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Eric
05-17-2007, 10:35 AM
Few people honestly want a minivan. They may need one - but that's a different motivation entirely. Many folks took to SUVs as a "third way" because they could cart around a family without making you feel silly. Until, of course, gas prices got to where they are today.

This brings us full circle back to large station wagons like the Chrysler Pacifica. Wagons were the family car of choice long before the SUV craze ignited - and may yet rise again as 15 mpg SUVs become increasingly untenable in a world of $3 per gallon regular unleaded.

The Pacifica's been extensively updated for 2007 with the addition of a new (and larger) 4.0 liter V-6 that raps out a credible 253 horsepower. It becomes the standard engine in all except base FWD models - and is tied to an also-new six-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the four-speed used previously.

While the new engine's rated power output is only slighter higher than the 3.5 liter V-6 used previously, the key to noticeably better performance is a lower power peak (6,000 RPM vs. 6,400 RPM previously) as well as more torque (262 lbs.-ft. vs. 250 lbs-ft. previously). The extra power, available at lower engine speeds, means you get more response with less pedal. The new six-speed's tighter gear spacing also helps the '07 feel more athletic - as well as more refined, since the drop in engine speed between gear changes is less dramatic, especially under full throttle. Highway mileage is actually a couple mpg better than it was last year, too (24 mpg vs. 22 mpg).

The Pacifica is still available with a 3.8 liter V-6 in base ($24,460) models - but not with all-wheel-drive. And for good reason. Its 200 hp is already marginal given the Pacifica's 4,300 lb. curb weight. Adding a couple hundred pounds of AWD gear (and the inertial load of the AWD system itself) would be crippling - especially with three or four passengers on board.

The 4-liter engine, however, may be ordered with our without AWD; it's also the standard engine in mid-trim Touring ($27,600-$30,250) and top-of-the-line Limited ($33,775-$35,825) models. Buyers can also select the 4-liter engine with AWD in base trim for $27,550.

With our without the 4-liter engine, base models come with a respectable level of amenities, including air conditioning and (new for 2007) side-impact/curtain air bags, as well as stability control and a tire pressure monitor. The addition of side-impact and curtain air bags helped the Pacifica earn a Five Star rating in government crash testing. And the inherently better stability of the Pacifica's car-based chassis and suspension should make it less likely it'll be involved in an accident in the first place - at least, relative to a higher-riding, truck-based SUV (or even a standard minivan).

Inside, the gauge cluster's been revamped with an attractive analog (instead of digital) clock that works well with the Deco-inspired theme. The Pacifica's optional GPS is cleverly built into the main instrument cluster, rather than off to the side - so it's right in the driver's lineof sight. Inputs are made via a keypad that's also built into the main dash cluster. It's arguably a better design than having a screen/touch pad built into the center console - which forces the driver to look down and right (and take his eyes off the road).

For backseat riders, the '07s also get a new/larger 8-inch monitor for the optional DVD entertainment system.

Seating configuration depends on trim level. Touring and Limited models come standard with a split-folding third row and room for six. Base models don't get the third row - but do offer an unusual three-across second row bench and more than 92 cubic feet of cargo capacity. This drops to about 80 cubic feet in third row-equipped models. That's still a big number though. For comparison, a full-size SUV like the Chevy Tahoe's only got 16.9 cubic feet of space behind its third-row seat. (And even when equipped with its "small" V-8, the Tahoe mainlines regular unleaded at the rate of 15 mpg city/20 mpg on the highway.)

Another area where the Pacifica excels (vs. an SUV) is ease of entry and exit. You get in - instead of climbing up. The difference is especially noticeable when you're outside the vehicle attempting to get stuff out - like bags of groceries, for instance. You don't need a step ladder to get to things in the cargo area - and while a power rear liftgate is available, it's much less necessary than it is in a traditional SUV because the leverage is better.

A minivan offers similar user-friendliness - but isn't nearly as appealing, either to drive or to look at. The Pacifica's a handsome ride - and it's reasonably fun to pilot. There's more kick, for one thing. And when the roads turn twisty, there's simply no comparison. There's not a minivan on the market that likes taking freeway off ramps at 10 mph over the recommended maximum speed. The Pacifica may not be a BMW stalker, but it doesn't wallow and lurch as pathetically as a minivan (any minivan) will when pushed even slightly in a bend. And yet it's every bit the minivan's equal as a long-haul cruiser when equipped with the available entertainment system, heated seats, GPS and upgraded Infinity Intermezzo audio system (now with MP3 capability).

High-end luxury touches are available, too - including Xenon HID lights, leather, Park Assist sensors, back-up camera and laminated side glass - which along with its stylish good looks makes it a credible luxury sport-tourer. Those are (once again) descriptive adjectives you'd never put in the same sentence with "minivan."

There's really no reason why large wagons shouldn't make a comeback. It's entirely possible that latter-day wagons like Pacifica will prove to be the leading edge of a resurgence in buyer affection for these versatile, roomy, reasonably economical - and still fun-to-drive - vehicles.

Kwozzie1
05-17-2007, 07:59 PM
Is the Pacifica a wagon version of the Sebring......They look similar

I am a little confused looking at the Chrysler site. When looking at Sebring it mentions a V6..but no mention in the specs. Is this a new option

We get the Sebring here this month... to my mind another interesting car on the road.... a little different and not the bland stuff so common now.

Eric
05-18-2007, 07:42 AM
Is the Pacifica a wagon version of the Sebring......They look similar

I am a little confused looking at the Chrysler site. When looking at Sebring it mentions a V6..but no mention in the specs. Is this a new option

We get the Sebring here this month... to my mind another interesting car on the road.... a little different and not the bland stuff so common now.


I don't think the two share a common platform/chassis (and the '07 Sebring's "new" as well). Let me check into it.


I personally like the Pacifica; it's attractive and tasteful as well as very "usable." Much to be preferred over a minivan - or even an SUV.

jdm124
05-18-2007, 10:38 PM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.

Eric
05-19-2007, 07:23 AM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.


The "low profile" roofline probably has a lot to do with the visibility issues - esp. relative to the '58 Plymouth!

I have often thought about acquiring a vintage wagon - something like an early '70s Olds Vista Cruiser or Pontiac... they seat eight, chief - and will handle that 4x8 sheet, too!

Plus - big V-8 under the hood!

chiph
05-19-2007, 09:49 AM
You might could still find a Caprice wagon.

Chip H.

misterdecibel
05-20-2007, 02:48 PM
The Pacifica is based on a Daimler Benz platform, shared with the R-Class.

swamprat
05-20-2007, 07:29 PM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.


The "low profile" roofline probably has a lot to do with the visibility issues - esp. relative to the '58 Plymouth!

I have often thought about acquiring a vintage wagon - something like an early '70s Olds Vista Cruiser or Pontiac... they seat eight, chief - and will handle that 4x8 sheet, too!

Plus - big V-8 under the hood!



Eric.

You may be in for an ugly surprise when you find out how much they cost adn how rare they are. I liked the 1968-70 models pretty well, but the 1964-67 models had more continuoutsl lines. For a great example of a 64 Cruiser, check out the movie A Perfect World, starring Clint Eastwood and Kevin Kostner (or however you spell it).

swamprat
05-20-2007, 07:32 PM
You might could still find a Caprice wagon.

Chip H.



Thats a pretty good idea. The Caprice is kind of a tub, but a stylish one. I have heard that the front seats are no good for trips over 60 miles, but I bet a 1992-1996 Wagon is less expensive than a vista. The other thing about those cars is that you could plant a Big Block 454 from a Chevy Pickup into it as well.

Eric
05-21-2007, 08:06 AM
You might could still find a Caprice wagon.

Chip H.



Thats a pretty good idea. The Caprice is kind of a tub, but a stylish one. I have heard that the front seats are no good for trips over 60 miles, but I bet a 1992-1996 Wagon is less expensive than a vista. The other thing about those cars is that you could plant a Big Block 454 from a Chevy Pickup into it as well.


Decent ones are getting hard to find - and the larger problem is they are now fairly "old" - yet still modern cars in the sense of their smog gear (and the need in most areas to pass emissions).

I'd look for al older model from the mid-late '70s. Same concept - but vastly simpler. And no worries about emissions in most areas.

Eric
05-21-2007, 08:08 AM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.


The "low profile" roofline probably has a lot to do with the visibility issues - esp. relative to the '58 Plymouth!

I have often thought about acquiring a vintage wagon - something like an early '70s Olds Vista Cruiser or Pontiac... they seat eight, chief - and will handle that 4x8 sheet, too!

Plus - big V-8 under the hood!



Eric.

You may be in for an ugly surprise when you find out how much they cost adn how rare they are. I liked the 1968-70 models pretty well, but the 1964-67 models had more continuoutsl lines. For a great example of a 64 Cruiser, check out the movie A Perfect World, starring Clint Eastwood and Kevin Kostner (or however you spell it).



Yes.. but it's still possible to find one for cheap in rural areas like mine, where they are just "old cars." The SOB auctions and shysters who are ruining the hobby for the average person will surely screw this up, too, of course!

jdm124
05-24-2007, 02:16 PM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.


The "low profile" roofline probably has a lot to do with the visibility issues - esp. relative to the '58 Plymouth!

I have often thought about acquiring a vintage wagon - something like an early '70s Olds Vista Cruiser or Pontiac... they seat eight, chief - and will handle that 4x8 sheet, too!

Plus - big V-8 under the hood!



That would work, the trick would be to get one which could easily be de-de-smogged. I had a 73 Olds 98 (455 in^3) which wouldn't pull a sick hen off a nest and still had abominable fuel efficiency.

Eric
05-24-2007, 08:00 PM
"That would work, the trick would be to get one which could easily be de-de-smogged. I had a 73 Olds 98 (455 in^3) which wouldn't pull a sick hen off a nest and still had abominable fuel efficiency."

Years ago, Hot Rod (I think it was Hot Rod) did a hilarious story called "Caddyhack" - in which they began with stone stock early '70s Caddy barge, ran it through the quarter mile, then began unbolting (and eventually, cutting off) sheetmetal until it was just the frame and a seat and the drivetrain - by which time it was running 12 second quarters!

swamprat
05-26-2007, 11:47 PM
Well, maybe. I had a 2006 Pacifica as a replacement car for about ten days and was totally unhappy with the big tub. Then again, I used it only for local driving.

I have had a big wagon or two, the largest being a 58 Plymouth which would accept a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood flat the the rear seats was folded, a close second being an 85 Pug 505. Neither of these seems as difficult to maneuver in close quarters as the Pacifica whose rear side windows and pillars are arranged to block a lot of vision.

To be fair, maybe it's a matter of senility but I deny all.


The "low profile" roofline probably has a lot to do with the visibility issues - esp. relative to the '58 Plymouth!

I have often thought about acquiring a vintage wagon - something like an early '70s Olds Vista Cruiser or Pontiac... they seat eight, chief - and will handle that 4x8 sheet, too!

Plus - big V-8 under the hood!



Eric.

You may be in for an ugly surprise when you find out how much they cost adn how rare they are. I liked the 1968-70 models pretty well, but the 1964-67 models had more continuoutsl lines. For a great example of a 64 Cruiser, check out the movie A Perfect World, starring Clint Eastwood and Kevin Kostner (or however you spell it).



Yes.. but it's still possible to find one for cheap in rural areas like mine, where they are just "old cars." The SOB auctions and shysters who are ruining the hobby for the average person will surely screw this up, too, of course!


Let me know when you do, especially if you see more than one for sale.

Eric
05-27-2007, 08:24 AM
"Let me know when you do, especially if you see more than one for sale."

It's hard if you're not local - and can act immediately. For example, youmight be out driving around and see one just sitting there in a guy's lawn or parked at the local gas 'n go.

There was a nice old Buick wagon (white) at a streetcorner in Christiansburg just a few weeks back; the "For sale" sign said $3,500/OBO...

swamprat
05-27-2007, 10:57 AM
"Let me know when you do, especially if you see more than one for sale."

It's hard if you're not local - and can act immediately. For example, youmight be out driving around and see one just sitting there in a guy's lawn or parked at the local gas 'n go.

There was a nice old Buick wagon (white) at a streetcorner in Christiansburg just a few weeks back; the "For sale" sign said $3,500/OBO...




Cool. Was it a Sportwagon? Those were cool looking cars. Optional on them was the first "speed minder" alarms on them. You could set it to say, 70 mph kinda similar to an alarm clock and it would buzz at you when you hit 75. I remember the Sport wagon well.

swamprat
05-27-2007, 10:58 AM
Re: the Pacifica - I would have been very interested if this was a RWD wagon. It seems that Chrysler could have done it without too much of a problem. The Pacifica is surely large enough.

Eric
05-30-2007, 09:51 AM
"Let me know when you do, especially if you see more than one for sale."

It's hard if you're not local - and can act immediately. For example, youmight be out driving around and see one just sitting there in a guy's lawn or parked at the local gas 'n go.

There was a nice old Buick wagon (white) at a streetcorner in Christiansburg just a few weeks back; the "For sale" sign said $3,500/OBO...




Cool. Was it a Sportwagon? Those were cool looking cars. Optional on them was the first "speed minder" alarms on them. You could set it to say, 70 mph kinda similar to an alarm clock and it would buzz at you when you hit 75. I remember the Sport wagon well.


I didn't get a close look; I almost stopped - but was in a hurry so just kept on going.

It appeared to be an early '70s model; huge - with lots of glass...