For 2006, the Chrysler Pacifica undergoes several changes. The front-wheel-drive, five-passenger model exchanges its 3.8-litre V6 of 2005 for the 3.5-litre High Output V6 previously used only on the two upper model lines, giving it a 40 hp increase. It is now known simply as the Pacifica, dropping the “Highline” designation of 2005.

Other changes include restyled mirror housings, a chrome liftgate light bar on the Touring and Limited models, an available Auto Tilt Down feature on the exterior mirrors that tilts them when the vehicle is in Reverse, front passenger BeltAlert warning system, a 38 per cent larger glovebox, and a six-CD changer that now plays most types of CDs and DVDs, including MP3 and DVD audio, video, R and RW.

The Pacifica is available in three lines. The base model comes with five-passenger seating and front-wheel-drive; the mid-line Touring is six-passenger and is available in FWD or all-wheel-drive; the Limited is six-passenger and strictly AWD. The third row of seats in the Touring and Limited is cramped and mostly suitable for children.

Standard features on the Pacifica include power windows, heated mirrors and power locks with keyless entry, eight-way power driver’s seat, cruise control, cloth seats, CD player, leather-wrapped steering wheel and 17-inch steel wheels.

The Touring model adds a cargo cover, clock, second-row centre console, Homelink garage door opener, ten-way power driver’s seat, fog lamps, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. In AWD it adds leather seats.

The Limited includes rear park assist, 19-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, power sunroof and side curtain air bags.

Elegantly styled, the Pacifica is only 43 mm shorter than a Town & Country minivan, but it’s lower and wider. It handles well for a ‘van’, with a comfortable ride that eats up highway miles like a luxury car. The across-the-board engine is a welcome change in the base model; the previous engine was underpowered and acceleration was tepid. The optional parking assist is a useful feature; the vehicle suffers from poor rear visibility and backing it up is a chore. But when you’re going straight ahead, it’s one very nice ride.

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