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Motoring: Pacifica big on comfort

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | September 17th, 2007

If you were to give an award to the most overlooked vehicle in the market, the Pacifica would rank rather highly on that list.

So is there a reason for it being so unpopular or is there more to it.

Well this year I got to spend a lot of time with the Pacifica. I took a 2006 model Pacifica to New York and back and recently when I was in Vancouver, I had the new 2007 Pacifica.

There are a few differences between the '06 and '07 model Pacifica. While on the outside it has new headlights and bumper, the big difference in under the skin. The '07 model gets a new 4.0-litre, V6 engine that produces 253 hp (last year was only 200 hp), and now has a six-speed automatic instead of the four-speed gearbox in last year's vehicle.

So this should result in better performance right? Well to be honest, it didn't feel any faster, but that is ok, it is not supposed to be a fast vehicle anyway.

However, I did expect the new Pacifica to be better on gas, since it has extra gears to relax the engine, but it doesn't. Both the old and new versions averaged around 14-litres/100 km, which is not bad for a big six-seater vehicle, but it's not great either.

What is great about the Pacifica is the comfort. Like I mentioned before, I drove one from Toronto to Manhattan (N.Y.) and in that entire trip I never once felt I should have used another vehicle because it would have been more comfortable.

It rides extremely well and its highway manners are great, it even corners well for a vehicle of this size.

It is well equipped too, you get all the usual power-stuff, but then you can add luxuries like a DVD player for the rear seat passengers, a reversing camera and a navigation system. The navigation system deserves some extra mention, as this is the only vehicle I can think of that has a full map screen embedded in the instrument binnacle, instead of the dashboard. I quite like this idea since it makes checking instructions very easy. However, the navigation system on my Vancouver test vehicle was having some issues with finding places, so some fine tuning is required.

Pricing is not bad but not great either. A base Pacifica is yours for just $32,000, but a loaded model like the one I had is about $52,000. That is a lot of money, specially considering it will depreciate faster than it accelerates.

So not the greatest buy in the world, but if you can work out a good lease on one and if you need a six-seater, then buy one of these by all means. It is nice.
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