The biggest single reason I’ve been so infatuated with cars from my earliest memories is due to the fact that I was born into a family of major gearheads. My ancestors were from Germany, and were coachbuilders. I mean actual coach builders, because their work pre-dated the automobile. They emigrated to the U.S. around the turn of the century, and initially settled in Chicago. A short time later they learned there were a lot of Germans in Rock Island, Illinois, and they moved there. And we’re still here!
Awww yeah, Bark Rental Review back in the hizzy! I’m so relieved that I don’t have to try to take decent photos. And what better way to kick it off than with the lot poison that is currently making CDJR dealers all across America sick? That’s right, today we’re talking about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. I’ve had at least 3 different CDJR dealers in 3 different states tell me that the Pacifica is an overpriced floorplan anchor that they cannot move at any price.
“Nobody knows what the fuck a ‘Pacifica’ is,” they tell me. “I don’t know why they couldn’t just call it the Town & Country.” Then they mumble about the huge sticker price—although the Pacifica starts at around $28k, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one with a Monroney under 40 large on a lot—and they ramble on about the death of the Chrysler brand (another topic for another time).
However, they’re missing one thing about the Pacifica. It’s quite good. No, better than good. It’s brilliant.
“The minute I got into this car,” Danger Girl said, “my knees started hurting.” She didn’t have to explain why; thanks to sexual dimorphism, my 5’9″ wife and my 6’2″ self are both possessed of thirty-two-inch inseams, so we sit in a car the same way. And my knees were bent and splayed like I was trying to do an X-up on a BMX bike. The ridiculously short thigh bolsters in the Chrysler 200 might as well not exist. You’re fundamentally sitting on the floor, the way you would in a compact car. No surprise there, because the Chrysler 200 is a lengthened version of the compact Dodge Dart.
At an MSRP of $22,115, the LX (base) variant of the 200 competes heads-up against the Sonata I reviewed yesterday. But it’s not really that simple. To begin with, incentives on the Chrysler are omnipresent and remarkably strong; it’s entirely possible to get these cars for eighteen grand or even less. At that price point, the 200 isn’t competing with the Sonata; it’s competing with the Accent.
As we’ll see in a moment, the now-canceled barely-a-midsizer Chrysler has plenty of compelling virtues. It’s just that most of them aren’t present in this particular version of the car.
Do not attempt to adjust your television set. This is not a test. This is, instead, the first of what I hope will be many car reviews written by your humble author for this website. Most of them will be rental reviews, used-car reviews, and other oddballs.
This past weekend I rented a 2017 Sonata SE with just under 2500 miles on the clock and drove it from Powell, Ohio to Woodward, Pennsylvania, where my son and I spent the weekend riding at two of Camp Woodward’s indoor skateparks. It was a one-way trip; the back window shattered while we were in Woodward and we exchanged the car for a Chrysler 200, which I’ll also be reviewing here this week. I’ll be comparing both of these cars to the Honda Accord, which I feel to be the gold standard in the segment at the moment.
Alright, let’s put the record on the turntable and start it spinning…