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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Chrysler Pacifica Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Chrysler Pacifica Overview

Reinventing Family Transportation, Again

The people at DaimlerChrysler love to be innovative. If you remember back to the mid 1980s, it was Chrysler that started a major automotive revolution with the invention of the first minivan. They repeated history with such vehicles as the full-sized LH sedans and most recently the PT Cruiser. Now Chrysler has created a vehicle that defies categorization, combining the best attributes of an SUV, a minivan and sport sedan into a single package that is incredibly accommodating and unbelievably fun to drive.

The Pacifica is the first child to emerge from the recent marriage of Daimler Benz to the Chrysler Corporation; its exterior design is pure Chrysler, a company that has arguably been the styling leader in this country for over a decade now. The Pacifica's handsome outer skin is adorned with strategically-placed black trim panels that deceive the eye and give the tall body the appearance of being lower and longer than it actually is. This is apparent the first time you get inside the Pacifica and discover the bounty of headroom it affords you (the rearward rising roofline actually creates more headroom for the second-row passengers than those up front). The Pacifica is one of those rare vehicles that appear more imposing from its rear three-quarter angle than it does from the front or side. We discovered this attribute because wherever we went, small caravans of fellow freeway travelers would come from behind and trail us to our first rest stop; if this should happen to you, be sure to allow yourself some extra time to answer lots of questions.

Before we move on and tell you more about what the Pacifica is, we need to pause to tell you what it is not. The Pacifica is not a truck-based SUV; nor is it a minivan or a station wagon. Chrysler calls the Pacifica a "sport tourer" and sternly corrects anyone who dare says otherwise. We can't blame them really, because the Pacifica truly is like no other vehicle on the road and one look inside the vehicle confirms this.

Thanks to its folding third-row seat, the Pacifica can accommodate up to six passengers. Those who occupy the second-row seats will find a cozy set of fore and aft adjustable captain's chairs, complete with available heated seat bottoms and separated by a full-sized center console; the second row seats can be folded to increase cargo room, but because of the stationary center console, the floor they create is slightly angled upward. The driver and front passenger enjoy a stunningly beautiful dash and door trim design assembled of materials that set a new standard of luxury for Chrysler. The driver is also afforded a 10-way power seat that includes door-mounted controls for the power lumbar support, power adjustable foot pedals and memory seat. Though the Pacifica's chair-like seating does allow everyone to sit up high, the entry points do not force the passengers to step up in order to enter the vehicle; instead, egress and entry can be performed in a single, lateral movement.

The Pacifica's performance attributes further distance it from the minivan/SUV class. With an eye on car-like handling, the Pacifica has been given a truly magnificent suspension set up, including a modified five-link rear suspension borrowed from the current Mercedes E-Class sedan. We found that even when negotiating the tightest of turns, the Pacifica remains composed and stable. Body roll is minimal and the rear end almost seems like it is sewed to the pavement, refusing to break loose under all but the most aggressive maneuvers. The steering feel is light and responsive, with a good amount of positive feedback from the road and you'll likely find that even though the Pacifica rides on tall 17-inch tires, the turn in is very quick, allowing you to perform emergency maneuvers with complete confidence. We think you'll find that the driving experience is most impressive in the front-wheel drive Pacifica and down right unbelievable in the models equipped with all-wheel-drive.

Power for the Pacifica comes from only one source, a 250-horsepower V6—the same engine found in the accomplished 300M sedan. Teamed to a four-speed AutoStick transmission, this engine pulls the Pacifica with little complaint, though the sound it produces under full throttle is not as refined as the rest of the vehicle. The AutoStick manual function has been greatly improved this year, with a much quicker response time when changing gears. We doubt many people will use the Autostick function on a daily basis, but it is an excellent aid for controlling the vehicle's speed, such as when descending steep mountain roads. You'll also find that the Autostick transmission provides great low-speed traction in the snow thanks to its ability to start from a dead stop in second gear.

Safety is foremost on the minds of the Chrysler group as is evidenced throughout the Pacifica's design. In addition to the front airbags, seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters and LATCH child seat anchor system, the Pacifica features dual front side-impact airbags and a side curtain airbag that extends all the way back past the third row seat.

You can add further peace of mind with the optional navigation system that can keep you safely on course no matter how bad you are with directions. The navigation screen has been smartly placed inside the speedometer arch, allowing you to view the driving directions without having to change your line of sight away from the road. You can also opt for the voice controlled Uconnect hands-free cell phone system that uses Bluetooth technology to integrate your cell phone into Pacifica's communications system.

If you decide to purchase a Pacifica, you'll find that it comes pretty well loaded. The only other options besides those already mentioned include a DVD entertainment system with 5.1 digital surround, Sirius satellite radio, HID headlamps, leather seating surfaces, power liftgate, power sunroof and 385-watt Infinity sound system with 8-speaker and subwoofer.

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