2007 Pacifica New Car Test Drive
The Chrysler Pacifica helped launch a trend that those in the car business call crossover vehicles. Crossovers are supposed to combine the best attributes of sport-utility vehicles, sedans and minivans, and the Pacifica still does that as well as any, at very attractive prices. This year, it does it better than it ever has.
For 2007, the Pacifica benefits from fairly substantial changes, starting with a smoother, more powerful V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Its styling has been subtly updated, and previously optional safety equipment, including side-curtain head protection airbags and electronic stability control, is now standard on all models. Perhaps best of all, prices have actually been lowered.
Pacifica has four sedan-like doors and the wide rear liftgate you'd expect on a sport-utility vehicle or minivan. Inside it's roomy and comfortable, whether upholstered in fabric or leather. Getting in and out is easy. It rides like a sedan and handles well for a vehicle of its heft, and it's more enjoyable to drive through suburbia than just about any truck-based SUV. On the highway, it's smooth and quiet.
The Pacifica line offers a range of models, from well-equipped to luxury-class with all the bells and whistles, and it's available with two or three rows of seating. The five-passenger base model has two bucket seats in front with a split folding bench in the second row that seats up to three. Six-passenger models swap the middle-row bench for two folding bucket seats, and add a 50/50 split bench in the rear. Either changes from people mover to cargo hauler in a matter of seconds, and in both cases maximum cargo capacity exceeds that in the typical mid-size SUV.
The Pacifica has earned outstanding scores in government crash tests. All-wheel drive is available, making it a good choice for snow country. Towing capacity is 3500 pounds, which is more than enough for personal water craft, dirt bikes or a camping trailer. And despite its versatility, no one will be embarrassed driving a Pacifica to black-tie event and leaving it with the valet. It's stylish and handsome, and it doesn't fit easily in any particular mold.
Bottom line: The Pacifica is roomy, versatile, pleasant to drive and nice to look at. Our test model had all the essential safety equipment, all-wheel drive, a powerful, great-sounding stereo and rear-seat DVD video, and it still didn't break $30,000. However you see it and whatever you call it, we think the Pacifica makes a terrific family vehicle.
The 2007 Chrysler Pacifica is available in three trim levels, all of which offer front-wheel drive or full-time all-wheel drive. All come with a V6 engine and automatic transmission.
The base Pacifica FWD ($24,460) is powered by a 3.8-liter overhead-valve V6, delivering 200 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque through a four-speed automatic. This model seats five, with a three-place, folding second-row bench seat, and comes with 17-inch steel wheels and hubcaps. Standard features include sunscreen glass, dual-zone temperature control, rear window wiper/washer, power locks and windows, eight-way power driver's seat, AM/FM audio with CD, Infinity speakers and steering-wheel controls, multiple 12-volt power outlets and cruise control.
The Pacifica AWD ($27,550) adds an engine upgrade and all-wheel drive. It's 4.0-liter overhead-cam V6 delivers 255 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, with a six-speed automatic. Chrysler's all-wheel drive system varies power delivery front to rear to maximize traction.
Touring FWD ($27,600) and Touring AWD ($30,250) get the 4.0 V6 and six-speed automatic. Touring models come with seating for six, in a 2/2/2 bucket-seat layout, and add more features. Standard equipment includes automatic dual-zone temperature control with cabin air filtration, a Vehicle Information Center video display, leather-wrapped steering wheel, HomeLink universal door opener, a power front passenger seat, 17-inch alloy wheels and body color door handles.
Option packages for the base Pacifica and Touring models include a Leather Seating Value Group ($1,935), with leather heated seats and a roof rack, and an Entertainment Group ($865) that adds a MP3 capability and a rear-seat DVD system with eight-inch screen and remote. Stand-alone options include heated first- and second-row seats ($550), ParkSense rear parking assist ($285), a power moonroof ($895), 385-watt Infiniti Intermezzo audio upgrade ($700), Sirius satellite radio ($195), UConnect hands-free communication ($360), High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights ($550) and 17-inch ($785) or 19-inch chromed aluminum wheels ($1,235).
The Pacifica Limited FWD ($33,775) and Limited AWD ($35,825) are the luxury models. They feature the 2/2/2 seating and nearly all the amenities, including leather seats with position memory for the driver, heated front and second-row seats, power adjustable pedals, power-liftgate, six-CD changer, automatic headlights, power moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, ParkSense rear back-up system and 19-inch chromed wheels.
Safety equipment has been significantly upgraded for 2007. In addition to multi-stage front airbags, all Pacificas come standard with curtain-style head protection airbags for all outboard seats, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) skid-management system, emergency brake assist for the antilock brakes (ABS), and traction control. These features were previously optional on some models. A ParkView rear back-up camera ($595) is now optional. The Pacifica has done very well in government crash tests, earning a five-star rating for front and side impact from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and four stars for rollover protection.