When Chrysler reinvented the minivan, it wrote itself into automotive history by engineering a segment-buster that demanded new classification. Some 20 years later, the brand is attempting the same with the Pacifica, a crossover positioned somewhere in among a station wagon, an SUV, and a minivan. We ordered ours in Satin Jade Pearl with Deep Jade and Taupe premium leather.

The only available engine, a 3.5-liter V-6 with 250 horsepower motivates our (ever-so-light) green machine. We opted for an all-wheel-drive version with a base price of $32,980 (including $680 destination) and added the aforementioned leather seats for $890. We also went for the instrument cluster navigation system for $1595, the power liftgate for $400, and HID headlamps for another $500. Audiophiles on the staff checked the option sheet for the Infinity Intermezza Surround Sound ($700) to go along with the six-disc-changer upgrade ($555) and the Rear Seat Video System ($895). Add the $680 destination charge, and the bottom line came to $38,515.

In our first 5134 miles, the logbook has comments about the high quality of the materials, the solid and quiet structure, and the supple ride. Our biggest complaint is the lack of power and refinement from the somewhat underwhelming V-6. The SRS Warning light has come on, and we'll address that at the first service.

FROM THE LOGBOOK
"The Pacifica is gorgeous, inside and out. Materials, fit, and finish set new highs for a domestic car, with perceived quality approaching that of Audi and VW."
--Ron Sessions

2004 Chrysler Pacifica
Base price $32,980
Price as tested$38,515
Vehicle layout Front engine, awd, 4-door, 6-pass
Engine3.5L V-6, SOHC, 4 valves/cyl
SAE net hp @ rpm250 @ 6400
SAE torque @ rpm250 @ 4000
Transmission4-speed automatic w/Autostick
0-60 mph, sec 9.6
EPA mpg17 city/22 highway
Total mileage5134
Average test mpg15.3
Problem areasIntermittent airbag warning light
Maintenance cost$0
Normal wear cost$2 (1 qt oil)

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