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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I've been looking at this car for several months, test driven a couple of times, read every expert and owner review I can find online, studied Consumer Reports and have been reading this forum. I feel very educated and like the car very much but am hesitant over one issue, reliability, and have seen the good and the bad discussed. Consumer Reports ranks this vehicle as a 1 out of 5 in reliability and for the record the Honda Odyssey is also a 1 and ranked lower than the Pacifica overall. Ok, so back to the question, should I leave my overly reliable Toyota Venza (2010 with 72k miles) and take the plunge? The Pacifica I have in mind is a 2018, limited, certified pre-owned (so comes with a little longer warranty), non-hybrid. Any input from real owners would be greatly appreciated. P.S. I am an engineer so put a lot of thought into any decision and benefits have to outway risks. :)
 

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The first question that I would ask is whether you need a new vehicle. In my opinion, there is still a lot of life left in your Venza, but you may know of other issues with it that you didn't write about. Or there may be other reasons like the size that your Venza no longer serves you well. I think you have the luxury to wait. Maybe you have a need, but it sounds like this is a want.

FCA doesn't have a great reputation, but it doesn't mean that every car fails either. You tend to hear about people complaining on boards (mostly about real items) rather than boring statements about driving 10 miles to store without incident, so keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that FCA does improve their vehicles. The current Jeep Cherokee had a terrible transmission for the first few years. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but they have since resolved that, and it is a fine vehicle, and yet that historical ugly spot still pulls it down in reliability rating and perception. This is the reason that although I needed a vehicle, I waited for a 2019. Was that long enough, only time will tell. If you still want to proceed, you can mitigate your worries with a warranty, but then figure that into the cost.

On the flip side, the Pacifica is a really nice vehicle. I am not sure how to explain it, but it just feels like they got it right in terms of drive, usability, styling, comfort, luxury feel, etc. I've only had mine a week, so it still has that new car excitement, but you'll hear the same thoughts from owners who have had theirs a while. Consider that if you visit other boards, you'll hear of problems with those vehicles too.
 

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Welcome aboard! You are correct to be concerned about early builds of any new generation vehicle, whether it be Honda, Chrysler, GM, Ford, Nissan or whoever. Our 2018 Pacifica Touring L+ is our fifth Chrysler minivan. We've learned over the years to wait at least two years after the next generation is released before buying that model just so they can get the early build bugs out. In this case, serious production of the 2017 Pacifica actually started in March of 2016. We ordered ours in April of 2018. To date it has been flawless. The only time back to the dealer was for a cruise control recall notice (our vehicle did not exhibit the symptoms noted in the recall).

The only thing I might ask is if you have considered buying new. With our Costco Auto Program discount, manufacturer and dealer incentives, and financing promotions, ours came in $8k under sticker. Numerous others on this forum have reported similar results.
 

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Considering that your Toyota Venza has a lot of life in it and has been reliable, does the Pacifica offer things you want/need that the Venza does not (size, versatility, safety features, connectivity, ect.). If the Venza meets all your needs, I would wait until it does not or repairs become costly.

Two things to think about (among all the others that you are wrestling with):

The Toyota Sienna is out dated relative to its competitors. I don't follow that model but I expect it is due for a major redesign. If it is, you may want to wait (assuming you are in no hurry for a mini van) to see what they come up with. Toyota is not immune to new model gremlins so its reliability may suffer a bit as Honda has. Note that it seems that most, if not all, manufacturer's are having recalls for operational issues related to software, sensors and/or computer control modules. I think that will be the norm in the future. Vehicles today are complex electronic systems that also have a mechanical drive system.

Some Pacificas have had problems including chronic ones that defy resolution. Most are relatively trouble free. My experience has been great but I would be cautious about buying a used Pacifica. Why is a 1 year old 2018 on the used car market? Was it one of the Pacificas with chronic problems that the original owner dumped out of frustration. Make sure you know the history of the used Pacifica before buying. A warranty is great but it does nothing for being without the vehicle you paid for and the inconvenience of having it in the shop or driving an unreliable van.

Good luck.
 

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Welcome!

You do make good choices. The Venza is a really nice vehicle. I can't figure out why Toyota quit making them.

The Windsor (Ontario) factory shut down for a couple of weeks in late December 2017 to implement some changes to the 2018 Pacifica, supposedly to solve some issues. Mine (also a Limited) was built in January 2018, and has been close to perfect. It's been on two road trips, and lots of around town chores. You might want to make sure it was actually built in 2018. That info is on one of the door jamb stickers.

Are you being offered a fantastic deal on the used one? I'm kind of with PMF above who suggested you might consider a new one. Email the Internet Sales Manager at a bunch of dealers requesting an out the door price on a Limited exactly as you want it.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Let me clarify...

Wow, I came to the right place for input. Thank you! Everyone has brought up excellent points and things that I have been thinking about and some that I have yet to think about. My Venza is a great car and has had nothing but normal maintenance issues (brakes, tires, oil, etc.) while owning for the past 6.5 years...I bought it used as well and certified by Toyota in 2012. I guess I should be very appreciative that it has served me well. So what leads me to a minivan is my kids (2 kids - 10 yrs and 8 yrs olds) and two dogs (40 lbs each) and that we all like to travel together. It's not actually the Venza that I want to replace, it's my husband's 2005 MDX which he will not hear of getting rid of. In his defense, the MDX has been a great car without issues as well but is super low on technology given the age. So that leaves us with a Venza (no third row) and an older model MDX (3rd row SUV)...and I would like to take my kids and their friends around town, as needed. I feel like I don't ask to take other people's children with us because the Venza doesn't have a third row. Yes, I could and maybe should wait until one of our cars needs to be replaced, but I'm thinking the kids will be 2 years older and the need for a minivan maybe less by then, not really sure? But everyone is 100% correct that I am in no real rush so that gives me lots of time to debate...lol! (On a side note, when I test drove the Odyssey which neither of us were impressed with, the salesman looked at my Venza and was like wow, that is a really nice car, what size tires are those, etc...) Overall, the Pacifica is a smoother, quieter, better ride than the Venza.
 

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It seems that you simply need to replace your existing vehicle for more utility and function which is fine.
Would you care to share if you were offered a smoking hot deal on a used one, I would be wary of buying a used one at present since the new cars are offered with huge discounts (since the resale value is not very good). Where are you geographically located, if you have a particular feature set / color options in mind, the forum members can help you locate the best deal for you as well.
Good luck in your quest for Pacifica. I’ve had my 18 Limited since last November and it has been flawless so far (10k Miles), one of the best and most satisfying cars I’ve ever owned.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Discussion Starter #8
That's a great summary, yes, I would like a little more function and features. We have toyed with getting a minivan for the past decade, since my daughter was born, and opted for the 3rd row SUV instead. The Pacifica is one of the first minivans that I could imagine driving based on the interior and exterior. I am in Atlanta so rather large City with lots of dealers to choose from. I keep seeing limited models show up, mostly from rental use, in the 16 to 20k mile range for between $33k to $35k. If anyone has experience with purchasing a previous rental, that would be great, advice, good or bad. Looking for red, black interior, limited edition for the sunroof, DVD and nicer wheels. How does a new car compared to this?
 

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My best guess for a new 2018 Limited with your requested feature set will run you in the 41-44k price range in the SE region.

I'm an engineer as well so I tend to overthink/worry as well, especially about the questionable reliability. I ended up getting an extended warranty from the dealer which covered 10yr/125k miles for just under $2k and included paintless dent removal for 3yr/40k miles. For me it was worth the piece of mind especially since we plan to keep the car for a while and these cars have so many gizmos/gadgets to potentially fail.

We've had our 2018 Limited for about two months and love it and haven't regretted the purchase one bit. We were in the same boat wanting a 3 row SUV or van and found that you can't beat the value of the Pacifica. Especially if you swing for a limited, they have all the same features as 3 row luxury SUVs that cost $50-70k and the Pacifica has way more room (plus sliding doors!!)

Hope that helps and good luck with your decision!
 

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I know what you mean by sitting on the fence.
My choices are between the Pacifica and the Toyota Sienna. I had a Sienna years ago and it was very reliable. I really like the new Pacifica but the reliability issues are giving me pause.
 

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As someone who has owned many Toyota/Lexus products, and also now 3 Chrysler products, the reliability is a big concern.

Our Pacifica has been problematic mainly in that the nav screen randomly freezes, and when it does this all functions contained within that are lost. Its been back three times, and the whole system has been replaced but it still does it...although its less frequently. We've had other issues as well, but thats the big one that impacts its function for us. The rear seat entertainment is also very glitchy, and thats a constant source of frustration for my wife.

So, while we like the Pacifica a lot, overall we're not satisfied with our ownership of it.

Like I said, I've had three Chrysler products. 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. The 2011 Jeep was problematic like our Pacifica, but I liked that vehicle so much I rolled the dice and tried another one...and the 2014 was great. I don't like the Pacifica enough to roll the dice on another one.

The main thing as a Toyota owner you have to get used to is that Toyota builds very consistent quality vehicles...Chrysler doesnt. They are very hit or miss, and I've found Fromm my ownership and membership here and on the Jeep forum that you tend to see perfect ones...and really problematic ones without much in between.

So the question is...do you like the vehicle enough to roll the dice? I wouldnt buy the used one. I'd get a 2018 for sure...or even a 2019.
 
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We still love our pacifica and have no complaints. It's the only van out there for us. People will have issues with any vehicle from time to time. If you get the theater option - it's an impressive technology and our kids love it. I work and use lots of technology and in general it holds true that if you pack in lots of features, especially things nobody else does, you're pushing limits and will have some quirks/hiccups along the way. Those are the issues I see folks having here. If you want a less capable/potentially more stable AV system, don't get the theater or get another vehicle. I'd buy the same van again without hesitation. No other van had the looks, practicality and technology of the pacifica that we wanted.

That said, with any vehicle with so much sensors/technology/motorized doors, etc. I did get the lifetime protection plan which was a great deal compared to other manufacturers I compared.

I keep vehicles on avg 15 yrs and I plan to do the same with this van (my parents kept their caravan for 18yrs btw). We've already taken it on 3 long roadtrips (no issues). Yes I proactively hook it up to a battery charger once in awhile since it does seem to have a parasitic power draw if left off for longer periods - but that's a minor inconvenience and I'm sure the engineers will fix in 2019 or similar...maybe even an OTA software update.

Good luck with your choice. I don't think there's a "bad" van out there today, but certainly better ones than others and if you're spending 40k or more, you want the right one for you.

Sidenote - we just bought a kia stinger and the salesman (Kia) bought a pacifica! (despite having employee discounts available from Kia on sedonas)
 
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People will have issues with any vehicle from time to time.
Its important to be honest lol.

This vehicle has widespread problems that are pretty common. Its well documented here on this site and elsewhere. Theres a reason why they are rated so low (worst in the industry) when it comes to initial quality, dependability, are not recommended by places like CR, etc.

Are there many people out there with no problems? Sure. Are there many people out there with problems? Yes. I myself know two people who had to get rid of their Pacificas because of issues and I may still become the third one. These issues are not "common to any vehicle", and you can absolutely buy other vehicles where your likelihood of experiencing problems like this is much lower.

If you get the theater option - it's an impressive technology and our kids love it. I work and use lots of technology and in general it holds true that if you pack in lots of features, especially things nobody else does, you're pushing limits and will have some quirks/hiccups along the way. Those are the issues I see folks having here. If you want a less capable/potentially more stable AV system, don't get the theater or get another vehicle. I'd buy the same van again without hesitation. No other van had the looks, practicality and technology of the pacifica that we wanted.
Sorry, it's 2018. There is no reason why Chrysler can't design a feature packed entertainment system that also works well without bugs. What is it specifically that the Chrysler system does that nobody else does? I can't think of one thing. Its a screen that plays movies from BlueRays, USB sticks, HDMI ports, and it has IR wireless headphones. Its not rocket science. The system is just poorly designed in many ways and its buggy, which keeps it from functioning AT ALL for us probably 30% of the time. When you drive off with two screaming 3 year olds because you can't get their movie to play...you hate your Pacifica a little more every time trust me.

It does a LOT of things really well, but it has several common serious problems, and in general build quality is not great. Technology has a lot of glitches and problems.

Yes I proactively hook it up to a battery charger once in awhile since it does seem to have a parasitic power draw if left off for longer periods - but that's a minor inconvenience and I'm sure the engineers will fix in 2019 or similar...maybe even an OTA software update.
What?!? Its a minor inconvenience to have to hook your modern $50,000 van up to a batter charger because if you don't it will go dead if it sits for a little while? Thats not a normal problem to have, and is an inexcusable issue in a modern vehicle of this caliber. My van sits for weeks when we travel and doesn't have this issue. Thats absurd.

Sidenote - we just bought a kia stinger and the salesman (Kia) bought a pacifica! (despite having employee discounts available from Kia on sedonas)
Had a Sedona before the Pacifica. Overall the Pacifica is better designed, nicer to drive, has better features, etc. The Sedona however was better built, less problematic. My wife would trade the Pacifica back in for another Sedona in a heartbeat. She deals with the issues everyday and she's come to really dislike it.

What you find is some people just want so badly to be happy with their purchase and to validate their purchase they put up with a lot. I would never put up with a new vehicle needing to be hooked up to a battery charger to avoid going dead when parked. Its not a classic old Mustang or something...its a family appliance...most important thing is that it run and work.

The issue is, right now with minivans theres no one obvious choice. Every choice has big drawbacks, The Pacifica is a great package, but reliability is a huge concern. The Odyssey is expensive, and they have made some very strange decontenting choices such as the lack of a surround view camera, and the inexplicable removal of the headliner air vents in the second row, and the Sienna while very reliable is old and outdated.
 

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First let me say I love my Pacifica and would buy it again in a heartbeat. I did a ridiculous amounts of research beforehand and overall am happy with my decision (I’ve had my 2018 gas limited about a year now).

There is one area that I completely overlooked in all my research though, how absolutely horrid the Chrysler dealer network is for service. I’d never owned a domestic car before. I wasn’t expecting it to live up to the levels of Audi and Acura that I’d been used to but I thought it’d be closed to what I’d gone through with Honda and Toyota in prior cars.

It was a rude awakening the first issue I had. My 3rd row got stuck folding and refused to go up or down rendering the entire area useless. Called to make an appointment expecting maybe a day or two wait. I had to call 3 different dealers before I could find something within 2 weeks.

Since then I’ve had issues I’ve had to leave the car at the dealer. While they gave me a rental car, days passed before my car was even looked at (what’s the point of an appointment if they don’t have people free to work on your car at the time???). It’s just very frustrating every time you need to go in for service, and you will need to go in for service.

My original thoughts were I’d be well covered since I purchased the lifetime warranty. That’s still the case to some degree now I just better realize the extra cost in time and frustration I’ll have to deal with any time I use it.
 

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Some advice, based on hunches, research, self-described old age wisdom, prejudices, and your desire to minimize your troubles. >:)

Get the Limited without the entertainment package. That thing has been really troublesome. Encourage your kids to observe, play counting games, and other pastimes that previous generations of road traveling families enjoyed. It will stretch their minds far more that staring at a video screen. They get enough video at home. Make traveling a different experience. Lifetime memories there; I know, first hand.

Get a late build 2018 or 2019 gas model. Don't even think about the hybrid. It's less than 5% of Chrysler's market, and appears to be well over 50% of the problems reported here recently (early gas models had problems that seem to be mostly solved). With less that 5% of sales, it stands to reason that most dealers are not willing to give the resources needed to properly service them.

I'm sure there are a few really good and a few really bad Chrysler dealers around Atlanta. Use the Internet, and sort them out.
 
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There is one area that I completely overlooked in all my research though, how absolutely horrid the Chrysler dealer network is for service. I’d never owned a domestic car before. I wasn’t expecting it to live up to the levels of Audi and Acura that I’d been used to but I thought it’d be closed to what I’d gone through with Honda and Toyota in prior cars.
Really depends more on the individual dealer vs what company the franchise services. The dealer has been a bright spot in my situation, they seem to genuinely care about solving the issue, they never argue with me about things being "normal" when they aren't, my service rep gave me his personal cell phone...really happy with the dealer.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
In summary...

Alright, I have read and reread all of the posts and here is a short summary:
-No perfect minivan on the market at the moment, lots new car issues for Chrysler and Honda, and old car issues for Toyota.
-New cars are going through growing pains but mostly sounds like it is from complicated electronic systems so this is not limited to just minivans. Yes, I have seen this with just about all manufacturers on numerous car models.
-New cars get better over time, jump on board a few years into a new model. I saw a few recommendations for late 2018 and 2019 Pacificas. Makes complete sense.
-Consider an extended warranty for peace of mind.
-Be careful purchasing a used Pacifica and seriously check out the car's history making sure there isn't a reason it's turning up used so quickly
-Consider getting a Limited without the entertainment unit to avoid some potential headaches. This is an interesting recommendation and something to consider. For anyone facing this issue, a really inexpensive solution we found was ordering ipad/tablet holders for our existing car headrests. For about $12 a holder, with an existing ipad, this was a good deal on a recent road trip and my kids could watch movies and play their games, complete with streaming wi-fi from our cell phones.
-Don't expect great service from Chrysler. No worries, I didn't, Toyota has already taught me that and was a harsh reality coming from Infiniti and Acura service where we got loaners if they kept it more than an hour with plush waiting rooms, coffee stations, etc. There are no luxury brand minivans...sadly...come on Lexus...so as my husband notes, you buy a minivan for practicality.
-Continue to love my Venza (which I do) and maybe, just maybe the Pacifica will be perfect down the road...holding out I guess for the 2020! I passed two Pacificas on a walk the other morning and sighed...it is a great looking car and I completely understand the allure. :)

Should anything happen and I jump onboard...I will post an update.
 

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I'm on the verge of getting a Pacifica Hybrid after three Siennas, all of which have been the finest built vehicles I've owned... and I've owned something like 29. As you know, from Toyota reliability, the Venza and Sienna are top for dependability. If you're looking for 7 seats, and you're Toyota loyal, a certified Sienna is hard to beat. Yes, this model has been out a while but it's sleek, great looking and our 2011 has 135,000 miles with the most flawless record ever. If it's a thought, I'd not get a Sienna older than 2018, to be sure it's got the latest safety tech, which became standard in '18.

The ONLY reason I'm considering the Pacifica HYBRID is for that second word in its name. That 29-34 miles of electric energy is hard to resist. I drive a lot so it will be legit savings.. plus the fat writeoffs and credits as incentives... I'll pay $10,000 less than sticker before I even negotiate with the dealer. So, if the Pacifica is your choice, consider the hybrid. It's pretty phenomenal, plus it gets better mpg even if you don't plug it in, than any other minivan. I too am legitimately contemplative of "braving" a Chrysler after the Toyotas but heck we're into the third year, it's got a warranty and I've got two other vehicles and many owners have great things to say.
 

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I'm on the verge of getting a Pacifica Hybrid after three Siennas.
Do it. My family is all Toyotas (tons of RAV4s, a couple of Siennas, couple Camrys), but I've strayed from the path. My first car was a Tacoma, then a Camry, then a VW Passat, Hyundai Sonata, now a Toyota Prius Prime. My wife has been a Camry, Suzuki Kizashi, Ford Focus EV, now Pacifica Hybrid. They've been all pretty reliable, the most being the Focus EV. With newer technology, you'll see more problems with the 12V battery and infotainment system so that's probably bringing down the reliability ratings. I think with most cars, it's luck of the draw. Some people have problems, some don't. Most people don't have problems so they don't post in forums, and those that do post on forums. That's probably why you see so many complaints on here.


The ability to plug in is awesome, it saves money, it drives better in EV mode. I only pay 7.5 cents per kWh so it only costs $1 to drive 30 miles. It works out great if you stop at home multiple times a day. If you haven't done so, go and test drive one (ask them to charge it first) and you'll be hooked.
 
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