You can bet your money on these 3 Chrysler Pacifica years! [While saying NO to these 5!]

You can bet your money on these 3 Chrysler Pacifica years! [While saying NO to these 5!]

Who would’ve thought that the time will eventually come when we’ll have to sell you on the critically acclaimed engineering ingenuity known as the V.A.N.

Although Chrysler has done a splendid job with that already with the Pacifica, some of its years have quickly turned borderline horrendous that a loaf of bread on wheels would be a more pleasant (and palatable) experience.

The good news is not all of them end up like piles of burnt toast, and you’ll find out shortly in this guide that the best ones are even worth calling your home away from home!

What are the best and worst Chrysler Pacifica model years?

The Best Chrysler Pacifica model years are 2008, 2019, and 2020, while the worst ones are 2004, 2005, 2006, 2017, and 2018.

The best and worst Chrysler Pacifica model years are based on factors like consumer and expert ratings, reliability reviews, notable features, and number of reported complaints.

Even with the Pacifica model’s short-lived stint as a mid-size crossover in the early to mid-2000s, Chrysler successfully revived the nameplate in minivan form to cater to the more modern market in 2017.

But whichever shape or form you want your family car to be in, there’s no denying that the Chrysler Pacifica doesn’t have the best reputation for consistency even with the limited model years that it has.

Add in the “buying a pre-owned vehicle” factor and it becomes even more important for you to separate the bad model years from the good if you really want to get your money’s worth.

Luckily, we’ve already done just that for you starting with the Pacifica mid-size crossover, which peaked in 2008 and had its worst couple of years in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

As for the minivan reincarnation, you’ll find its best examples in the 2019 and 2020 model years, while you’re better off avoiding earlier ones from 2017 and 2018.

Now that you know the general list of Chrysler model years to buy and avoid, let’s keep the ball rolling and check out the facts and stats for each year that solidify their place on the list below!

What are the best Chrysler Pacifica model years?

The best Chrysler Pacifica model years include the 2008 mid-size crossover model and the 2019 and 2020 minivan models due to a good mix of high consumer and expert ratings, better reliability, and fewer reported problems.

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

Despite getting off to a rocky start, the Chrysler Pacifica minivan had one of its best iterations yet in the form of the 2020 model, incorporating comfort, tech, and reliability in one nicely packaged deal.

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica received high expert ratings of 4.5/5 on KBB and 9.5/10 on Car and  Driver, while consumers rate it a bit lower on average at 3.6/5 on Edmunds and 74/100 on J.D. Power.

Such ratings are already slightly higher than those received by the newer 2021 to 2024 models, but the 2020 model stands out even more from the pack by having fewer complaints than the two model years after it on CarProblemZoo.

Of course, you don’t get the latest tech that the 2021 and newer Pacificas have. However, this model year still benefits from standard features that include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, “Stow n’ Go” seats, and blind-spot monitoring.

The list of creature comforts goes on to make this model a strong contender in its class, all while having a smooth and efficient 3.6-liter V6 powertrain and handling that’s quite confidence-inspiring for a minivan.

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the Pentastar V6 is also available should you require class-leading fuel economy, but the trade-off is that you do lose the Stow n’ Go seats due to the placement of the additional hybrid battery pack.

2019 Chrysler Pacifica

Much like the 2020 model, the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica is a safe and good model year to buy thanks to improvements in overall reliability over the previous model years and a collection of standard onboard equipment.

Consumers give the 2019 model fair ratings of 3.7/5 on KBB and 72/100 on J.D. Power, whereas experts have been a lot more generous with their input, which includes a 4.5/5 on KBB and a perfect 10/10 on Car and Driver.

While reported complaints are slightly higher for this model compared to its 2020 successor, it’s nowhere near the amount reported for the “unreliable” 2017 and 2018 model years, making it a more refined year for the minivan worth keeping in your sights.

Even with a slightly lower price point in the used market, the 2019 Pacifica still gets a user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system, a SafetyTec Group safety package, and the renowned Stow ‘n Go seats for non-hybrid models.

Spec-wise, it has the same base 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with respectable fuel economy and performance, while the Pacifica Hybrid variant’s 2 electric motors give the engine a boost in mpg and range.

Having said that, you still need to be wary of the potential problems reported for this year such as a “service charging system” error, a faulty dashboard screen, random shutdowns, and premature battery failure.

2008 Chrysler Pacifica

2008 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the Pacifica nameplate as it’s known today, you can actually consider buying the 2008 model, back when it was still going through its SUV phase.

Now, despite sales for the Chrysler Pacifica mid-size crossover being lower than anyone would like, when it comes to reliability and standard features, the 2008 model is your best pick.

Not only does this model have the fewest complaints out of any Pacifica crossover year, but it also has considerably high consumer ratings of 4.1/5 on KBB and 78/100 on Edmunds. Data from experts, however, are scarce for this model.

It’s no surprise that it falls behind the newer Pacifica minivan models in the interior and space departments, yet this model is still quite notable for its ride comfort, sportier demeanor, and all-wheel drive performance.

Often called a “wagon”, the 2008 Pacifica surprisingly doesn’t feel like its size when taking corners, which is further complemented by the added assurance of 4-wheel ABS, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), and the bite of a V6 under the hood.

While both the 3.8-liter and 4-liter V6 give decent mpg ratings, you’ll get a more balanced package with the bigger motor since it pulls significantly better without sacrificing much on fuel economy.

What are the worst Chrysler Pacifica model years?

The worst Chrysler Pacifica model years are the 2004, 2005, and 2006 mid-size crossover models and the 2017 and 2018 minivan models.

The worst Chrysler Pacifica years may not have the lowest ratings, but they received the most complaints throughout the years, making reliability not their strong suit.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica

2018 Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica minivan has only been out for 8 model years at this point, and some of those years have already left quite a big stain on the vehicle’s overall image. Such is the case for the 2018 model and its plague of reliability issues.

Belonging to one of the earlier model years of the people carrier, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica initially garnered enthusiastic scores of 4.6/5 from KBB experts and 10/10 from Car and Driver experts.

However, lower consumer ratings of 3.7/5 on Edmunds and 73/100 reveal that it isn’t nearly as deserving of praise in the long run when tons of problems started popping out from left and right.

Amidst the 1,053 complaints on CarProblemZoo for the model year, around 500 of them are equally shared by its engine and electrical system. This makes it only second to the 2017 model as the most problem-prone Pacifica year.

One of the most common electrical issues on the 2018 Pacifica is various warnings appearing on the dash that typically involve the charging system, shifter, hybrid battery, power steering, and electronic stability control.

These issues are also closely tied to the vehicle’s known engine problems, such as an illuminated check engine light (CEL), reduced power (limp mode), hesitating or jerky acceleration, and sudden engine stalling. 

2017 Chrysler Pacifica

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is commonly regarded as one of the worst model years of the vehicle ever made with reliability and safety both taking a back seat in this minivan.

Similar to the 2018 model, the 2017 debut model year was met with praise from KBB and Car and Driver experts, who gave scores of 4.6/5 on 10/10 in light of its bevy of features and top-notch interior space.

But then again, KBB and Edmunds consumers beg to differ with their own scores of 3.7/5 and 73/100, respectively, both of which don’t even give justice to how bad it is once you clock over a few thousand miles.

Nearing 2,000 complaints on CarProblemZoo and hundreds more on CarComplaints and the NHTSA, the 2017 model is the most unreliable year for the van due to a high rate of engine, transmission, and electrical issues.

Owners of this model year frequently experience acceleration issues, overheating, and engine shutdowns while driving. Upon diagnosis, other problems start showing like engine misfire codes, a blown head gasket, and coolant leaking into the cylinders.

The transmission is also known to shift rather harshly and make rattling or clunking noises at times as if the gears are slipping or getting slammed into after each shift, which can make the vehicle unpredictable to drive.

Moreover, various issues plague the interior electronics, leading to a faulty infotainment system, random flashing lights, the parking brake not working, the rear sliding door not responding to controls, a defective backup camera, and even electrical fires.

2004/2005/2006 Chrysler Pacifica

200420052006 Chrysler Pacifica

The 2004, 2005, and 2006 Pacifica, which make up over half of the vehicle’s production run as a crossover, should be avoided by the potential few looking for a reliable unit of the original wagon-shaped concoction by Chrysler.

Aside from being part of a big sales flop, these three model years combined received the bulk of all complaints posted for the first Pacifica, which totaled almost 4,000 on CarProblemZoo by itself.

Even with all three years averaging over 4/5 with the available consumer data that they have on Edmunds, this is completely overshadowed by the mountain of reported engine, body, and suspension problems.

It’s not a coincidence that these are the top three problem categories for the 2004 to 2006 Pacifica, as rust and corrosion are an absolute nightmare for the entire undercarriage.

This means you can get anything from a cracked engine cradle, broken motor mounts, noisy suspension components, and severe steering wheel vibrations, all of which make these models the farthest thing from being road-worthy.

As it turns out, Chrysler did not apply enough subframe or engine cradle coating during production, and the worst thing about these kinds of issues is that you only ever realize how serious they are after getting under there or, worse, have the engine fall out.

Chrysler Pacifica Best and Worst Years Per Generation

Generation/Model YearsBest YearsWorst Years
1st Generation (Crossover) (2004 to 2008)
2004 2005 2006
2nd Generation (Minivan) (2017 to 2024/Present)2019 20202017 2018

Consumer/Expert Ratings for All Chrysler Pacifica Years

Chrysler Pacifica Model YearKBB Expert Rating Edmunds Consumer Rating Car and Driver RatingJ.D. Power Consumer Rating
20234.5/53.2/5 9.5/1071/100

What are the common problems of a Chrysler Pacifica?

What are the common problems of a Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica’s known engine and transmission problems are jerky acceleration, reduced power, hard shifting, and engine stalling. Many electrical issues also plague some model years.

Early Pacifica crossover models were susceptible to undercarriage rust due to inadequate protective coating.

Engine Problems

Engine-related problems are some of the most common complaints on earlier model years of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

Mostly reported in the 2017 and 2018 Pacifica models are engine issues such as the check engine light (CEL) turning on, jerky or hesitating acceleration, a reduction in power or “limp mode”, and overheating.

There are also cases of owners experiencing engine misfires and a blown head gasket as a result of coolant leaking into the cylinder heads, which can potentially lead to complete engine failure.

While some of these issues are attributed to an engine design flaw in the affected model years, they still go hand-in-hand with the electrical system, which is another known problematic area for the Pacifica. 

Transmission Problems

The Chrysler Pacifica’s transmission system is another source of problems that can make it quite unsafe and even undriveable.

As with engine problems, the 2017 and 2018 Pacifica models exhibit the most issues with the transmission, which include hard shifting, rattling and clunking sounds, slipping or slamming gears, and a “Service Transmission” warning.

Such issues have also been reported in newer model years, albeit to a lesser degree. Nevertheless, they can cause the transmission to fail if the symptoms are not caught earlier on.

It’s also worth noting that these sorts of transmission faults can also be electrical in nature, like in the case of the Pacifica Hybrid model that underwent a recall for its short-circuiting transmission wiring connector.

Electrical Problems

Thousands of reported electrical problems are a big reason why the Chrysler Pacifica gets a bad rep for reliability, especially since they’re also known to affect the vehicle’s driving performance in more severe cases.

Lots of owners complain about getting a “service charging system” warning message in the Pacifica Hybrid, though you can also equally get other warnings about the hybrid battery, gear shifter, power steering system, and stability control.

Then there’s the rest of the interior equipment, including lights turning on and off randomly, the horn blasting on its own, the infotainment system malfunctioning, the rear camera not working, and the sliding door controls not responding.

Several reports for the 2017 and 2018 Pacifica Hybrid also state that a fire broke out while the vehicle was off and charging, and despite the manufacturer issuing recall Z11, cases still persisted at an even higher rate afterward.

Undercarriage Rust Problems (Pacifica Crossover)

If you’re planning on buying the older Chrysler Pacifica wagon-slash-crossover model, then it’s best that you have its underside inspected for any buildup of corrosion, which it’s known to get plenty of.

Rust and corrosion are easily the Pacifica crossover’s top-reported drawback, with the 2004, 2005, and 2006 models having the most severe cases due to insufficient coating applied to the engine cradle or subframe.

Naturally, this would mean various components underneath are at the mercy of the elements, which often leads to damaged engine mounts, suspension squeaks and rattles, and a generally compromised and unsafe driving experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which year of the Chrysler Pacifica is most reliable?

Some of the most reliable Chrysler Pacifica years include the 2008 crossover model and the 2019 and 2020 minivan models owing to fewer major problems reported compared to other years.

J.D. Power rates these three model years 79/100, 70/100, and 75/100 in “Quality & Reliability”, respectively, which aren’t particularly impressive scores yet still respectable as far as Pacifica models are concerned.

What years of Chrysler Pacifica should I avoid?

The worst years of the Chrysler Pacifica you should avoid buying include the early 2004, 2005, and 2006 crossover models, and the 2017 and 2018 minivan models.

These Pacifica years not only possess the largest number of complaints, but they also involve many major components such as the engine, transmission, and many electronic safety features, making them more expensive and even dangerous to own.

How long do Chrysler Pacificas last?

The Chrysler Pacifica can last an average of 150,000 to 200,000 miles (241,000 to 322,000 km) or up to 15 years when regularly maintained.

Aside from maintenance, other factors that can affect your Chrysler Pacifica’s lifespan include individual driving habits, climate and road conditions in your area, and even the model year that you choose.

What is the problem with the Chrysler Pacifica?

Chrysler Pacificas are often associated with having many electrical problems, including a blank infotainment screen, a faulty rear camera, faulty rear sliding door controls, and even a hybrid battery pack known to cause fires.

The problems also extend to the engine and transmission, further introducing acceleration issues, power loss, jerky shifts, engine stalling, blown head gaskets, and overheating.

Even the older Pacifica crossover models suffered from very bad undercarriage rusting issues, translating to cracked subframes and a fear that the engine was going to swap itself out from underneath.