Starting at $36,485, the options on our loaded traveling pleasure palace add up quickly with a $150 special paint job, a $700 stereo, a $195 Sirius radio (with a year of programming), a $1,695 GPS computer and screen, a $275 autodimming rearview mirror, and a $990 video player, as well as $300 for laminated door glass. It all comes to $41,520, which includes Chrysler's $730 delivery charge.The interior of the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica is pure Chrysler, and that's good and bad. The flimsy plastics, fake wood inserts, and garish chrome accents can't compare to the minimalist design of European SUVs, but all the controls are within the driver's reach, and the GPS-navigation screen sits right in the middle of the instrument cluster. This positioning is great for the driver, but the passenger can't see the screen, so forget about traveling with a navigator. The 6.3-inch screen looks small and is actually a cleverly projected image from inside the dashboard. The maps are bright, and they show where you are and where you should be going; plus, they have a compass arrow with an uncrowded simplicity. Entering an address is a matter of using the onscreen keyboard, and the predictive entry helps shortcut this tedious process. It has points of interest, from airports to wineries, but lacks an emergency screen of the closest police or fire station. You'll have to manually change what state you're in when you cross a border, and the GPS screen does without a 3D bird's-eye view of the road.
For long family road trips, the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica has a fold-down 7-inch DVD screen in the back with wireless headphones so that the driver isn't diverted or annoyed by the soundtrack. The car comes with two headphones, and extras cost $38 for a pair. The best part is that the adults up front can listen to the radio or a CD while the kids watch Fantasia. The audio quality of the headphones can't match the surprisingly crisp sound of the Intermezzo eight-speaker sound system, which would be perfect if it had a touch more midrange. The Pacifica even has a trio of input jacks for an external video player, a camcorder, or an MP3 player.
Chrysler's UConnect Bluetooth system allows for hands-free cell phone use. The car also recognizes basic voice commands, such as for dialing and answering a call. There's a 32-entry address book that can hold up to four instant-dial numbers for each.The 2005 Chrysler Pacifica's 3.5-liter V-6 uses a single overhead cam--not the more sophisticated and powerful double overhead-cam arrangement--to open and close its four-valve-per-cylinder combustion chambers. With an output of 250 horsepower, the Pacifica is burdened by its 4,639-pound weight. It was able to get to 60mph in a sedate 8.6 seconds, which is a little sluggish but not bad for this class of car. The all-wheel-drive power train and five-speed automatic transmission are smooth and provide lots of grip, but at 60mph, the Pacifica picks up excessive road hum for an annoying 75dBA of noise. Emergency stops are straight and true but dominated by ABS buffeting. By far, the biggest criticism of the Pacifica is that it can muster only 15.5mpg of real-world driving on highways and city streets, well off its EPA rating of 17mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway. Its 22-gallon tank can take the Pacifica 340 miles of mixed highway and city driving. As safe as it is practical, the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica has front air bags for the driver and front passenger and curtain bags all around. In fact, it is the rare vehicle on the road that has five-star passenger-protection ratings across the board, and its four-star rollover rating is the best in class. Inside is a secure roll cage, with crumple zones in front and back, but the car lacks the latest swiveling headlights and self-drying brakes. While its backup warning beeper is great for parallel parking, it does without a rear-vision camera for precision parking. However, the Pacifica's self-leveling suspension comes in handy when the vehicle is loaded down or bouncing over dirt roads.
The 2005 Chrysler Pacifica's seven-year/70,000-mile power train warranty stands out as the best in the business, although everything else is covered for three years/36,000 miles, including roadside service. The car comes with a five-year rust guarantee.