a PT Cruiser. The engine blew up and had to be replaced while it was still under warranty. The dealer put in a new one, and six hundred (600!) miles later it literally (not figuratively) fell out onto the road. The dealer disclaimed responsibility, but eventually the guy got the Cruiser fixed again under warranty.

    Looks like the Pacifica is an apple that didn’t fall far from the Chrysler tree. How the hell can a company do that? Once it was known for solid, reliable cars.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    afabbro: “The Pacifica is nowhere near as ugly as that last edition of the Buck Roadmaster station wagon. Ugh.”A 5.7L Corvette V8 and RWD can make up for a lot of ugly.

    The Pacifica, OTOH, seems alot closer to going down in history as Chrysler’s Aztek.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    The first time we road tripped from Connecticut to Indiana for Memorial Day weekend we rented a Pacifica. For a long haul like that carrying four adults it was the best. The closest we came to matching it was the Caravan we rented this year. I’m not saying I would buy one (which is probably part of the problem) but if I were in the market for such a vehicle the Pacifica would be on my list.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    @slateslate:
    Celine Dion? Canadians got Diana Krall.
    It’s a wash.

  • avatar
    Zammy

    We own one as my wife’s daily driver. I’ll leave it to the B&B here to tell me how bad a mistake we made.

    We bought a used 2007 last year with 9,000 miles on it for around $22k. It is the AWD Limited trim (highest level) and has every possible factory option except for the engine block heater. The “story” that came with the car was that it had been a Chrysler company-owned car driven by one of their executives. The title matched the story as far as showing that the DaimlerChrysler corporation was the previous owner.

    It fits our lifestyle right now. Four seats and some cargo room works for my wife and our two kids. On the infrequent occasions when we want to carry more passengers (grandparents), we can send the kids to the “back-back” and live without the cargo space. Even though it is infrequent, carrying six passengers was a “must” for us when we were shopping, which really narrowed down the contender list.

    I know that even at the price we paid, we will take it in the shorts if we go to sell this car anytime soon. But we are people who tend to keep our vehicles for a long time, so as long as the mechanical reliability of the car doesn’t bite us I expect we will easily still be driving this in five years.

    Personally, it is the nicest riding car I have ever owned, but I’m not really qualified to be a judge of ride quality. My current daily driver is a 1999 Toyota 4Runner that I am the original owner of, and my previous daily driver was a Jeep Wrangler.

    I do know that I was rolling down the interstate just yesterday at around 85, navigation system telling me where to go, girls in the back seat watching Disney on the DVD player, and I really was pleased as punch with the way the car accelerated and handled and how quiet it was. Never test drove one with the smaller engine (ours has the 4.0) so I can’t comment on how they differ.

    • 0 avatar
      smithwood

      Wondering if you are still enjoying your Pacifica? We are in the process of purchasing a 2007 with 30,000 miles. We drove it out of town this weekend and loved it. We are on the short side – like the in-between height of it – not a monster SUV to climb into – not low down like our Accord. We had test driven a Honda Element & CRV and the much-touted Equinox. Quite frankly – I would rather pay $7,000 less and be comfortable. Just hoping the mechnical issues don’t bite us – it’s a 4.0 engine. BTW: Take a look at the Venza — looks a lot like a Pacifica to me!

      • 0 avatar
        Zammy

        We are still enjoying the Pacifica, it is a great family car for long trips.

        We have had a change in our family that is making the Pacifica a little more challenging. We’ve gone from having two children to having three, so now the third row is used every day. Add one passenger and we have almost zero room for cargo.

        So, my complaint about the Pacifica is that it isn’t practical to take six people and their luggage on a roadtrip or to the airport. But that really isn’t fair criticism. There aren’t many vehicles around that will do that comfortably.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        My in-laws have a Saturn Outlook that has the same problem, my Sis-in-law had a short wheelbase Dodge Minivan with the same problem. Carries more people than it has room for their luggage.

        Would be a serious point of concern for my family were we shopping for a vehicle like this – how much space behind the third row? In Dodge minivan? About 12 inches at the most. The Outlook? About 18″. In fact I was just able to carry my familiy’s luggage in the Outlook on an all family vacation. My in-laws all had to combine their luggage in an Altima we took along.

        In my old CR-V we can carry one family but luggage for two families. In the Outlook we can carry two families and luggage for one. My friend’s VW Eurovan would carry 8-9 people and luggage for even more. GRIN!

  • avatar
    probert

    Props for the greatest people mover ever made: The Toyota Previa.

    Awesome and super sexy.

  • avatar
    paulie

    • Come on people…it was a nice attempt.
    And it created the crossover segment.
    First, many on this sight rant about auto companies NOT trying to be creative.
    Then, when they do, but fail, they are slammed again.
    Judging the future 5 years or more in advance is really a gamble.
    To me this was a good, although failed, attempt at creating the new crossover.
    Yes, it failed.
    Yes, they made stupid judgments as Jim points out.
    But hell, it was a cool attempt at once again making something new.
    Like the minivan, it started something.
    But unlike the minivan, it was not priced or packaged right.
    Cheaper initial pricing AND better MPG would have made it a success.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The Pacifica is nowhere near as ugly as that last edition of the Buck Roadmaster station wagon. Ugh.

    But at least the Roadmonster has BOF RWD construction with a GM V8. It has legitimate use as a tow vehicle, unlike any of these FWD Unibody CUVs.

    I think a properly built up Roadmonster would be a cool ride.

    I always liked the B-Car.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Did somebody just diss the ’90s b-body?

    I always thought they were attractive cars, and still look good even today. Yeah, I guess I’m weird. Also, LT1 engine FTW!

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    And it created the crossover segment.

    Strangely, an argument can be made that the reviled Pontiac Aztec created the CUV Segment.

    GM was the first to do the Sedan/Mini-Van/CUV off of a common architecture with the W-Car/U-Van/whatever the Aztec was.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Except the Aztek was so unconventionally ugly that not even Pontiac knew what to consider it.

    And nobody tried to follow in their footsteps either, unlike the CUV’s that popped up after the debut of the Pacifica.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    @ Bumpy ii

    Comment:
    “You mean a 4-door version of this?”

    Actually, I’d take the 2 door version if that’s all they had. Yeah, I’d like one of those. I wonder why they never made them available in the U.S…

  • avatar
    dwford

    But none of them—not one—looks like a bloated station wagon.

    Really?? How about the Venza? How about the Lincoln MKT?? Flex?? The upcoming Hyundai Portico and Honda Crosstourer? All marginally useful FWD/AWD wagons that sacrifice utility for style. These are even less useful than the SUVs they replace, which were less useful than the minivans they replaced…

    All wastes of money by people who should be buying minivans to begin with.

    Yes the Pacifica created THIS useless segment. And unfortunately, other makers followed. Be gone.

  • avatar
    NickR

    But hell, it was a cool attempt at once again making something new.
    Like the minivan, it started something.

    Agreed. It was a design that could have succeeded if they’d crossed a few i’s and dotted a few t’s. It was one of the founding members of the CUV club, and still looks better than its descendants. I mean, seriously, the Benz R-class…what a piece of crap.

    I rented a Pacifica to bring my elderly patients on a road trip. I am 6′ 4″ and found it perfectly comfortable and they were perfectly content in the second row. But the materials were cheap for the price point and the engine/tranny combo was primitive.

    More power, a 5 speed, and nicer materials and maybe it would have made it.

    The Journey seems to be making inroads around here, I hope it doesn’t fall victim to the same disease.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Why no love for the Pacifica? Granted, I’ve never driven one, but I always thought it was a great concept. Nice looks (I like the art-deco look of the Pacifica and Crossfire). Sportier than an SUV or a Minivan. Taller than a wagon (potentially a minus), with a wagon-like body.

    My wife and I were looking for a new car to replace her Civic, and given that we had a baby due, we wanted something a little bigger. SUVs were out of the question, but my wife wanted something higher (but she hates SUVs and likes small sporty cars). I really wanted a wagon (I like the idea of a big cargo area), but pickings were slim (various Subarus, VW Passat, and I think that’s it). Minivans were an option, but there are few true minivans made these days. By the looks of it, the Pacifica looked like it would be sportier than an SUV. That, plus it’s sharp looks put it at the top of our list.

    Unfortunately, the Pacifica was cancelled last summer. We thought about buying a used one, but the gas mileage was atrocious (this was when gas was $4+ a gallon). The finalists were a Honda CRV, a Mazda 5, and a Ford Escape Hybrid. The Mazda 5 won.

    To this day, I think the Pacifica was a great idea.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    paris-dakar: “And it created the crossover segment.

    Strangely, an argument can be made that the reviled Pontiac Aztec created the CUV Segment.”The RAV4 is generally credited on that one. Although it was a compact utility vehicle, it began the ‘crossover’ movement by creating the first tall, car-based unibody, FWD/AWD vehicle, ie., a tall station wagon disguised as an SUV.

    All the ‘crossover’ variations that followed, whether they be direct competitors to the RAV4 (Honda CR-V, Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute, Saturn Vue/Chevy Equinox), or more off-the-wall minivan-oriented attempts like the PT Cruiser, Aztek, and Pacifica, can all trace their lineage back to the 1997 RAV4.

    If not for the success of the Toyota, there’s a strong possiblity that all AWD/4WD vehicles would still be riding on a truck-like BOF chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      So how does the RAV4 get the credit when Honda also sold a CUV in 1997?

      We drive a ’99 CR-V (204K miles and counting) and aside from 3-4 occasions per year when we need to seat six, it works very well for us. On those rare occasions we just drive two cars. Our double car trips are rarely more than 50 miles to a movie or park with our kids’ cousins or school buddies.

      Much happier doing this than driving a really large vehicle 365 days a year.

  • avatar
    Shogun

    Er. Wasn’t it the Lexus RX that created this CUV segment?

  • avatar
    MLS

    Can we get some citations to back up the claims that Chrysler lost money on every Pacifica it sold and that the vehicle was plagued with quality problems throughout its run? I’ve not read either of these things anywhere else before.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    the vehicle was plagued with quality problems throughout its run?

    You can start here. Enjoy the 212 pages.

  • avatar
    boosterseat

    ‘Can we get some citations to back up the claims that Chrysler lost money on every Pacifica it sold …’
    Well… they are bankrupt, completely, making it a pretty much moot point. Every one of these was obviously sold fleet and decontented – a dramatic change of plan from the launch concept of a premium $35k+ vehicle sold to entry lux buyers. The volume also sucked and the parts were all unique to Pacifica, which destroys the ability to amortize costs via volume.
    I drove one in 2007 when I had two small kids, planning on three. It was a near new rental return at about 50% off of new price. You couldn’t fit a small umbrella stroller behind the third row seats, let alone buy groceries. If you folded down 1 seat and put anything on top of it, there would be someone sitting right next to the stuff, which would cascade into their lap around the first corner. Stupid car.
    We bought a new van that drives much better and has way more space. I’m satisfied & no wonder this mutt didn’t sell.

  • avatar
    zaitcev

    I’m surprised nobody mentioend Ford 500 in the comments. That looked like a Pacifica done right (on a former Volvo chassis). I saw two of them today while driving home from Trader Joe’s, and no Pacifica.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Ford 500, or do you mean the Taurus X?

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The Taurus X/Freestyle is a nice vehicle. I borrowed my parents to move some stuff from MI to TX, very good performance even fully loaded.

    Mileage wasn’t anything to write home about though – 22-23 mpg 100% Highway @ 80mph.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I like the front end look of this car. It looks like the older design of the Chrysler Van Town and Country Touring Edition.
    This is a competitor with the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Too bad Chrysler did not market them aggressively but concentrated with their Trucks and now they’re broke.

    They should market this Pacifica. American families still likes bigger van made in America but saving gas is not on this car. The Van can haul 1/2 of your household furnitures but not this one.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Jeff Puthuff:

    “the vehicle was plagued with quality problems throughout its run?

    You can start here. Enjoy the 212 pages.”

    Umm, Jeff if you go to the same website for problems with the 2007 Toyota Camry you get 482 pages:

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0c6927!make=Toyota&model=Camry&ed_makeindex=.f0c6927

    So what was your point?

  • avatar
    tony-e30

    I would argue that there are few family haulers that ride as brilliantly or are as nice to sit in as the Pacifica.

    Good for you, not for Chrysler. Very good used car bargain.

  • avatar
    JTParts

    Along with the 5 seater cheapo came the 3.8 pushrod motor, which was less economical and less powerful than the 3.5. I always thought this was a good idea, big assed wagon. Is there a segment out there that would buy one that wasn’t tarted up? rubber mats, no soft touch anything, a work wagon?

  • avatar
    RI Swamp Yankee

    OK. I’m gonna say it.

    The ’90s Chrysler cars were lightyears better looking than the Daimler-Benz models. The 300c, the Charger, the Magnum, the new T&C – these now look cartoonish and crude.

    The Concord, the 300D, the old T&C – sculpted, elegant, graceful.

    I know, I know, it surprised the hell out of me, too. I happened to look over at a 300c, and noticed it was parked next to a well-preserved Concorde that looked like it just drove off the lot. I was shocked – I remember hating on “cab-forward” so hard when it came out, yet here it was, all sleek and seductive. It wore off when I remembered what kind of powertrain it had, but man, what a good looking car. The old 300, too.

    Old Dodges and Sebrings still look like ass, I checked.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I remember a NY Times article covering the NY Auto Show when the Pacifica arrived on the car show circuit. The article included universal praise for the Pacifica from designers from across the industry. They believed it was forward looking and a segment buster. I think they were right. The proliferation of similar cars in the years since and the fact that many of them are huge sellers is testament to that.
    So what went wrong with the Pacifica? I’d say it’s a story of 50% marketing and 50% pricing. The issues about the design and quality are real but not the story here. Other cars have similar issues. But the Pacifica was overpriced and undermarketed. I remember the first commercials featured Celine Dion. Celine Freakin’ Dion! And not even Titanic Celine Dion. She was already a punchline with a regular gig in Vegas at that point. How do you promote a groundbreaking vehicle with the most boring, vanilla, middle of the road songs playing in the background. OK, maybe you’re targeting the middle of the market. But you priced the car way to high for that segment. Idiots!

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    windswords, the question wasn’t which vehicle has the most quality/repair issues. What is your point?

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    My wife’s daily driver is a Pacifica.

    She needed four seats and lots of cargo space, or sometimes to seat five or six. In short, she needed a station wagon.

    She didn’t want to spend too much money, and at the time DaimlerChrysler had a very nice deal for Lockheed-Martin employees.

    Other than a tire-pressure sensor problem, the wagon has been trouble-free.

    Powerful? Nope. But it gets up to speed just fine on highway onramps — even where we live at 7,500 feet above sea level. The seats are comfortable, easy to adjust (that’s one detail Mercedes has had right for years), the interior materials are nice to the touch and well-assembled. And the height is especially great for expecting mothers to get in and out without too much hassle, even during labor.

    It’s not a faux-macho SUV. It’s not as stodgy as a minivan. It’s a station wagon. And what she needed was… exactly that. A mom car.

    A great car? Nope. But for someone with a kid or two, and a large dog, and a love for buying hundreds of pounds of potting soil at a time at Home Depot, it’s pretty close to great.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @windswords :
    Since the demise of the Pacifica SUV wannabe that’s really a mutated minivan the new Dodge Journey CUV has done very well despite a down market and very little marketing support. It’s not in the same size segment but it looks like a proper CUV, that is to say an SUV.

    Oddly enough, here in Germany I heard a Dodge ad on the radio:

    “Ich bin ein Berliner”
    “Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall”
    “Yes We Can”

    “And again, three other Americans that changed the world. The Dodge Journey, the new family van – now very affordable from your friendly Dodge dealer”

    So, here in Germany even an American company is OK with calling a minivan a minivan.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Props for the greatest people mover ever made: The Toyota Previa.

    Awesome and super sexy.

    Dude, seriously! The four-wheeled egg with the mid-engine motor that NO ONE wants to work on? The one with barely enough beans to puff its way through traffic and rusts faster than Limbaugh swallows another Oxycottin? Please tell me you’re kidding.

  • avatar
    probert

    Props for the greatest people mover ever made: The Toyota Previa.

    Awesome and super sexy.

    Dude, seriously! The four-wheeled egg with the mid-engine motor that NO ONE wants to work on? The one with barely enough beans to puff its way through traffic and rusts faster than Limbaugh swallows another Oxycottin? Please tell me you’re kidding.

    It rusts way slower than Limbaugh’s pill habit. Only a 70s fiat or a dodge aspen can match that.

    OK it’s not super sexy OK.

    Mid engine – allwheel drive – 93 with 187000 – runs like a very slightly wobbly top. Fine around town – if you’re coming to a really steep hill: gather all the speed you can and don’t slow down.

    I take it back – SUPER SEXY – to meet more girls you’d have to buy a puppy.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Steve Green: “In short, she needed a station wagon.”I wonder if this was the real issue with the Pacifica. Chrysler kept tap-dancing around calling it what it really was, avoiding at all costs what all auto companies have for years perceived as the kiss-of-death in vehicle class: the large station wagon.

    It will be interesting to see how the Toyota Venza fares. That thing has Pacifica written all over it.

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    Rudiger –

    I wonder that same thing. Of course, it seems like the only people left who still officially like station wagons are… car guys. Go figure. Everyone else wants something station-wagon like, they just want it called something else.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    BDB: “The thing that pisses me off about the Journey is that they killed the short wheelbase Caravan to make room for it. Dumb move, especially when gas prices when through the roof.”Didn’t seem like too bright an idea to me, either. The SWB Caravan was a direct descendent of the tremendously successful 1983 Chrysler minivan and retained all the correct dimensions and corresponding benefits of the original. Killing it in favor of the less practical (but more stylish) Journey was a bonehead move.

    Going to a traditional, four-door, station wagon configuration (even a tall station wagon that mimicked the look of an SUV) eliminated a couple of major features of the minivan, ie., the sliding doors and walk-thru from the front passenger seat to the rear.

    Of course, the Mazda MPV minivan was packaged even better and it, apparently, didn’t sell well enough to stop being eliminated and replaced by not one, but three vehicles: the smaller Mazda5 and larger (but substantially more expensive and less practical) Mazda CX-7 and CX-9.

    The MPV and SWB Caravan were sized ‘just right’ but, unfortunately, the American auto consumer just didn’t see it that way when they were shopping for a new family mover. Those buyers were all gravitating to the much bulkier Sienna and Odyssey which, like the sole remaining Chrysler ‘minivan’, the Grand Caravan, had all really crossed over into large van territory.

  • avatar
    NickR

    The MPV and SWB Caravan were sized ‘just right’ but, unfortunately, the American auto consumer just didn’t see it that way when they were shopping for a new family mover.

    Oddly enough the SWB version sold comparitively well in Canada. One of the reasons I think the Journey is selling is because customer’s accustomed to the older, smaller minivans are put-off by the super-sized Caravan and go for the smaller alternative. (I still think that IF Chryco survives, they could have a winner on their hands, as humdrum as it may be, if they play their cards right. Remember, cars-as-appliances is a huge market.)

  • avatar
    blautens

    As a former B car owner (96 Impala SS), I have to stand up and say that taking a swipe at the Buick Roadmaster wagon is a bad idea – plenty of B car loyalists out there – and fervent ones at that.

    The LT1 was a great motor in stock form and it also had tons of aftermarket development and support.

    Any wagon that weighed 4500 lbs and could turn consistent mid 14 second quarter miles (stock) is worth its weight in fake wood grain.

    It’s not hard at all to find videos of 12 second wagons that are just lightly modified…and even those owners that aren’t up for drag racing seem to LOVE these cars.

    Any fan base for the Pacifica yet? Any at car shows? Aftermarket parts?

    *crickets chirping*

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    The Roadmaster is on my list of ‘Cars I Would Buy If I Was Looking and a Clean Example Was Available’.

    The Pacifica would be the automotive equivalent to a jail term.

  • avatar
    WhatThe

    The Pacifica was a great reliable wagon,despite its early years when Mercedes overpriced all of Chrysler’s line especially the Pacifica.It would of done better if it was priced a bit lower and Chrysler had ythe hot 4.0 from the start.

  • avatar
    Kirk

    I bought one brand new in 2006. To be honest it was pricey but I absolutely love this car! I have had zero problems with it, though I just hit 50,000. This car is great for long trips! It rides smooth still to this day, being 6 years old and still rides new! Some of you people are crazy! You want a piece of junk head over to your nearest Kia or Chevy dealer they will hook you right up! Say what you want about them but next time your out on the town pay attention there is alot of them on the roads. That’s why I can’t understand why they stopped making them. The only thing I dislike about them is the gas mileage other than that a great vehicle and for all you people saying they are garbage u don’t know $;/& about cars!!


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