Pacifica 2020. Is there anything better?

by | Dec 13, 2019 | Motoring

Reading time: 4 minutes

The car market is at a turning point. With the buyer wanting to be taller, the industry wanting to sell the most, the environment demanding oxygen and the governments requiring taxes in the form of… renewal charges, luxury charges, carbon charges, congestion charges, parking charges and speeding fines, the humble car is in a state of confusion.

Ford dumps saloons in favor of SUVs, Aston Martin brings out one. Rolls… well… that’s done… It seems we are losing sight of what’s the core functionality of our vehicles. Which is, pay attention, taking you and your stuff wherever it is you are going. And on that the Pacifica is just the best. Ish.

Pacifica to the rescue

With a 3.6l V6 at the front, commanding 287HP, and a FWD transmission, the only important thing to say is that you have enough power to move briskly. That’s it. Fuel efficiency is… acceptable… Published numbers are a combined 12.8l/100Km but on our road test we managed 11l per 100Km. True that for a 2.7 ton behemoth this is quite mild. True that our test rendered better results than advertised. But in 2019 we are trained to expect a much more economical drive.


The interior amenities are just out of this world. Driver seat is more of a sofa than a seat which, given the acceleration and braking capabilities of this yacht, is appropriate. No need for any of those baquet seat nonsense. Comfort is the name of the game here.

Other than the standard bluetooth, ApplePlay and Google connectivity, a nice and very useful touch is the cruise control. Whereas most vehicles come with either the standard maintain-the-speed or the I-will-brake-a-fortnight-before-the-next-car, the Pacifica brings both. That way you don’t go berserk on highway driving within city limits, but have the added safety on longer trips.

What it does, it does perfectly

Road worthiness is exceptional though. Not quite as stable as, say, the 300M from the same company, but certainly much better than any SUV with equivalent capacity. And on that, the field is quite reduced. Something this size can only be, and that’s a stretch, compared with the Nissan Patrol, Toyota Land Cruiser or Ford Expedition. And against these, the Pacifica is poised, serene and precise.


Now, and here is where important comes in. The highlight of the Pacifica goes from behind the front seats, all the way to the rear door. And that highlight is called functionality. It’s just marvelous. There is truly no other word for it. Two rows of back seats to seat up to 9 people in total. With the added feature of seamless disappearing seats. They make the Pacifica a full flat floor van if need be. And the luggage space, big as it is with all the seats up, even has a hidden compartment underneath for additional storage.

Seat combos are a bliss. Side doors are electrical for even easier access in constrained parking lots. And one thing that is often overlooked is the actual climb into the car. In the Pacifica it is truly human size. You don’t have to get a ladder as in an SUV, nor drop into a sedan to ask for help to wedge yourself out of it, it is just quaint. Comfortable. Natural.


Fitting Room

Putting the Pacifica in a segment is not doing it justice. This is an MPV but comparing it to the rest of the field is like looking at the Apple Watch in the accessories shop. Yes, it goes on the wrist, but it does much more than give you the time. Hence, a more reasonable comparison is to the models I said before, and in that the facts are overwhelming

PacificaPatrolLand CruiserExpeditionTahoe
EngineV6 – 3.6lV6 – 4lV6 – 4lV6 – 3.5lV8 – 5.3l
Power287HP275HP271HP375HP355HP
Seats7-97-8777
Cargo
Space
>700l>700l>700l>700l>700
Price<41,000$>45,000$>54,000$>56,000$>45,000$

Now, I know full well this is unfair. Comparing a MPV with a full-size SUV is disparaging because these are not in the same segment, but hear me out. They are all the same length, roughly the same height, the same width, similar top speed and acceleration, fit the same amount of travelers and carry the same amount of luggage.

They differ on three things and three things only. The SUV has a higher ground clearance, a 4WD transmission and it can tow Disneyland. On the other hand, the MPV is just better in everything else. And let’s be realistic, only 4% of SUVs ever leave the road. Furthermore, less than 1% ever tow a trailer. And if these stats do not convince, most of the 1% are also in the 4%.

Lighter, better on the road, cheaper, more economical to run, easier to park and fantastic on the grocery run. And if you are the traveling type I will let you in on a little trick: pay for a monthly membership on a nationwide gym chain and you can sleep in it and shower in the gym wherever it is you go. Say good bye to hotels…

Finally, the Pacifica is almost perfect. Would I want one? No. But it is a qualified no. I love every aspect of it except one. And that is fuel efficiency. In 2019, moving about in something that does more than 5l per 100Km and does not 3.5s to 100KPH no longer makes sense. Today vehicles need to move to either hybrid or electric, or just be performance or luxury paradigms. And the standard Pacifica is neither. Yes there is a hybrid coming but that is not a reality yet in this region. Once that is in the catalogue, sign me up.

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