Avg. Price Paid:$8,247 - $12,093
Original MSRP: $24,635 - $36,195
MPG: 15 City / 22 Hwy
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2008 Chrysler Pacifica Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Chrysler Pacifica was new.

Though the Pacifica gets a good performance, score, it can't compete with class leaders because of disappointing engine power. Two V6 engine options replace the previous one-size-fits all V6, and the base 3.8-liter is seen as insufficient. . Still, several reviews note that the Pacifica does have car-like handling.

Despite its new-for-2008 engine updates, most test drivers find power insufficient in the base V6. MSN comments, "There's no instantaneous power surge for sporty-minded drivers."

Acceleration and Power

Under the hood, the base model Pacifica boasts a 3.8-liter 200-horsepower V6 engine, and the Limited and Touring models come with an upgraded 4.0-liter 253-hp V6. While most find the base 3.8-liter engine sluggish, AutoWeek, which tested an upgraded 4.0-liter model, felt that replacing the 2006 Pacifica's 3.5-liter 250-hp V6 is "probably the biggest improvement."

Consumer Guide finds "Both engines somewhat coarse, though 4.0 V6 [is] noticeably smoother than 3.8." Cars.com says the base 3.8-liter is "adequate for most situations, though hauling a full load of passengers could prove too much. Passing takes more planning, as the four-speed transmission is slow to downshift." Like the majority of reviewers, CNET prefers the larger 4.0-liter engine, which "puts out more than enough power to rocket this wagon forward. We were very pleased with its performance from a stop, where it showed no acceleration lag."

The base V6, with a four-speed automatic transmission, has an estimated fuel economy of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. MSN calls "more SUV-like than carlike." CNET notes positively that "The car rates as a ULEV II, or ultra-low emissions vehicle, in California, a good achievement for a car of this size."

The base model V6 is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the higher-level engine gets a six-speed AutoStick transmission that AutoWeek feels "adds to the powertrain's newfound prowess to move the 4,500-pound Pacifica." CNET says that "The six-speed automatic in the Pacifica does its job well, making seamless shifts when we wanted them. But it also contributed to the lax passing acceleration, seeming hesitant to kickdown a gear or two when we really wanted to move. "

Handling and Braking

Reviewers generally find that the Pacifica's handling is adequate but lacks agility. "Steering is accurate and handling is secure, but the Pacifica's no sports sedan," says Car and Driver. About.com's test driver and his companion also found the ride a bit lacking: "Tossing the Pacifica into the twisties...sent my dog flying around the cargo compartment. She gets resentful when that happens. She likes four-wheel independent suspension and front and rear sway bars, which the Pacifica has, but she prefers a bit less body roll."

Though they have their criticisms, reviewers also praise the Pacifica. MSN describes handling as "commendable" in the all-wheel-drive version, noting that "The ride doesn't come across as firm, nor is it truckish or floaty. It's somewhere in between." The Pacifica gets a five-link independent rear suspension that features automatic leveling from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan. CNET says "the Pacifica handled rough roads with grace. Over bumps, the car felt surprisingly rigid, absorbing the initial jounce then damping out any follow-up well."

Reviewers are also generally pleased with the Pacifica's rack-and-pinion steering, which MSN says "has decent on-center feel, and most of the time, even the all-wheel-drive Pacifica travels with power going primarily to the front wheels." Kelley Blue Book also offers praise: "The steering feel is light and responsive, with a good amount of positive feedback from the road and, even though the Pacifica rides on tall 17-inch tires, the turn-in is very quick, allowing you to perform emergency maneuvers with complete confidence."

All-Wheel Drive

The 2008 Pacifica comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an available option on all models. MSN explains: "When slippage is detected, power is automatically routed to the rear to help out, and a driver might not notice that the system has engaged."

 Reviewers praise the AWD as a useful option in inclement weather. AutoWeek reports, "The thing hauled like a dog sled through deeply snow-covered streets and over icy interstate overpasses, never breaking stride." Kelley Blue Book says, "We think you'll find that the driving experience is impressive in the front-wheel-drive Pacifica and even better with all-wheel drive."

Review Last Updated: 7/16/09

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