2005 Chrysler Pacifica Touring AWD
One look at the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica Touring AWD, and the last thing on your mind is minivan. The crossover SUV is sleek and trim, and the sharp creases in its body make it look sophisticated and stylish. Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and all-wheel drive, it is a bit sluggish and has to pull up to the gas pump all too often, but it's a workhorse that can carry six people in comfort with all their gear. The GPS-navigation computer will get them to their destination, while the satellite radio, the DVD player, and the inputs for a digital music machine entertain them. Chock-full of safety equipment, the Chrysler Pacifica earned the highest ratings in government crash tests.
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.