The Worst Chrysler Pacifica Model Year You Should Never Buy

Minivans might be waning, but the Chrysler Pacifica remains a solid pick for large families. Its interior is spacious enough for all passengers, and its Stow ‘n Go seating makes packing cargo a cinch. It also has more exciting road manners than many of its rivals, available all-wheel drive, and even a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid version.

Though most critics and consumers love their Pacificas, they often aren’t the most reliable vehicles. And one model is arguably the worst of them all. Here’s what you should know if you’re shopping for a used Chrysler Pacifica.

The problematic 2017 Chrysler Pacifica at a glance

2017 Chrysler Pacifica eHybrid on display at the 109th Annual Chicago Auto Show in February 2017
2017 Chrysler Pacifica | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

You can find a used 2017 Pacifica for just under $20,000. It has the same powertrain as the most recent model: a 287-hp V6 with a nine-speed automatic transmission. However, AWD wasn’t available for this model year.

Consumer Reports says this 2017 Pacifica handles well for a vehicle its size, and the ride feels compliant. It also brakes quickly, though CR’s testers said the headlights aren’t very bright. The interior materials are a nice mix of upscale and durable, enough to withstand years of children’s grubby fingers.

But that’s where the positives end.

What’s wrong with the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica?

Although Consumer Reports’ testers liked driving the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, the engine is still prone to complaints when pushed too hard. CR also criticized the safety features reserved for higher trims and below-average fuel economy. Though the available PHEV is easier on gas, it loses the handy Stow ‘n Go seats.

Additionally, the 2017 Pacifica got the lowest reliability rating out of a scale of 1 to 5. Many drivers experienced an electronic gear shifter malfunction. The shifter was prone to accelerating violently at random, often without any warning lights. Sometimes the transmission works normally for many miles only to encounter problems again.

CashCarsBuyer says this problem starts early for the 2017 Pacifica, around 23,000 miles. However, one CR survey shows a driver experienced severely rough shifting at only 900 miles. To repair the transmission, owners usually have to spend around $3,000.

Additionally, the NHTSA had numerous complaints about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica’s engine. These issues range from a loss of power to violent shaking, causing a few crashes. This issue generally appears at around 20,000 miles.

Body integrity is also a problem for the 2017 Pacifica, with drivers reporting major water leaks. Other drivers said their minivan’s door panels were misaligned, resulting in faulty door sensors. Some owners still experienced excessive water and air leaking even after they had replaced the doors.

In addition, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica has had 12 recalls, with the most widespread one including nearly 5 million units. Sometimes, drivers couldn’t turn off the cruise control, even when they hit the brakes to manually reset it.

The 2017 model also had a recall concerning stalling engines. Two other recalls concerned the seatbelts failing in both rear rows. Fortunately, these problems affected only a relatively small number of vehicles.

Other problematic model years

CashCarsBuyer also recommends avoiding the 2007 Chrysler minivan, then known as the Town & Country. Around 115,000 miles, the engine is likely to experience stalling problems and cost around $1,600 to fix. The engine often becomes loose or cracked before eventually shutting down while the car is in motion.

The 2006 model also isn’t the safest, thanks to numerous structural issues. Fortunately, Chrysler seems to have resolved most of the minivan’s biggest problems in recent years. But CR says the 2018 Pacifica isn’t very reliable and has many recalls, so purchase with caution.

RELATED: Chrysler Pacifica History: From Crossover to Best-Selling Minivan