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We’re looking at buying a recently used minivan and are down to the Pacifica and the 2015-2017 Honda Odyssey. I’ve done quite a bit of research but have always found the forums to be more reliable than a lot of other sources, so any input on the below would be appreciated (whether personal experience or what you’ve read or learned online):

  • How is the Pacifica’s reliability generally? Are there any known issues / weak points that I should be aware of going in? Almost all the reviews of the Pacifica are positive, but I’m concerned by the slew of ratings that rank it low on reliability (including Consumer Reports, which recently had it on the top 10 worst reliability). Since its only been out 2 years, there isn’t a lot of information on longer-term reliability prospects. I’ve never owned a car with this much tech and electronics in it, so I’m particularly worried about electronics (like adjustable seats, buttons, screens, etc.) having issues and being expensive to fix.
  • Related to the reliability question, any thoughts on getting a CPO vs. non-CPO Pacifica? Do you think it’s worth it? 3 months of non-powertrain warranty seems like pretty sparse coverage.
  • Any tips about features/options to definitely get vs. ones to avoid (or ones that have known issues)?
  • Lastly, it would be great to hear anyone’s thoughts about comparisons between the Pacifica and the 2015-2017 Odyssey, including reasons you chose the Pacifica over the Odyssey.
 

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We’re looking at buying a recently used minivan and are down to the Pacifica and the 2015-2017 Honda Odyssey. I’ve done quite a bit of research but have always found the forums to be more reliable than a lot of other sources, so any input on the below would be appreciated (whether personal experience or what you’ve read or learned online):

  • How is the Pacifica’s reliability generally? Are there any known issues / weak points that I should be aware of going in? Almost all the reviews of the Pacifica are positive, but I’m concerned by the slew of ratings that rank it low on reliability (including Consumer Reports, which recently had it on the top 10 worst reliability). Since its only been out 2 years, there isn’t a lot of information on longer-term reliability prospects. I’ve never owned a car with this much tech and electronics in it, so I’m particularly worried about electronics (like adjustable seats, buttons, screens, etc.) having issues and being expensive to fix.
  • Related to the reliability question, any thoughts on getting a CPO vs. non-CPO Pacifica? Do you think it’s worth it? 3 months of non-powertrain warranty seems like pretty sparse coverage.
  • Any tips about features/options to definitely get vs. ones to avoid (or ones that have known issues)?
  • Lastly, it would be great to hear anyone’s thoughts about comparisons between the Pacifica and the 2015-2017 Odyssey, including reasons you chose the Pacifica over the Odyssey.
You can use the "Search Community" feature to find out a lot of the info you are looking for. There are threads comparing the Pacifica and Odyssey.

I don't have any experience with an Odyssey.

I have a 2017 Pacifica that I like, but I have replaced the 12V battery and have had transmission software and other service appointments.

Assuming that you are planning to get a gas 2017+ Pacifica there are some things to consider:
Factor in the cost of an extended warranty for a Pacifica since there is so much electronic and even a used CPO van might not have issues fixed if the dealer didn't notice a problem on the test drive.

A bad 12V battery can give unusual symptoms (or not starting) so be sure that you get a new battery or at least know how old the battery is. Many OEM batteries haven't lasted two years and have frustrated forum members.
The transmission might have a 15 mph jolt than can sometimes be remedied by resetting the transmission adaptations or adjusting the clutch pack filling time (last attempt at a fix was at 45,000 miles).

Make a list of what is important to you and be sure the Pacifica you choose has those features. Don't assume all Pacificas have the advertised features.

Make sure you read brochures and understand the differences between a 2017 and 2018+ Pacifica touchscreen. The 2018+ have Android Auto/Apple Carplay, but the 2017s don't.

A 2017 Pacifica could have a build date of Feb. 2016 or later so some vans are over three years old. Look on the driver's door edge for manufacture date. Those with a manufacture date of Sept. 2016 and later also have a better safety rating since there were a couple modifications done in Aug. 2016. You can check the NHTSA website for more info.
 

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I'm biased of course, but get a pacifica hybrid, it's a game changer. Research it and you'll be hooked since there's no other alternative... yet.
 

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The Odyssey’s are very well running and reliable minivans even though the previous gen is little low on technology. It has very comfortable 2nd and third row seats compared to Pacifica. The previous gen is little noisy when compared to 2018 or later (newer model).
Your main consideration could be what do you want from a minivan? If you want versatility with regards to cargo space / seats then Pacifica is better. You can change the seating and cargo space within a few minutes without breaking a sweat. With Odyssey you may have to carry the heavy and bulky seats out of the car which means you won’t get to use them until you reinstall them back.
Do you have small kids in car seats? Check the videos for access to rear seats while there are car seat in 2nd row seats. The Pacifica has easy tilt feature which is a godsend for us and very easy to operate even for kids from third seat.
Odyssey has a smoother V6 engine (if that matters to you). I had enough Honda’s in my life and can vouch for that.
Pacifica is the newer architecture and should stay “current” for longer.
OP is comparing previous gen Odyssey to used Pacifica. I wouldn’t consider Pachy at this point since many of the Pachys which were traded off sooner had issues (of course most owners would like to keep the nicest Pachys to themselves ... :D).
With regards to reliability are you worried about mechanical/ power train issues or issues related to infotainment/ video screens? Some owners had persisting issues which had soured their experience. Most owners haven’t had any (the silent majority...). I myself have had my car for two years and nearly 24,000 trouble free miles.
Get a vehicle inspection done and take a mechanic/ friend with you to look into any used car you’re planning to buy. Forget about CPO (that is just another fancy name for a used car (with larger profits for dealership).
Getting an extended warranty would be more useful than a CPO as @SciTchr suggested.
 

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Interesting comparison question. Why not the 2018+ Odyssey?

I checked the IIHS website and the 2017- Odyssey performs well in crash testing, essentially the same as the Chrysler (both are very good). So it is acceptable from a safety perspective.

I see it as reliability versus refinement. The Chrysler will be very notably smoother and quieter than the Honda, with better technology. The previous gen Odyssey maintains the Honda reputation for lack of trouble. But it’s infotainment pretty much stunk when it was current, let alone now.

If considering the Chrysler I would suggest a 2018 or later model year for two reasons. 1) Chrysler made structural changes mid cycle in August 2016 to improve crash testing. 2) The 2017 generated more complaints about jerky transmission gear changes. Both these issues are addressed by the 2018 model year.

Anecdotally, my experience has been fine. I purchased a 2018 Touring L new. At 18 months and 18k miles now. It has been to the dealer one time for 45 minutes to update software for a recall. In terms of problems the ESS isn’t shutting the engine off at stoplights, but the car is otherwise unaffected. (I don’t care, so won’t bother to have it addressed until something else requires it to go in.) The infotainment has been slow to boot a couple of times - 30 seconds instead of 5. That’s it. It has been a much, much better experience than the one Odyssey which I purchased used.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Get a Sienna. If reliablility is your foremost criteria.
Seriously.
Thanks. I’d normally go with the Sienna over either the Odyssey or the Pacifica, but the Sienna doesn’t allow the seating configuration we need (we need two car seats side-by-side in the second row, with one in the middle, and the Sienna is inexplicably the only one of the three that doesn’t allow for a carseat in the middle seat of the second row).

You can use the "Search Community" feature to find out a lot of the info you are looking for. There are threads comparing the Pacifica and Odyssey.
Thanks! I looked at a few of them but many were outdated or didn’t focus on some of the things I was interested in. If there are particular threads you recommend I’d love to know.

Factor in the cost of an extended warranty for a Pacifica since there is so much electronic and even a used CPO van might not have issues fixed if the dealer didn't notice a problem on the test drive.
I’m already planning to get a CPO Pacifica for exactly this reason, but honestly Chrysler’s CPO program is embarrassing (only 3 months of comprehensive coverage, and still a $100 deductible). Does Chrysler offer other extended warranties you can buy? Or are there other extended warranties you meant or would recommend?

The transmission might have a 15 mph jolt than can sometimes be remedied by resetting the transmission adaptations or adjusting the clutch pack filling time (last attempt at a fix was at 45,000 miles).
Is this something I could easily identify if I test drove one and went up from 0 past 15 a few times?

Make sure you read brochures and understand the differences between a 2017 and 2018+ Pacifica touchscreen. The 2018+ have Android Auto/Apple Carplay, but the 2017s don't.
Thanks, very helpful. Any other differences you know of with regard to the touchscreen?

OP is comparing previous gen Odyssey to used Pacifica. I wouldn’t consider Pachy at this point since many of the Pachys which were traded off sooner had issues (of course most owners would like to keep the nicest Pachys to themselves ... ).
Can you elaborate on what you mean by not considering the Pacifica (I assume that’s what you mean by “Pachy”) and why?

With regards to reliability are you worried about mechanical/ power train issues or issues related to infotainment/ video screens? Some owners had persisting issues which had soured their experience. Most owners haven’t had any (the silent majority...). I myself have had my car for two years and nearly 24,000 trouble free miles.
Both, but mainly non-powertrain since I’d probably get CPO which would cover me for powertrain issues for a while. What types of “persisting issues” with the Pacifica have owners had? I’m definitely interested in learning about those.

Forget about CPO (that is just another fancy name for a used car (with larger profits for dealership).
Getting an extended warranty would be more useful than a CPO as @SciTchr suggested.
As noted above, would love to know what extended warranties you’d recommend. In my experience with prior cars, I’ve found buying extended warranties through third parties to be cumbersome, expensive and a hassle (particularly dealing with fighting with them over coverage, exclusions, etc.).
 

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I think that some models of the Sienna do have 8 passengers with a center seat. Go to the Toyota website or do an internet search. I don't have time to search for threads comparing a Pacifica to an Odyssey, but I know that there have been some.

You can read about the different touchscreen features on the UConnect website. There are various options. Some vans have navigation included (but maps aren't updated for free and they aren't real time). If you have a smart phone connected to the van using Android Auto/AppleCar Play, the phone screen will show up on the touchscreen and be in real time with slow traffic shown.

I think that it makes sense to check the manufacture date on the driver's door and get a van that is still under the manufacture's warranty (36mo/36,000 miles). Drivetrain warranty is 5 years/60,000 miles. Otherwise check about when an extended warranty can be purchased on a used van or take your chances.
One warranty search.
One place to check for extended warranties that aren't part of a CPO deal:
Zeigler Auto Group has Mopar plans that can be purchased online or on the phone even if you don't live in the same state. This is the same plan a Chrysler dealer will try to sell you but it may be discounted if you mention the forum and talk to Bob Cline.

Pay attention to the shifting of the transmission. Check transmission threads and you will read about some of the transmission issues some Pacificas have had. The 15 mph jolt doesn't happen on all vans and it is difficult to reproduce unless it occurs frequently. You might not notice it on a test drive. I found that the problem increased in frequency as time progressed until I was able to get a remedy that worked for awhile. In my van it tended to occur when accelerating slowly after a stop. I have been fortunate to have dealers who have reset the transmission adaptations and later tried resetting the clutch pack timing as directed by Chrysler. Each time the fix lasted about 10,000 miles before something needed done again. So far it has been over 3,000 miles since the clutch pack timing was adjusted and all is still well. I have 48,000+ miles on the van and enjoy driving it. Some people get really annoyed about the problem which is why I mentioned it.

@Bond007 was referring to a hybrid when he mentioned "pachy".

There are so many variations in what people want that only you can decide which features you are willing to pay extra for. Good luck in your search.
 

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Your best bet in an extended warranty is the factory Mopar warranty. I will second Science Teachers advice - buy a van that is still under the 3 year / 36k factory bumper to bumper warranty, even if just barely. As long as it is under that warranty, you can buy the Mopar extended warranty. Most folks can get it at a deep discount online (a few states prohibit this, notably Florida).

If considering a Sienna, please research the crash safety performance relative to the Pacifica and Odyssey before proceeding. Toyota has not redesigned the platform since 2003 so it is notably less protective of occupants than the other two. You can view crash test ratings and videos at the IIHS website.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think that some models of the Sienna do have 8 passengers with a center seat. Go to the Toyota website or do an internet search. I don't have time to search for threads comparing a Pacifica to an Odyssey, but I know that there have been some.
The Sienna does come in 8-passenger with a center seat, but the difference is that the Sienna's 2nd row center seat doesn't accommodate car seats (it has no latches), while the center seats in the Pacifica and the Odyssey do allow for latched car seats.

One place to check for extended warranties that aren't part of a CPO deal:
Zeigler Auto Group has Mopar plans that can be purchased online or on the phone even if you don't live in the same state. This is the same plan a Chrysler dealer will try to sell you but it may be discounted if you mention the forum and talk to Bob Cline.
Thanks so much for this tip. I just did quite a bit of research on this after your comment and it sounds like the best option. I'd been considering buying a CPO Pacifica or buying one from CarMax with a CarMax warranty, but the CPO warranty coverage is terrible (only 3 months of coverage) and the Chrysler extended warranty from Ziegler provides better coverage for longer and at a cheaper price than CarMax.

Would love to hear if anyone has had good or bad experiences with the used car Maximum Care extended warranty, including (i) whether people recommend getting the Maximum Care (most coverage, most expensive) or saving money and getting a lesser level of coverage to save the money and (ii) any issues people have experienced getting reimbursed for repairs (apparently you can take your car to any ASE mechanic for repairs but if it's not a Chrysler dealership, you need to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed, which I'm OK with as long as it's not a big hassle and they don't try and dispute things, etc.).

Couple other random questions if anyone has insight:
  • Which warranty covers paint blistering on the hoods? Has Chrysler implemented an extended warranty for that issue (beyond the 3 yr/36k mile factory warranty)?
  • When a Pacific is listed as just coming with a "tire service kit" and not an inflatable spare, I assume that means it's a can of patch? And it looks like if you want the inflatable spare it deletes the vacuum in the Limited?
  • It looks like if you want the front parking sensors, you have to get a car with the Advanced SafetyTec Group Package, is that right?
  • I had read that the Touring-L Plus and the Limited came standard with a rear-seat entertainment system, but as I've done more research it's unclear whether that's standard on either trim level or if it's just optional on both. What I'm seeing now is that there are two optional UConnect rear seat entertainment systems, one with HDMI and one without, but they're both optional on the Touring-L Plus and Limited (not standard). Is that right?
 

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Don't do it, especially not a 2017 Pacifica. Reasons why are well documented.

That generation Odyssey is pretty solid, thats an easy choice over a used 2017 Pacifica.
 

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If you're seriously considering an Odyssey, do a search on on Odyclub for common problems. Newer ones have demonstrated a lot of oil burning and broken motor mount problems (very expensive); these problems are caused by direct injection and cylinder deactivation respectively. And it should be noted that the Oddity has to have valve adjustments (solid lifters) and timing belt replacement around 100K, to the tune of $1500.
 

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Don't do it, especially not a 2017 Pacifica. Reasons why are well documented.

That generation Odyssey is pretty solid, thats an easy choice over a used 2017 Pacifica.
Thanks, I wouldn't do the 2017 but would instead do the 2018 Pacifica. As far as reasons why not to do the Pacifica, I don't mean to be obtuse here but I still have not seen a lot of specifics regarding why to avoid the Pacifica, other than just references to the fact that Chrysler generally isn't known for reliability. Don't get me wrong, that's a valid concern and is definitely factoring into the decision, but to the extent there are specific problems or reliability reasons to avoid the Pacifica, I would love to hear about and know them.

On the Odyssey, I've actually researched it quite a bit on the Honda and Odyssey-specific forums and honestly there are a lot more specific and known issues with the Odyssey than I'm seeing on the Pacifica. Not saying it's overall less reliable than the Pacifica, but with the Odyssey people are able to point to several major and known weak points on it, unlike with the Pacifica. The people on the Odyssey forums generally say "avoid the Pacifica, get the Odyssey", but then they proceed to tell me that the Odyssey is only reliable if I deactivate certain systems, change transmission fluids every 5-10k miles, install certain transmission coolers and monitoring systems, swap out OEM brakes for other brakes, etc., and oh by the way I should learn to do all this myself and be prepared to do it regularly otherwise it's very expensive. Not a ringing endorsement.
 

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Thanks, I wouldn't do the 2017 but would instead do the 2018 Pacifica. As far as reasons why not to do the Pacifica, I don't mean to be obtuse here but I still have not seen a lot of specifics regarding why to avoid the Pacifica, other than just references to the fact that Chrysler generally isn't known for reliability. Don't get me wrong, that's a valid concern and is definitely factoring into the decision, but to the extent there are specific problems or reliability reasons to avoid the Pacifica, I would love to hear about and know them.

On the Odyssey, I've actually researched it quite a bit on the Honda and Odyssey-specific forums and honestly there are a lot more specific and known issues with the Odyssey than I'm seeing on the Pacifica. Not saying it's overall less reliable than the Pacifica, but with the Odyssey people are able to point to several major and known weak points on it, unlike with the Pacifica. The people on the Odyssey forums generally say "avoid the Pacifica, get the Odyssey", but then they proceed to tell me that the Odyssey is only reliable if I deactivate certain systems, change transmission fluids every 5-10k miles, install certain transmission coolers and monitoring systems, swap out OEM brakes for other brakes, etc., and oh by the way I should learn to do all this myself and be prepared to do it regularly otherwise it's very expensive. Not a ringing endorsement.
Just remember that you are buying a computer on wheels and that you may have to visit the dealer a few times. Many people expect to buy a new vehicle and not have any problems for a few years because it is new. That may have been true in the past with mechanical vehicles, but it seems like those days are gone. For example, the times I have taken my van in for transmission issues the solution (although the fix lasted 10,000-15,000 miles) was something related to software and needed looked at again. No transmission parts were replaced. If the 12V battery gets low or dies, the van may give unusual system messages since the computer is a little confused and doesn't think things work without energy. So check or jumpstart the 12V battery before towing a Pacifica.

I can't imagine buying an Odyssey if I had to do the things you mentioned that those forum members suggested.

Sometimes people buy a vehicle for emotional reasons despite some of the logical factors. They like how it looks, drives, and feels to them. Since I keep vehicles a long time, those are also important factors to me.

Good luck in your search.
 

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Thanks, I wouldn't do the 2017 but would instead do the 2018 Pacifica. As far as reasons why not to do the Pacifica, I don't mean to be obtuse here but I still have not seen a lot of specifics regarding why to avoid the Pacifica, other than just references to the fact that Chrysler generally isn't known for reliability. Don't get me wrong, that's a valid concern and is definitely factoring into the decision, but to the extent there are specific problems or reliability reasons to avoid the Pacifica, I would love to hear about and know them.

On the Odyssey, I've actually researched it quite a bit on the Honda and Odyssey-specific forums and honestly there are a lot more specific and known issues with the Odyssey than I'm seeing on the Pacifica. Not saying it's overall less reliable than the Pacifica, but with the Odyssey people are able to point to several major and known weak points on it, unlike with the Pacifica. The people on the Odyssey forums generally say "avoid the Pacifica, get the Odyssey", but then they proceed to tell me that the Odyssey is only reliable if I deactivate certain systems, change transmission fluids every 5-10k miles, install certain transmission coolers and monitoring systems, swap out OEM brakes for other brakes, etc., and oh by the way I should learn to do all this myself and be prepared to do it regularly otherwise it's very expensive. Not a ringing endorsement.
You should spend some time reading the forums. All of the reasons are here and well documented. Lots of infotainment issues, stalling issues, paint peeling off the hoods, sliding doors binding and even falling off the vehicle. Mine has suspension knocks that need to be addressed, and my infotainment system has been replaced twice and STILL freezes. My doors will open when locked and the key isnt on my person and simply set the alarm off. The Odyssey isn't great either, but better than the Pacifica. If reliability is a big issue for you theres really only one minivan option, the Sienna.

Mine has 22k miles on it and has been off the road being repaired 6 weeks out of the 24 months I've owned it. Needs to go back into the shop too. Its the most disappointing vehicle I've ever owned.
 

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" Its the most disappointing vehicle I've ever owned. "
I know it is not true for all, but it is my experience as well. Actually, not quite: I owned a 1971 Saab 96 that was worse than the Pacifica I have now. But that was almost 50 years ago, and they are out of business.
I've had scores of cars, trucks and sun's. This is the worst since the Saab, as far as reliability and shop time.
As they say, YMMV.
 

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Thanks, I wouldn't do the 2017 but would instead do the 2018 Pacifica. As far as reasons why not to do the Pacifica, I don't mean to be obtuse here but I still have not seen a lot of specifics regarding why to avoid the Pacifica, other than just references to the fact that Chrysler generally isn't known for reliability. Don't get me wrong, that's a valid concern and is definitely factoring into the decision, but to the extent there are specific problems or reliability reasons to avoid the Pacifica, I would love to hear about and know them.

On the Odyssey, I've actually researched it quite a bit on the Honda and Odyssey-specific forums and honestly there are a lot more specific and known issues with the Odyssey than I'm seeing on the Pacifica. Not saying it's overall less reliable than the Pacifica, but with the Odyssey people are able to point to several major and known weak points on it, unlike with the Pacifica. The people on the Odyssey forums generally say "avoid the Pacifica, get the Odyssey", but then they proceed to tell me that the Odyssey is only reliable if I deactivate certain systems, change transmission fluids every 5-10k miles, install certain transmission coolers and monitoring systems, swap out OEM brakes for other brakes, etc., and oh by the way I should learn to do all this myself and be prepared to do it regularly otherwise it's very expensive. Not a ringing endorsement.
That is an interesting perspective. At least you have to give Honda credit for being consistent and predictable.

The Pacifica has certainly had its warts. Stalling was endemic early on. But it appears to be fixed now between an ECU update and the ground strap recall. I can’t remember the last time someone new posted about a non-hybrid stalling.

Harsh transmission shifts are more common, and still occur - mostly on 2017 models. You don’t see too much of this on 2018 onward. My own 2018 has done it perhaps once in 18 months and 18K miles. And it wasn’t that big a deal, not like folks describe. While annoying, this doesn’t affect your ability to drive the vehicle.

The engine stop/start system doesn’t work very well. Mine has been “charging battery” for the last 9 or 10 months - maybe it will finish soon? :) But hasn’t affected the car at all - it always starts, no error lights on dash, nothing. But other folks have had one of the batteries die and take the other with it, or received the yellow stop/start warning light on the dash.

Dead batteries are a bigger problem. They just don’t seem to last very long. Perhaps Chrysler sources poor quality batteries. But I’ll note this seems endemic on newer cars. Plenty of issues also on other forums I frequent, including Ford Focus ST, Odyclub (new generation), and especially Subaru Outback.

I have been impressed with my Pacifica. I like it a **** of a lot better than our Outback, which cost more, has been far less reliable, is uncomfortable and noisy, and has so many stupid design choices it drives me crazy. It seems sometimes the bad stuff is good, and the good stuff is bad.
 

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That's unfortunate for you, but it doesn't reflect the experiences of most owners.
Are we reading the same forum and looking at the same reliability data from every source? Its the case for a whole lot more owners than you'd like to think.

Bottom line is, this is just not a consistently reliable vehicle...and people shopping for them need to know that. You have a much higher likelihood of having issues if you buy this vehicle than other options.
 
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