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Test Drive: 2007 Chrysler Pacifica Limited
First Drive: 2004 Chrysler PacificaManufacturer’s web site
By Chris Chase
Photos by Greg Wilson and Chris Chase
When I reviewed a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica, I think it was clear I wasn’t terribly impressed. It might be telling that, despite the Pacifica being one of the oldest names in the crossover segment, the company decided to stop building it, and give its Dodge brand a crossover instead (the Journey).
But I get the feeling that the Pacifica’s failure isn’t because it was a bad vehicle. The problem, I think, is that Chrysler didn’t invest enough effort to keep it current. The result was that when GM and Ford (and about a million import brands) launched their own crossovers, they did it better, and made the Pacifica look and feel out of date.
The first Pacifica (it was introduced as a 2004 model) was powered by a 3.5L V6 (250 hp) engine that was also used in Chrysler’s old LH (Intrepid/Concorde/LHS) sedans. That motor was paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. In 2005, a new, lower-priced base model got the company’s older 3.8L V6 (210), sourced from Chrysler’s minivans.
2007 Chrysler Pacifica; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge
In 2006, the 3.8L disappeared, and in 2007, it once again filled the role of the base engine (with 200 hp), while a new 4.0L V6 (253 hp) became the new uplevel motor. The 4.0L also came with a six-speed automatic transmission; you’ll find this powertrain in some versions of the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country.
Chrysler doesn’t have the strongest reputation for durability, but while the Pacifica has its share of quirks, the basic mechanicals seem stronger here than in other models, particularly Chrysler’s minivans.
The Pacifica page over at Allpar.com mentions that the front power seats can fail due to a build-up of static electricity. This can be fixed by adding a jumper wire to the power seat module (apparently, this is only an issue in Pacificas with cloth seats).
2004 Chrysler Pacifica; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge
This page also states to use only the type of automatic transmission fluid recommended in the owner’s manual. In other words, this is the best way to avoid transmission problems. Going by Consumer Reports data, however, it seems that the transmission is a pretty solid part of the Pacifica. There are reports of a driveline “shudder” in vehicles both with the old four-speed automatic and the newer 2007-and-up six-speed. Some owners posting in the Pacifica forums at Topix.net say Chrysler’s fix for this was to pull the transmission to replace the torque converter and make some other adjustments. There’s another thread at Edmunds.com with general discussion around the Pacifica’s reliability.
Engine oil consumption is another common complaint among Pacifica owners.
Water leaks into the interior appear to be common; Chrysler (in the U.S.) has issued a few Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) related to this.
Noises emanating from the Pacifica’s front end – clicks or clunks, in particular – can be traced to either bad motor mounts, or quick-wearing front suspension components.