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Chrysler Pacifica Test Drive - What Did You Think?



  • It's nice to hear someone's first impressions of a Pacifica ride/drive, particularly when someone drove it for two weeks like you did . A one hour test drive is not the same. I agree with most of your observations, backing up gets easier , you get to know the mirrors well . Most SUV's have this trait to some degree.

    As far as the power is concerned , I live in flat Houston, Tx, so I don't have a problem. The Autostick works on hills well, I find you just have to stab the throttle in Drive and there is enough oomph to pass easily , you just have to really mash it as the transmissiont , while unobtrusive, likes to hold the gear it's in. Or just use the Autostick.

    The Autostick does hold the gear it's in, which is nice. No upshifts unless you want it to. I use the Autostick with cruise control a lot as you can push "Resume" and the Pacifica will just ease back up to cruising speed instead of going through an urgent upshift in "Drive" mode.............

    Bottom line: the more you drive it , the less underpowered it seems to me. I really would rather have a 5 spd. auto , a few hundred less pounds of weight, and the 3.5 L would be fine. After all, it makes 250 HP and 250 ft. lbs. of torque......
  • axr6axr6 Posts: 42
    I agree with you on the need for a 5 speed tranny. Presently there are large gaps in the gearing. It would greatly address the "underpowered" feelings by being able to better keep the engine in its power range.

    I had just returned from a nearly 3000 mile trip where we kayaked down 240 miles of the Colorado river throught the Grand Canyon. Had 4 adults in the car, and 3 white water kayaks and 5 paddles on the roof rack. The cargo area in the Pac was fully jammed with gear and provisions for 2 weeks. Climbed several 8,000+ feet peaks in desert heats of over 115 F degrees and one, nearly 10,000 feet (Tioga Pass). Keeping the car at the proper RPMs for climbing had privided sufficient power, even for ocassional passing. Kept my speeds at, or below 70 MPH in consideration of the large surface area roof rack loads (150 lbs). On the way back, for a full day, we had extremely strong and gusty head and side-winds, gusting to 60 MPH. The roofrack was flexing, making worrysome noises but, held!!!

    Despite all the climbing and head-winds the Pacifica returned a bit over 20 MPG trip average, which was really nice, given the loading, winds and elevation changes. Also, it is the most comfortable vehicle I've ever had. I could drive 11 hours straight and have no aches and pains when I stepped out. It was superbly stable in the wind gusts, as well.

    I did visit my dealer prior to the trip and he replaced the lower front control arms for the clunking sound. It did not fix the noise. I am pretty confident that the clunking is really originating from the transaxle assembly. I'll have them check it again when ever I visit again. Hopefully not anytime soon.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    In your description you said it was "Underpowered, lack of cargo room, poor visibility, poor armrest"...would you buy one?
  • "In your description you said it was "Underpowered, lack of cargo room, poor visibility, poor armrest"... would you buy one?"

    Is is a good vehicle for a short term weekend getaway? .... yes!
    Would I buy one to own? .... No, not unless some improvements were made on future models. Cargo room was my biggest complaint. With three of the four rear seats folded down, space was still very tight. If we had two kids instead of one, I would not have had enough room for everything to fit. I spent more time re packing everything during our trip than I wanted to and had to allow extra time for loading. If all four rear seats are up... forget it. You'd be lucky to fit a few grocery bags back there because there's so little room. Pacifica is a nice vehicle, but it does have some issues.
  • I've had my eye on the Pacifica for a while. Yesterday I drove a 2005 base, they were asking 18 grand but quickly went down to 16 and will probably go lower. It has 20K miles. I've also gotten two dealer prices for new 2006 base models, both at about 20Gs once all incentives and Chrysler Finance ($1000) are figured.
    I like the Pac, tho it lacks cubbies and storage stashes. I like the firm handling and great ride, it leans far less than my Impala and rides far better. I'm curious about MPG, but that appears to vary by individual. What I see here is all over the map. I'm wondering if the 3.8 will have adequate power or if I should get the 3.5. The new 2007s will be out soon, the base will have a 3.8 and 4-speed (that's dumb, it should have the 6-speed) and the other models will have the new 4.0 and 6-speed. If I got the 3.8 I'd look at modding it with cold air intake and any other simple power-adders available.
    Reliability issues appear spotty. I talked with the parts guru at one dealer, he said the same thing. He seemed pretty straight, said he'd bought a vehicle at a different Chrysler dealer because they gave a better price.
    Any suggestions welcome. I'm after a base FWD model, hopefully with side bags but I realize those are probably rare. Thanks,
  • I test drove the Pacifica tonight. I found a lot of great things about it, but reading all these horror stories here has me concerned. To say the least, I have a car that is topping the charts for reliability but unfortunately it's not the most comfortable to drive. Now back to Pacifica. The '04 would expect to show some problems due to the fact that it was the first year production, but the reliability continues to be an issue for later models. I'm trying to put things in perspective and I'm wondering how problematic, really, is the Pacifica? Do most have problems? I love the car, its a great ride, but the reliablity issues is a big problem.

    Any thought?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,141
    Do most have problems?

    Not even close. Most owners are perfectly content with their trouble-free pacificas. If that wasn't the case, there'd be a heckuva lot more press than some simple messages on an automotive discussion board.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    ...there'd be a heckuva lot more press than some simple messages on an automotive discussion board.

    Yep, problems do tend to be a little more amplified than praise on message boards :surprise:

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  • nelson33nelson33 Posts: 100
    So far, at least at 8500 miles and a year later, the Pac has been great. No real problems to report, but a couple of small ones. A defective rear door lock and I can't remember the other prob. Seems well built and solid a year later as it should be. Mine is an 05. Can't say much about the 04.

    There are more frustrated car owners in other crossover sections on than Pac owners. I don't know the Pac's reliability 5 years from now. From what I can see w. my 05, it's excellent.
  • fred222fred222 Posts: 200
    My wife has a 2005 Touring AWD Pacifica purchased new in Sept 2004. It has somewhere around 18K miles on it right now. The only issue with this vehicle has been that the driver's side window holding mechanism broke last year. This was replaced under warranty. Normally I do not drive this vehicle. I have however driven this vehicle through the Cascade Mtns twice during the winter with some pretty unpleasant weather and it was just fine. My wife loves the ride, the look, the power and lack of any maintenance issues.
  • Ever since I posted my reliability question on this forum, I have been researching the Pacifica and Chrysler vehicles in general. I was alarmed to find dozens of articles, official documents(lawsuits, government investigation, police reports), and owner testimonials that pointed to major quality and safety problems with Chrysler.

    This is pretty worrisome:

    I'm glad I found this forum, and I'm glad that I've done my research. Not only have I decided not to buy the Pacifica, but I also decided to stay away from all Chrysler vehicles -- better safe, than sorry--

    Now, it doesn't mean that all Chrysler vehicles are of poor quality, and I don't intend to be bashing the brand. I'm sure there are many satisfied, repeated, loyal customers that enjoy their cars, but it seems to me that the risk of getting a lemon accompanied by poor customer service and declined warranty work is just too great for me personally.

    As with all vehicles, I suggest that you, as a smart consumer, research the vehicle you like and make your own well informed decision.

    Again, thanks everyone for responding, your help is much appreciated!
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    to have owned several Chrysler Corporation vehicles over the course of my life and had positive experiences. From a first generation K-Car (which served dutifully for 60,000 miles and thru one serious accident) to my current 2000 Intrepid ES (with 146,000 miles). No steering problems, no transmission problems and no sludge concerns on any of our family vehicles from Chrysler.
    I test drove a 2007 Pacifica and found it to be a solid vehicle which meets my needs. I was particularly swayed by the changes made for 2007 and believe I'll be purchasing one before the new year. Any experiences with prices paid would be helpful.
  • b25nutb25nut Templeton, CAPosts: 199
    Last week I was able to see and drive the 2007 Pacifica for the first time. I have been a very satisfied owner of a 2004 Pacifica since April of 2003. I have not sat in or driven the 2005 and 2006 Pacificas, so the changes I noticed may not be exclusive to the '07.
    My first impression of my '04 was marred by what I felt was excess play in the lever for tilting the steering wheel (which is very minor since I've only used it once). This was the first thing I checked on the '07 and it is now very solid, so I felt this was a good sign that Chrysler is concerned about details.
    The second, and last, item that left me with a negative impression on the test drive of my '04 was the excessive sound that the engine made as it shifted down into second gear as I accelerated hard onto a freeway. For the '07 with the 4.0, six-speed and dual exhaust, this is a thing of the past. No one should complain again that the Pacifica can feel sluggish under some driving conditions. At 60-65 mph, pressing the accelerator gives immediate response with a very smooth down shift. A standing start gives you the feel that you have a V-8 under the hood. With the two additional speeds, you are slightly more aware now of the shift changes during acceleration. Some may say that could be improved.
    The second change that was most needed is the addition of a backup camera. The stress factor of parking lots goes way down with this option. Unlike the camera on the Lexus RX330, which provides just a wide angle view, the Pacifica camera, like that on the FX-35, has lines projected onto the view that let you know where the vehicle will be as you are backing up. If you are backing into a parking space along a street, you just have to align the line with the curb and you'll be the perfect distance away from it. It works great. When combined with backup sensors you are in full control.
    The radio antenna is now on the rear roof, which seems to make a big difference in reception. The stereo is also now set up for MP3. The front end and hood cosmetic changes add up to a slightly better looking vehicle.

    Personally, I think there are only two additional changes that Chrysler can now make to make the Pacifica a "perfect" car: illuminated controls for the speed control and an option for a panoramic or an additional moon roof.
    With the '07 Pacifica I can't see why anyone would pick anything else in its class. It blows away the FX-35, RX-350, MDX, MKX, SRX, XC-90, R-Series and everything else when every feature is factored in, especially price.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    That guy at
    has a personal hate thing with Chrysler.

    I saw the same kind of rage Honda related (short life automatic transmissions) and Toyota related (sludge prone melting engines).

    Just search on Google :
    "Toyota engine sludge" and keep reading.

    Our 2005 Pacifica was almost trouble free, and feels very willing to continue to do so. Sure the suspension could be less noisy on gravel roads, the steering could be more tight ... so it's not technical perfection like a $60,000 BMW ... but I feel I have a friend in the garage, not an enemy. The price is lower, right ? If it doesn't matter, buy the BMW.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,141
    OMG. I just read the first section on that website and I gotta say that is some FUNNY STUFF.

    I love this leap of faith:

    The report estimates that close to $1.6 billion was paid out in warranty claims by Chrysler in the first and second quarters and “In terms of the percentage of sales spent on warranty claims, DaimlerChrysler is now at 4.4%, which is the lowest it's been since 2004.” We strongly believe this is a result of Chrysler's ongoing refusal to honor many valid warranty claims.

    hahahaha. Soooo... if Company B is at 10%, they are just really generous with their warranty claims, right? It has NOTHING to do with quality. Nice logic.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    qbrozen.. We have gone through this on the Intrepid for years. One (perhaps two) folks with too much time on their hands and, perhaps, axes to grind would post these seemingly sincere complaints about Chrysler. After a time we noticed that these were, indeed, false. I notice that this particular poster--who of course doesn't OWN a Chrysler-- follows that profile. Simply click on their name and you see the usual pattern. They create a new profile and stay long enough to present information or spread vitriol....then leave.
  • I didn't leave. I carefully read all your post with interest. I don't have anything against Chrysler and I'm not here to ruin its reputation. I'm afraid Chrysler might do that on its own. Simply put, there are too many complains for me to fell comfortable buying a Chrysler. I mean, look at this website alone. How many "lemon" complaints do you see? Now, check out Mazda or Honda forums. The number of complains drops drastically.

    The bottom line is that the choice to buy a Chrysler is not necessarily a bad one. If you like the car enough, you simply assume the greater risk and move on. The fact that you might have additional expenses down the road, versus let's say Honda or Toyota, is just an added expense of owning the car you want.

    Just to make one thing clear. I've done an extensive research on the Pacifica and Chrysler in general. One thing that is consistent is poor service and frequent quality issues. The 2006 and late 2005 models seem to be much better, but still far behind many other auto makers. I'm still considering the 2006 model, but I haven't made up my mind.

    I appreciate everyone's input. Keep them coming.
  • rodutrodut Posts: 343
    "FAR BEHIND other many other auto makers" is an inflated statement. I own a Pacifica, a Honda and a Volvo. I would accept that Pacifica is a little bit less sophisticated than Honda reliability wise, but Volvo is by orders of magnitude crappier than the other two together ! And my Volvo is a better than the new ones equipped with all that high-tech unreliable electronic crap !!!

    For what you pay, I think Pacifica is a great car. FWD have better gas mileage than AWD, and are faster. More reliable too (less transmission parts).
  • Jason5Jason5 Posts: 440
    it's an inflated statement--and an inaccurate one. In cases like this--as in the other post--you'll see someone compare traditionally domestic makes to "Honda" or "Toyota" which is, of course, an unfair comparison. Compare domestics to domestics and you get a much more accurate and better picture. In fact, maintenance costs on traditionally domestic makes are more often lower than on traditionally imported makes. Room for improvement? Sure... Poor quality and service? Not true...
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,141
    First off, reading internet forums is not a reliable way to judge a vehicle.

    Second, think about what you are actually reading. Is it a major complaint? A minor one? How often has one person posted about the same problem (making you think its a widespread problem, when its actually just a few really vocal people)?

    Third, think about the comparisons you make to other vehicles. Honda is quite reliable for the most part, yes. But you could easily have gotten sucked into the whole transmission scare. It was all over the internet. All over the news when the recall and extended warranties went into effect. Lots of people complaining. In the end, there was something like 1% of owners affected. Also, when you look at other companies like Mazda, for instance, think about the small number of vehicles they sell compared to bigger manufacturers, like Chrysler.

    Its funny. I actually have a habit of buying vehicles that internet forums tell me not to buy. And I've been perfectly happy with all of them.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

This discussion has been closed.