Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Fun 2 Drive Ratio

In 2000, Chrysler introduced the PT Cruiser, a retro-styled car that revolutionized the small-vehicle market. Largely, it was the answer to the question no one asked, but it did offer competition to the likes of the VW Beetle.

For a second time, Chrysler is offering an answer to a question no one asked by producing what the company is calling a Sports Tourer. The Pacifica has the ground clearance of an SUV, but not the bulk. It has room to seat six adults comfortably while providing the driver with a commanding view of the road. The Pacifica looks a whole lot like a wagon with a higher ground clearance, or a minivan with a lowered roofline. In fact, it is both.

The truth of the matter is, since the merger of Daimler-Benz (Mercedes Benz) and the Chrysler Corporation in November 1998, the Chrysler marquee has been the new product test badge, which means any new and daring product will be tested under the Chrysler name, preventing Mercedes from tarnishing its name in case the product fails. The Pacifica is the first such vehicle.

The Mercedes version (dubbed the GST for Grand Sports Tourer) is due in the fall, depending on the success of the Pacifica. It is meant to take on Audi’s A6 AllRoad and Volvo’s XC70 Cross Country. It is believed that these wagon/SUV crossovers will dominate in years to come,but current sales are very poor. The Pacifica is an outstanding vehicle for a Chrysler, thanks to Mercedes Benz. Although powered by Chrysler’s ubiquitous 3.5L V6, think of the Pacifica as having Mercedes qualities and an American heart.

The interior features parts directly out of previous Benzes, like the seats from the out going S-class. The instrument cluster is driver-oriented, including a navigation system built into the speedometer area to minimize driver distraction.

This is the nicest new Chrysler you can buy as far as interior appointments are concerned. If this is the sort of influence Mercedes is going to have on all Chryslers, then the merger was a good idea for Chrysler. Expect the Pacifica in showrooms later this month.

Contact Andrew Popoolaat