crossover vehicles stormed onto the automotive scene towards the end of the 1990s and gathered considerable steam just past the turn of the new millennium. Consumer apathy regarding the blandness of most minivans and a gradual realization that the fuel costs of running a full-size sport-utility vehicle were becoming painfully high thanks to the rising price of gasoline contributed to an openness amongst consumers in terms of trying something new. Crossover vehicles promised to satisfy the passenger capacity and cargo hauling needs of most families while still maintaining the drivability and fuel economy of a typical sedan. This proved to be a popular combination of attributes, luring many buyers into showrooms and bolstering the bottom line of car companies who had gotten in on the ground floor.
Chrysler found themselves somewhat unprepared to deal with the crossover phenomenon. The company, which had so heavily invested in minivans over the past 15 years, was still a firm believer in the quality of their van products. This had held them back from experimenting with any crossover designs early on. Indeed, they had also decided to leave all sport-utility development to Dodge, selling the Town & Country as the company's only high volume people mover.
When it eventually became clear that the automaker was missing out on serious profits as a result of ignoring the crossover craze, they approached corporate partner Daimler, which had recently merged with the company in order to form DaimlerChrysler. By making judicious use of the Mercedes-Benz parts bin, Chrysler engineers were able to work together with their German counterparts to build a somewhat upscale crossover vehicle. Dubbed the Pacifica, it rode on the same platform as Chrysler's minivans but which adopted a much more aerodynamic shape and higher ground clearance that set it apart from the familiar lines of the Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. The use of so many Mercedes-Benz components also served to give the vehicle a different driving feel than most other vehicles produced by the domestic manufacturer.
This article details the specifications and features of the Chrysler Pacifica, which was not popular amongst new car buyers and was only offered for a short period of time. Automotive critics have pointed out that far from having anything to do with the quality of the vehicle itself, it was actually pricing, market conditions and poor handling of the vehicle's image on the part of Chrysler that saw such low sales figures. What this means for secondhand car shoppers is that there are plenty of inexpensive examples of this excellent used crossover ripe for the picking.
2004 - 2007 Chrysler Pacifica
One of the nicest features of the 2004 - 2007 Chrysler Pacifica crossover vehicle is its powerful and refined drivetrain. For the first 3 years of production, the only engine choice to be found is a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. A 4-speed automatic transmission can send power to either the front or all four wheels, depending upon whether the optional all-wheel drive system is ordered. In 2007, the vehicle saw two upgrades, with a 200 horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 taking over as the base engine and a higher output, 253 horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 representing the top of the line option. 2007 Pacifica's also received a minor upgrade to exterior styling.
The 2004 - 2007 Chrysler Pacifica is large for a mid-size, and this is most apparent when climbing into the passenger compartment. Entry and exit are easy, with no big step up to be made, and interior room is excellent. Interestingly, the vehicle makes use of second row captain's chairs and then a two seat bench at the very back, meaning that the Pacifica only seats 6 passengers compared to the standard 7 or 8 found in most crossovers, vans and SUV's. The trade-off for this reduced capacity is an increase in comfort for all occupants, and for those who are required to frequently transport adults instead of children this is a definite bonus. With the final row of seats removed and the second folded down, the Pacifica can swallow a very decent 92 cubic feet of cargo, more than doubling the amount of storage space available when the vehicle is fully loaded up with riders. For drivers who would like to surround themselves with the trappings of luxury, wood trim, leather seats and a DVD entertainment system are available as options.
The 2004 - 2007 Chrysler Pacifica stands alone as a people mover that does things its own way, but in large part succeeds as a comfortable and useful used crossover vehicle.