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Replacement for Pacifica

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

My Pacifica is getting a little long in the tooth. It's been a perfect snow country vehicle for what I need. Roomy, Quiet, Rides Great, AWD and comfortable interor. I'm not an off roader so AWD is all I need to keep from getting stuck in a snowy parking lot or drive way. Quiet, Comfortable and Good Ride are important for summer road trips. I can accept a little less space that I have now and really only need two rows of seating 95% of the time. I've considered the Equinox, Dodge Durango, the  larger Hyundai-Kia and Subaru Outback. Any suggestions?

post #2 of 29

I do like the new Toyota Highlander.  Maybe when lease turn-ins start showing up, I'll snag a CPO.

post #3 of 29

No experience with any but the Outback.  Mine is a 2012 with the 6-cyl., so I can't speak to the more common 4-cyl. with the CVT.

 

It's plenty large enough, and in fact, I kinda wish I had smaller version from I believe 2009 and before.  They've beefed it up in size so much it's nearly an SUV now.  It does have very high ground clearance, and with snows on it, it's unstoppable in even really deep snow...on hilly roads yet.  

 

I got a loaded model with the big engine, and it's still reasonable in price.  Gas mileage is only so-so, and the seats bottoms seem a bit short if you have long legs.  The H-K sound system is awesome.  Not very stylish, of course.  I heard that the 2013 and later models had some revisions to reduce body roll by 1/3.  If so, it may actually be kinda/sorta fun to drive.  It handles pretty well for a high-riding wagon as is, tho.

 

So, practical as hell, good sound system, good power with the 6-cyl, but a bit too big, imo.  

post #4 of 29

As a reference point your AWD Pacifica has about 80 cu ft cargo volume behind the front seats (the non AWD had more) and a 2009 Subaru Outback has 65.4 cu ft.

If budget is a concern you might look at the Dodge Journey R/T with 67 cu ft. The nicest two row vehicle I've seen is the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport with 71.5 cu ft. - beautiful quality and great AWD system.  The Forester is solid but I like a little more luxury. The Kia Sedona is an option but a lot of $ for a Kia and resale value could be an issue. For max volume the Toyota Sienna AWD minivan is very nice with a few options. Unless you are towing the Durango seems like overkill and I'm not a fan of Chrysler reliability when there is that much money involved. If three row seating is mandatory the Highlander is top of my list. 


Edited by Castle Dave - 7/29/14 at 9:31am
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post
 

I do like the new Toyota Highlander.  Maybe when lease turn-ins start showing up, I'll snag a CPO.

I agree with you here, the new Highlander does look real good. I would add the GM Lamda series to the choices....GMC Arcadia, Chevy Traverse and the Buick Enclave, there are probably as close to the feel of your Pacifica as anything out there. 

post #6 of 29

I bought a new 2014 Outback, basic model, and I'm happy with it so far after about 15K miles, but it's pretty basic transportation, very good in snow.  During my shopping I priced a Toyota Venza, they were very competitive with the Outback, just a little more, maybe $26-29K at the low end and would give a little more size and luxury than an Outback.  Not as big as a Highlander and maybe fairly close to a Pacifica, but with great Toyota reliability.

post #7 of 29

Unless there is something expensive wrong with the Pacifica, I might suggest that it makes the most financial sense to simply keep it.

 

Is it rusty? Is it using oil? Is the transmission showing signs of imminent failure?

 

The Pacifica is probably paid for. Unless you have the cash for a new vehicle, you are looking at substantial payments, increased insurance cost, etc. just for the privilege of driving a newer car with newer toys on it. The Pacifica is not popular, and you may not get much on trade-in or re-sale, but it probably still takes you where you're going reliably and comfortably.

 

If you do have the cash, you could use it for several very nice vacations, including helicopter skiing in Canada, or put it toward an earlier or more well-funded retirement. Or both. And putting some in an IRA gets you a nice tax deduction.

 

Is the new vehicle really worth $30K in added value to your life?

 

Every time I have to fix something sort of major on my 1999 pickup, I think, well, that's less than two payments on a new one. And although I have to fix it occasionally, I'm not pouring money down the depreciation rat hole. It's still solid, quiet, comfortable and reliable. No nav system, but, you know, those paper things you get from AAA work pretty well, and the price is right.

 

Maybe you want a new one, and that's OK. Just realize that you probably don't need a new one, and be very aware of all the costs.

 

With all that said, I like Subaru Foresters, but there are a variety of other worthy candidates, as well.

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Jhcooley
You are probably right. The car seems to work fine. Drives good etc. unfortunately there is a double half dollar hole in the driver side carpet, gas gage only works part time, difficult to fill tank 100%, shifts a little goofy and there is a whoop whoop noise coming from the rear. All of this may not change over the next decade but it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the car. If I could buy an updated 2014 Pacifica I would.
The Durango is actually shorter and narrower than the Pacifica so it's not overkill.
Replacing the pacifica's interior volume and driving comfort without being a minivan is the real challenge.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Replacing the pacifica's interior volume and driving comfort without being a minivan is the real challenge.

You're right - the Pacifica was and is a unique vehicle especially for it's time. I was racking my brain to think of other options with a similiar 'feel' (more like a car and less like an SUV) and think the Mazda CX-9 would be worth a look particularly the GT model.

post #10 of 29

I have always thought the Toyota Venza seemed like a similar vehicle to the Pacifica, that might be worth a look. The Ford Flex is very cool and could make a great ski vehicle, but might be a bit bigger than you are looking for. Of course, you can never really go wrong with the Outback. It's a good recommendation and the new 2015 model has been nicely updated.

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. Time for test drives.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Jhcooley
You are probably right. The car seems to work fine. Drives good etc. unfortunately there is a double half dollar hole in the driver side carpet, gas gage only works part time, difficult to fill tank 100%, shifts a little goofy and there is a whoop whoop noise coming from the rear. All of this may not change over the next decade but it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the car. If I could buy an updated 2014 Pacifica I would.
The Durango is actually shorter and narrower than the Pacifica so it's not overkill.
Replacing the pacifica's interior volume and driving comfort without being a minivan is the real challenge.


You certainly could have some expensive issues developing. The carpet is not particularly expensive to replace. The fuel gauge repair might come in at $300-$400, which sounds like a lot, but it's trivial compared to a new vehicle. I'm going through that issue now with the pickup. It is most likely the sender. Replacing it requires dropping the gas tank, which is costly. But at over 200,000 miles, it doesn't owe me anything, and I'll fix it.

 

The "shifts a little goofy" could be serious. Or not. I've also been through this one. Updating the firmware in the engine computer solved the problem, and was very inexpensive.

 

"Whoop whoop" from the rear? Could be rear drivetrain of AWD, or a bearing or suspension component or ???. Might be worth diagnosing before you drop $30K or more on a replacement.

 

If you like the Pacifica and Chrysler products, you might want to look at the Dodge Journey. It is not particularly well reviewed, but it may be a good fit for you anyway.

 

The Durango is heavy and gets poor fuel mileage. Maybe they'll put the V6 Motori diesel in it that they are using in the half-ton pickup. That could be interesting. The Durango will drive differently than the Pacifica.

 

And, of course, there is always the Outback. But you knew that.

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

 

The Durango is heavy and gets poor fuel mileage. Maybe they'll put the V6 Motori diesel in it that they are using in the half-ton pickup. That could be interesting. The Durango will drive differently than the Pacifica.

 

I'm not a huge Chrysler fan, but I rented the Pacifica on a diving trip to FL with the wife and kids. I was impressed,  8 tanks, 4 BC's and all the diving gear fit without a problem.

I test drove the Jeep GC with Motori diesel and I was pleasantly surprised how nicely it performed.  But it's still a Fiat/Chrysler product and I'm holding out till we get some history on it.

post #14 of 29

I rented a Ford Flex for a ski weekend this past season and it is very similar to your Pacifica. It is only about 2 inches longer than the Pacifica. There was tons of room in all 3 rows, it was quiet, it is not as tall

as the GM triplets or the Ford Explorer or the Durango and it got around 23 mpg during the weekend (AWD). I was impressed with the Flex, but it was too big for my regular needs.

post #15 of 29

I'm in active car shopping mode right now and the last week or so I've driven a Toyota RAV 4, Toyota 4Runner, Mazda CX5, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback and an Acura RDX. I'm currently in a 2002 Toyota Tacoma and will probably keep it as a spare. It's been rock solid and it's kind of spoiled me as far as low cost reliability is concerned. But I'll be doing a winter cross country trip to Whitefish in Feb 15 and plan to spend a month there - hence the need for new wheels.

 

So here's the results so far, all of these would be AWD:

 

RAV 4: Good price (about 27-29k) nice interior layout but a bit sluggish. Hasn't been eliminated from the list.

 

Toyota 4Runner: New models are super ugly but I was willing to overlook it. I was prepared to really like this based on the fact that I'm driving essentially the same drivetrain with my Tacoma. It was the first to get scratched - slow off the line, no steering response, poor MPG and a weird disconnected from the road feeling. I'd rather be in my 180k mile Tacoma. Also not a bargain pricewise.

 

Mazda CX-5. Went to the top of the list. Under 30K fully trimmed out, very fun to drive, I like the styling and the MPG is as good as the RAV4. The only down side to the car is that it may be a bit below my creature comfort desires but for the money it is a hit. Probably 28-29k out the door.

 

Subaru Forester: I drove the 2.5L 4 cylinder version with the CVT (same drivetrain as the Outback). More of a traditional SUV style than a crossover, the lowest price point of the bunch. I was wary of the CVT but I would say that it was acceptable in performance but just didn't sound right to me. I haven't checked but I would say it has a bit more cargo volume than the RAV4 or the CX-5. Good MPG and if it lives up to it's reputation would be the best vehicle in the snow.

 

Subaru Outback: The extra 5" of wheelbase really makes a difference. If you still have those 210 cm skis to put in the back this is the one you want. What you don't want is that CuisineArt machine they put under the hood. It's the same motor and CVT they use in the Forester but with the extra weight of the Outback it sounds and performs like a hay bailer. And it's just weird looking. The Forester is a way better vehicle if you like a Subaru.

 

Acura RDX: Oh man, that thing is nice. 6 cylinder, 6 speed, sporty enough with a decent driver feedback, the best styling by far, good resale value, good but not great MPG. The standard version with AWD has pretty much everything I need on it; heated seats, back up camera and the reliability should be excellent for the Acura. I will have to justify the extra 8-10K over the price of the Mazda but I deserve nice things don't I ?

 

I still want to drive the Ford Escape and maybe the new Jeep Cherokee. The Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Acura MDX are all really nice machines but they are all in a separate price class and MPG group.

 

Hope this helps!

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuller View Post

 

RAV 4: Good price (about 27-29k) nice interior layout but a bit sluggish. Hasn't been eliminated from the list.

 

 

If you're willing to get the previous gen with the V6, that solves that problem for sure.

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuller View Post

 

Subaru Outback: What you don't want is that CuisineArt machine they put under the hood. It's the same motor and CVT they use in the Forester but with the extra weight of the Outback it sounds and performs like a hay bailer. And it's just weird looking. The Forester is a way better vehicle if you like a Subaru.

 

Just get the 6-cyl, non-CVT 3.6R, and problem solved.  Of course, that adds a few thousand to the price...and it's still funny looking.

If I had it to do over again, I would get the Forester myself...or a Toyota Highlander.  

 

I liked the Jeep GC really well, but with all the options I wanted, it was too pricey...and I'm leery of Chryslers.

post #18 of 29

the new 2015 Subie Outback 3.6R gets a CVT.

 

but... I loathe the roof rack Subaru installs only on the Outback.

post #19 of 29

Ford Flex, Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango.

 

Those are in the same bigger size category as your Pacifica, if that matters.

 

I drove them all, but ultimately went a bit smaller.  Of the three, the Durango was my favorite (but I have a slight bias towards RWD-based platforms).

post #20 of 29
Quote:
 Subaru Outback: The extra 5" of wheelbase really makes a difference. If you still have those 210 cm skis to put in the back this is the one you want. What you don't want is that CuisineArt machine they put under the hood. It's the same motor and CVT they use in the Forester but with the extra weight of the Outback it sounds and performs like a hay bailer. And it's just weird looking. The Forester is a way better vehicle if you like a Subaru.

I'd like to update this comment I made earlier: While I still stand by my opinion of the 2014 4cylinder Outback I have to say the 2015 model is a huge improvement.  I had done a bit more research and learned about the changes they had made. I like the extra length the Outback has over the Forester and with improved looks, mileage and tranny settings it's a much different vehicle.

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

Jhcooley
You are probably right. The car seems to work fine. Drives good etc. unfortunately there is a double half dollar hole in the driver side carpet, gas gage only works part time, difficult to fill tank 100%, shifts a little goofy and there is a whoop whoop noise coming from the rear. All of this may not change over the next decade but it detracts from the overall enjoyment of the car. If I could buy an updated 2014 Pacifica I would.
The Durango is actually shorter and narrower than the Pacifica so it's not overkill.
Replacing the pacifica's interior volume and driving comfort without being a minivan is the real challenge.

I'd drop that car like a hot rock. I owned the 2004 AWD until last year.  My car had the same fuel tank/gas gauge issue. There are several in-line pumps on that car and replacing anyone of them is not cheap and will not necessarily fix the problem. I ended up buying a new tank, rather than simply replacing the pump and the car took gas normally afterward and the gauge read true.  Your probably looking at six hundred dollars minimum just to address the gas tank problem.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuller View Post

I'm in active car shopping mode right now and the last week or so I've driven a Toyota RAV 4, Toyota 4Runner, Mazda CX5, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback and an Acura RDX. I'm currently in a 2002 Toyota Tacoma and will probably keep it as a spare. It's been rock solid and it's kind of spoiled me as far as low cost reliability is concerned. But I'll be doing a winter cross country trip to Whitefish in Feb 15 and plan to spend a month there - hence the need for new wheels.

So here's the results so far, all of these would be AWD:

RAV 4: Good price (about 27-29k) nice interior layout but a bit sluggish. Hasn't been eliminated from the list.

Toyota 4Runner: New models are super ugly but I was willing to overlook it. I was prepared to really like this based on the fact that I'm driving essentially the same drivetrain with my Tacoma. It was the first to get scratched - slow off the line, no steering response, poor MPG and a weird disconnected from the road feeling. I'd rather be in my 180k mile Tacoma. Also not a bargain pricewise.

Mazda CX-5. Went to the top of the list. Under 30K fully trimmed out, very fun to drive, I like the styling and the MPG is as good as the RAV4. The only down side to the car is that it may be a bit below my creature comfort desires but for the money it is a hit. Probably 28-29k out the door.

Subaru Forester: I drove the 2.5L 4 cylinder version with the CVT (same drivetrain as the Outback). More of a traditional SUV style than a crossover, the lowest price point of the bunch. I was wary of the CVT but I would say that it was acceptable in performance but just didn't sound right to me. I haven't checked but I would say it has a bit more cargo volume than the RAV4 or the CX-5. Good MPG and if it lives up to it's reputation would be the best vehicle in the snow.

Subaru Outback: The extra 5" of wheelbase really makes a difference. If you still have those 210 cm skis to put in the back this is the one you want. What you don't want is that CuisineArt machine they put under the hood. It's the same motor and CVT they use in the Forester but with the extra weight of the Outback it sounds and performs like a hay bailer. And it's just weird looking. The Forester is a way better vehicle if you like a Subaru.

Acura RDX: Oh man, that thing is nice. 6 cylinder, 6 speed, sporty enough with a decent driver feedback, the best styling by far, good resale value, good but not great MPG. The standard version with AWD has pretty much everything I need on it; heated seats, back up camera and the reliability should be excellent for the Acura. I will have to justify the extra 8-10K over the price of the Mazda but I deserve nice things don't I ?

I still want to drive the Ford Escape and maybe the new Jeep Cherokee. The Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Acura MDX are all really nice machines but they are all in a separate price class and MPG group.

Hope this helps!

Fuller,
The Subarus you drove, were they the 2014 or 2015 models? And as for the Outback, was this the 4cly?
post #23 of 29

Alohaed,

 

That would be all of the above. Originally I just drove the 4 cylinder 2014 Outback and I liked the Forester better. But then we went back and sampled the 2015 4 cylinder. I don't know if it would be classified as a redesign but it's different enough to completely change my mind about the car. Better looking on the outside, the interior is less eclectic and the CVT has been reworked to feel more like a 6 speed.  I still like the RDX more as a daily driver but the Subie might be more suited to my Whitefish trip this winter.

post #24 of 29
Thx. Since, assume then, you were ok with the 2015 Outback, was then engine quieter, not as much as a hay bailer? How was the cabin noise while driving, ok also?
post #25 of 29
I have been driving a 2014 4cyl, auto trans CVT Outback for a year. My son just got a 2015 4cyl auto trans CVT Forester a month ago. Strictly anecdotal, but Must admit his Forester drives smoother than my Outback. Outback has some hesitation when applying gas, just kind of sluggish and gangly. Forester smooth with much better sight lines too and back-up camera came standard eqmt. Neither car will give you goose bump thrills, they are basically suburban queens that do exceptionally well in snow. Both vehicles purchased new with few options, price out the door including taxes:
2015 Forester: $23,500,
2014 Outback with $500 allowance for 21 year old Honda Accord trade-in: $24,000

PS: rear seats in Outback can recline and allow great passenger room. Also, I find longer cargo area of Outback more useful, but Forester's height actually gives it more cargo space technically.
post #26 of 29

I have been driving a 2013 Ford Flex for about a year and a half. It gets driven on 6 or 7 cross country trips a year.  It is a bit bigger than I really need, but I would buy another in a heartbeat. It is super quiet, very comfortable and has more than enough power without the Ecoboost option. It is FWD, but I run Michelin X-Ice 2 on all 4 in the winter. It is a dream to drive on long trips and gets good mileage. (much better than my friends Subaru when he has his roof box on) And, if there are 2 or 3 on the trip you can get everything inside the car. No noisy, wind catching, gas sucking roof box to deal with.

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alohaed View Post

Thx. Since, assume then, you were ok with the 2015 Outback, was then engine quieter, not as much as a hay bailer? How was the cabin noise while driving, ok also?


Noise levels in the 2015 Outback were good, quieter than the 2015 Forester. With a more dampened chassis and extra wheelbase length it would be much better on long road trips.  My main issue with the 2014 model was the CVT. The engine winds up and makes a racket but not much happens in forward movement. Reminds me of the John Deere 2020 tractors we used to use on the farm.

post #28 of 29
Thanks for your input. I appreciate it. Have a great upcoming ski season.
post #29 of 29

A little late to this party but I'm driving a 2014 Outback with the 4 cylinder with CVT and couldn't be happier with it. Have had it for 1 year and put 13,000 miles on it including 2 road trips of 1,000 miles. Much quieter, smoother and better riding than the 2003 CR-V it replaced. We initially were thinking of a Forester but it seemed spartan in comparison to the Outback.

 

The CVT is initially strange when you accelerate when already in motion and see the revs kick way up. We have gotten use to that characteristic. The thing actually accelerates well but so smoothly it is deceptive. I've looked down several times while passing other vehicles and have been surprised at how fast I'm going.

 

Gas mileage with the 4 cyl. CVT is great. We get 26-27 around town and 30-32 on the highway when driving 70 or less. MPG is a little lower at freeway speed.

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