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2005 Chrysler Pacifica

    When Chrysler introduced the Pacifica in 2004, it was a fantastic family vehicle with only one problem.
     Many families couldn’t afford it.
     Chrysler tried to make the Pacifica an upscale station wagon with leather seats, fancy technology, and lots of luxurious features to guarantee people knew that Chrysler was now owned by Mercedes. It was a great vehicle — still is — but its starting price over $30,000 was more than many families could stomach.
     Fast forward to 2005, and Chrysler is doing what it should have done all along: offer a lower priced version of the Pacifica with cloth seats and slightly fewer gadgets. It still rides and drives like a luxury car, but families will find its sub-$25,000 price more palatable.
     Our test vehicle, a five-passenger model with front-wheel drive, had a sticker price of just $24,315. Despite the drastically lower price, its list of standard features was still a long one, including dual-zone climate control, power windows and locks, power front seats, and lots of amenities to keep families happy.
     Once you step into the Pacifica, you’ll be surprised at how much room there is and how nice everything looks. It has a more upscale, high-class feel than its price would suggest, and the seats are especially soft and supportive. It’s a great place to spend time on the road.
     The base Pacifica comes with a 210-horsepower V6 engine, which is enough power for comfortable driving around town and on the highway but nothing impressive. Higher end models come with a 250-horsepower engine for better performance.
     Many people have said the Pacifica feels like a luxury car, and there’s a reason. It shares some parts with Mercedes-Benz models, including the entire rear suspension from the E-class sedan. It has a hint of the German magic that makes cars float over bumps but still provide enough feedback for confidence in high-speed, emergency maneuvers.
     Even at highway speeds, it’s remarkably quiet. There’s very little wind or road noise, although the engine can let out a loud wail under acceleration.
     From a styling standpoint, the Pacifica is a home run. It’s definitely a station wagon — no matter what the marketing gurus at Chrysler want to call it — but it looks enough like an SUV to keep the fashion police from giving it a citation.
     It also has a great blend of features that are usually exclusive to one type of vehicle or another.

     Like an SUV, it has great cargo capacity (nearly 80 cubic feet), available all-wheel drive, and a trendy profile. Like a sedan, it’s easy to step into and simple to park. Like a minivan, it’s packed with family-friendly features and has a roomy cabin.
     It doesn’t skimp on safety features, with standard multi-stage front air bags, driver’s side knee bolsters, and child safety seat anchors. Optional features, some of which come standard on the more expensive Pacifica models, include side curtain air bags, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
     All in all, the Pacifica is one of the most practical family vehicles this side of a minivan, and it’s still stylish. The new, lower starting price just gives us one more reason to love it.

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