2007 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
2007 Ford Edge SEL AWD
2007 GMC Acadia SLT AWD
Top to bottom: Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Edge and GMC Acadia. Click image to enlarge


Review and photos by Chris Chase

The Ford Edge and GM’s Acadia/Enclave/Outlook trio may be the new kids on the block in the crossover race, but then, so are most of the other vehicles in this category. The Pacifica arguably created the segment, but now that it’s not in a class of one anymore, it may have its work cut out for it if Chrysler wants it to remain competitive in the face of all the newcomers it’s now facing.

I had originally intended this to be a head-to-head between the Pacifica and the Edge, but a couple of days before this was to be published, I picked up a GMC Acadia SLT AWD tester. Perfect timing!

Looks are subjective, but I personally find all three of these vehicles – and indeed most of the competitors in this segment – to be pretty easy on the eyes. My favourite is the Edge, though, for its more modern look.

The Acadia takes the cake for its interior aesthetics and the quality of the materials used inside, though the Edge is a close second. The Chrysler needs to get it in gear in terms of its interior design. There’s too much inside the Pacifica that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s driven a recent Chrysler minivan, and I don’t think these budget pieces work in a $50,000 vehicle.

2007 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
2007 Ford Edge SEL AWD
2007 GMC Acadia SLT AWD
Top to bottom: Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Edge and GMC Acadia. Click image to enlarge

The Pacifica loses out in the driving department, as well. The ride is floaty and the suspension feels uncoordinated in comparison to the Edge’s distinctly European feel; the Ford my favourite here. The Acadia rides very nicely but its extra size becomes apparent once in motion.

The Edge holds its own in corners too; with the Pacifica, it’s the people inside who’d better be holding on if the driver takes a corner a little quickly, as the Chrysler’s soft springs allow lots of body roll. The Pacifica is also easily unsettled by mid-corner bumps; the Edge isn’t perfect in this regard, nor are most vehicles that don’t purport to be performance vehicles, but the Ford feels far more confident on the road and is definitely the driver’s car of the three. The GMC exhibits safe handling characteristics, but isn’t as spry as the Edge.

The powertrain is another sour point in the Pacifica. This new 4.0-litre V6 is powerful and offers more torque than the old 3.8-litre, but it idles like a Harley Davidson motor, and the also-new six-speed automatic is less refined than the auto-boxes used in some subcompacts, with unseemly clunks and lurches in its operation and a sometimes-recalcitrant shift lever.

2007 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
2007 Ford Edge SEL AWD
2007 GMC Acadia SLT AWD
Top to bottom: Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Edge and GMC Acadia. Click image to enlarge

The Edge and Acadia use equally new V6/six-speed powertrains that are far more pleasant to use and feel just as potent.

The Pacifica has a lot of positive qualities, like its generous interior space (compared to other three-row crossovers; the Edge and its Lincoln MKX twin only come as five-seaters) and useable third-row seating. The cargo area is large too, and getting people and cargo in and out is a cinch. However, my initial impressions after crawling around the inside of the Acadia are that it’s even bigger inside, with truly usable space in all three rows of seating; this one’s the best substitute for a minivan.

I’m willing to concede that the Pacifica’s issues might be limited to our test vehicle; I’d be happy to try another Pacifica with this new powertrain to find out for sure. With better performance attributes, the Pacifica would be a very pleasant ride, but if all of them behave like our tester, Chrysler’s got some work to do in this segment if it wants to keep up with its competitors from Ford and General Motors.

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