Monthly Update for August 2017 - 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Long-Term Road Test

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica: Monthly Update for August 2017

by Abigail Bassett, Senior Director, Video & Social Media

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

Where did we drive it?
The Pacifica is a great crew vehicle for our video team. It seats seven, gets decent gas mileage, and has enough space and power to haul video and camping equipment. Those are just some of the reasons why we spent a lot of August on the road with the Pacifica, putting more than 2,000 miles on it.

While our staff writer Cameron Rogers did get back in the Chrysler Pacifica in August, much of the van's time was spent in the hands of our video team. The bulk of those 2,000-plus miles came from a seven-day tow-along camping trip we took with Dan Edmunds, our director of vehicle testing. He towed a Happier Camper HC1 trailer with our Tesla Model X from the Edmunds offices in Santa Monica to Tahoe and back.

What kind of fuel economy did it get?
The Pacifica delivered its best single tank ever during its trip with our Model X. On one of the return legs, the Pacifica returned 28.7 mpg, which bested our previous record by almost a full mile per gallon.

In total, we logged 2,301 miles for the month of August and put in 95.7 gallons of 87 octane gas in the tank. That comes out to roughly 24.1 mpg for the month, which helped boost our overall average to 19.6 mpg.

Average lifetime mpg: 19.6 mpg
EPA mpg rating: 22 combined (18 city/28 highway)
Best fill mpg: 28.7 mpg
Best range: 434.8 miles
Current odometer: 22,313 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
Maintenance was a bear for us this month as we prepped for the long trip to Tahoe and the possibility that we would need to swap the Happier Camper HC1 to the Pacifica should the Tesla Model X run out of juice. We wanted to be sure that we had all the right equipment in place and all the maintenance up to date. We requested the 20,000-mile service, a repair for that nagging squeaky door, a USB port fix and a hitch install.

Here's how it went according to our video production manager, John Adolph, who was in charge of getting everything up to speed before hitting the road:

Thursday, August 17
"I called up my local dealer and asked if they could install a hitch by Saturday, since we were leaving early Monday for a 'family trip.' The service manager had me call [the parts department] to make sure they had the parts in stock. The parts department had the hitch but not the wiring. After a bit of wrangling, the parts manager told me that the wiring could be there by Friday morning. He did mention that there was an additional trim piece that should be installed for aesthetic reasons, but he told me that it wouldn't be essential if we had to leave without it."

Friday, August 18
"We dropped the Chrysler Pacifica off at 7 a.m. Around 4:30 p.m. I got a call from Paul in service who said that it was taking much longer than expected to install the hitch and the Pacifica wouldn't be ready till midday Monday. For obvious reasons that wasn't going to work for us, so I decided to swing by the dealership. After waiting for 20 minutes, I finally got to take a look at the van.

"It was a bit of a disaster. The Pacifica was on the lift, parts were strewn on the floor, and it didn't look like much had happened since I dropped it off. I explained that I was leaving Monday and that they had all day Saturday to finish it up.

"Since it was taking so long to install the hitch, I also asked about the potential cost of labor for such a job. The service manager quoted $1,000. I was astounded. It would have been nice to know that the labor was going to be almost double the cost of the hitch ahead of time.

"As it turns out, this was the service department's first time installing a hitch on the Pacifica. At this point it was late in the day, and the dealer was getting ready to close up. The service manager said he would give me a discount since it had been such a bear and that someone would call me first thing in the morning to keep me updated. The tech working on the hitch would stay late and come in on his day off to finish."

Saturday, August 19
"The service department never called. I went by at noon and waited for 30 minutes to talk to someone. Eventually a steward came to get me to take me back to the van. The tech who had stayed late and worked through his Saturday was great. He was cheerful about the Saturday work, gave me the original parts, and explained the install process for the hitch.

"It turns out the install was a bit trickier than everyone had expected. The hitch replaced the aluminum bumper and was bolted to the frame. The tech had to enlarge the holes and wait for the aforementioned 'trim part' because, as it turned out, it was an essential piece of the puzzle. It didn't show up until that morning.

"I was ready to hit the road and pay the bill. My file went to the desk and they handed me a bill for more than $1,500, far more than I'd expected. I asked about the promised 'adjustment' to labor and was told that that had already been accounted for. There was 'nothing else' they could do. After a bit of haggling they offered to knock off another hundred bucks and discount the parts.

"I asked for a more detailed breakdown of the totals and was told that it wasn't possible. In looking at the bill, there are no actual hours of labor listed, and it appears that they changed the oil twice and charged us for it. All in, it cost a whopping $1,228.03.

"The USB was never fixed because they ordered the wrong unit and, as is typical of any squeak or rattle, I couldn't replicate the issue when we went in for service.

"All that being what it is, the Pacifica was great during our trip north. It turns out we didn't need to utilize the new hitch setup on the trip, and the USB port magically fixed itself."

Logbook Highlights
"After spending a few days in a short-term 2017 Toyota Sienna, I decided to jump in the Pacifica for a back-to-back comparison. A major difference between the two was obvious from the moment I dropped into the Pacifica's driver seat. Man, this seat is uncomfortable. My primary complaint is with the leather upholstery; it's far too stiff to be comfortable for more than a couple hours at a time. Not only does this eventually introduce pressure points over a lengthy road trip, it doesn't allow you to sink into the seat. It would be a cliche to say that you sit on the seat rather than in it, but this is a fairly apt description of the Pacifica's throne.

"This generation of the Sienna has been on sale since the 2011 model year. Six years was plenty of time for Chrysler to benchmark its developing Pacifica against the competition. In the area of seat comfort, the Pacifica is outclassed by the segment's elder statesman.? — Cameron Rogers, associate staff writer

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