Review: 2006 Chrysler Pacifica

For those of you needing to carry a lot of passengers on vacation but don't like driving the boxy minivans, we present to you the 6-passenger Chrysler Pacifica. Chrysler has morphed together some of the best safety and performance traits from sedans, sport-utility vehicles and minivans to come out with this eye catching alternative to the family hauler that they call a “sports tourer.”

The 2006 Chrysler Pacifica can be rented through Thrifty Car Rentals at all major airports in the Hawaiian Islands under the “Premium” designation. From our experience, it is a relatively unknown option for travelers wanting to carry up to 6 passengers. As we are coming into the high season and minivans are selling out, I have been presenting the Pacifica as an alternative and have been getting an enthusiastic response. Not only is the car generally available, sporting looking with some horse power, it is also less expensive then renting a minivan. The Premium class Chrysler Pacifica can be rented through Thrifty (with our contract) at the weekly base rate of $241.50 vs. the minivan at the weekly base rate of $271.50.

The interior of the Chrysler Pacifica features good room for up to six people and cargo. It is rated to carry 4 large suitcases in the rear cargo area. The Pacifica offers 3 rows of seats with the second-row seats having adjustability for excellent leg room. The third row of seatbacks fold forward to enlarge the cargo area when extra space is needed. The second row of seats are easily flipped up to make entry into the third row easier.

The Pacifica is powered by a solid, 250 HP, 3.5-liter single overhead cam V-6 engine. It creates 250 lb-ft of torque at 3,950 rpm which it needs to move all 4,300 lbs. of it. It also comes standard with a 4-speed automatic transmission. While not as economical as a compact car, the Pacifica is rated at 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway. The long-legged gearing allows you to cruise along at relaxed 2,200 rpm at 65 mph.

The Chrysler Pacifica has an interesting ride. It is heavy but with enough power to move it. It rides on 17 inch wheels and comes standard with a “performance suspension” which is shared with the higher-line Mercedes E-Class cars. The car ride feels substantial but the steering is reasonably quick and the handling is quite good.

The Pacifica also comes loaded with safety features. It comes standard with 4 wheel disc anti-lock brakes. It also offers side-curtain airbags to protect all outboard occupants. The driver's compartment has un unusual airbag designed to help prevent leg injuries in case of a collision as well as the standard airbags up front as well.

I like the Chrysler Pacifica as an alternative to the minivan while vacationing in the islands. The interior is roomy with a lot of practical features that make it very useable whether you are getting groceries or heading to the beach. Chrysler has created a nice crossover package here with excellent safety features, substantial yet responsive ride, versatile interior and sufficient luxury to satisfy the upscale traveler looking for something a little different on their vacation with a good dose of practicality.