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Pacifica big on security, but can be low on reliability

The Chrysler Pacifica was one of the first crossover SUV models on the market when it launched as a 2004 model.

Model: 2004 to 2007 Chrysler Pacifica
Model: Crossover SUV
Approximate used price range: $8,500 to $21,000

History/description: The Chrysler Pacifica was one of the first crossover SUV models on the market when it launched as a 2004 model. Crossovers have largely taken over the family-hauling market today, but the Pacifica was one of the pioneering vehicles that helped pave the way.


Pacifica sought to deliver comfortable travel for families, all-season capability, and a healthy taste of American luxury. Features included heated leather, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, a 200-watt Infinity stereo system and more.


Are you big on security? Pacifica shipped with ABS brakes, an alarm system and tire pressure monitoring — depending on the year and trim-level in question. In addition, Pacifica offered a flexible and re-configurable cabin with room for up to six people and their gear.


Many owners say their Pacifica is switched with no issue between use for sports, travel to social events, or as a grocery and gear hauler. Look for a standard V6 engine on all models. A 3.5-litre unit churned out 250 horsepower and came with a four-speed “AutoStick” automatic transmission. A 3.8-litre V6 engine was available, as was a torquey four-litre V6 and six-speed automatic combination that became available towards the end of Pacifica’s life.


All Wheel Drive (AWD) was onboard selected models, too.

What owners like: Pacifica owners tended to rate comfort, performance, driving dynamics and styling the most highly. Flexibility and versatility for virtually any chore were highly appreciated, too. Finally, many owners say they enjoy a “safe and solid” feel when driving.

What owners hate: Pacifica owner complaints typically centre around fuel consumption. If you don’t need the added traction of all wheel drive, opting for a Pacifica without it can help save fuel.

Common issues: On a test-drive, kill the stereo and both listen to and “feel” the Pacifica’s front end. Listen closely for any metallic clunking, popping or grinding sounds as you drive the vehicle over bumps or uneven surfaces. If you hear any, the model you’re considering is probably due for some front-end work.


Pop the hood and have a listen to the engine start up from cold. Loud or abnormal ticking sounds from the top of the engine could indicate a known problem with valves on certain models.


If you’re concerned or unsure about the sound, be sure to ask a mechanic to have a look. You’ll also want to ensure the transmission shifts smoothly on any model, noting any roughness or hesitation during gear changes. Transmission glitches tended to be of the electronic variety, which are relatively simple to fix.


Finally, ensure the Pacifica you’re considering has had all required recall work carried out to correct any safety-related issues.

The verdict: Pacifica shoppers will benefit from slightly below-average resale values, but they should shop carefully due to slightly below-average reliability. A dealer-certified used model with some warranty remaining is probably your best bet here.

 
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