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Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica -- People Haulers, Plus

by Jim Bray,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

People hauling. It's one of the primary uses for any vehicle, but as we see by the wide variety of vehicles on the road today, there's an amazing number of ways to skin that particular cat.

Chrysler's Pacifica Notion
by Rod Cleaver
Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Since its inception in 1984, the Dodge Caravan has been at or near the forefront of the minivan market both in terms of actual sales and innovation. With the introduction of Stow’n Go seating in the 2005 Grand Caravan, DaimlerChrysler hopes to maintain its position atop the Canadian minivan sales pyramid.

Aside from some minor exterior tweaks, the Stow’n Go seating arrangement was the main change for the Grand Caravan for 2005. DaimlerChrysler have stated that the cost to engineer the folding seat arrangement topped out at $500 million dollars.

The Caravan has a simple yet stylish appearance that still screams Minivan. However I have asked others who have criticized Minivan styling in general, what do you expect, it is a small van, that carries passengers, essentially a box on wheels and that is what its should be designed to do, thus art following function.

Chrysler's Comeback, The 300C Sedan
by Rod Cleaver,
Monday, May 30, 2005

By now most of you have seen or heard of DaimlerChrysler’s new line up of vehicles. Most notable is the all new Chrysler 300. I was quite skeptical when word of these vehicles began leaking out at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show. What a mistake it was to underestimate this car, which was developed with help from Mercedes Benz. The 300 and the HEMI-powered 300C are Chrysler’s first rear-wheel-drive cars in a long while and since their introduction, the motoring public have embraced them.

I have had several discussions with some top executives at DaimlerChrysler regarding their departure from what had been Chrysler’s marketing nucleus for over a decade--front wheel drive. Would the buying public in Canada take to a rear wheel drive car in our climate? The "suits" at Chrysler shot back, that so much technology had gone into this vehicle, the All-Speed Traction Control and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) would more than make up for the switch back to a rear-wheel drive platform. I was also aware that in the U.S., no serious attempt to move the model up-market could be attempted without abandoning the front drive powertrain.

Chrysler's Crossfire hits the target
by Rod Cleaver
November 10, 2003

Like a bolt of lightning in the evening sky, this shockingly styled piece of sheet metal showed up at my office for an all too brief test session.

Yes, the above description may seem overly dramatic, but this is perhaps the most dramatic statement from any car manufacturer in recent memory. Based on a modified Mercedes Benz SLK platform, Daimler Chrysler has introduced what may be its most heralded product in recent memory. From all angles the Crossfire is unlike anything on the road.

The Crossfire design is quite astonishing given that the sheet metal of the Crossfire is more appealing than that of the Mercedes SLK roadster. The blend of curves and straight lines creates a visual treat for the eyes. All at once the vehicle appears graceful, elegant and muscular. The large and wide 19-inch tires on the rear add much of the muscular appearance to the vehicle.

Chrysler's Pacifica Notion
by Rod Cleaver
September 1, 2003

Leave it to Chrysler to reinvent the wheel once again. Well, perhaps not reinvent so much as to retool the wheel. For many years now, the love affair with Minivans and Sport Utility vehicles has been growing, however many people feel a sense of conflict with the stigma of a mini-van or the growing argument over SUV safety. Chrysler has launched the all new Pacifica to bridge the gap between SUV and mini-van buyers, as well as to appeal to the past owners of station wagons. The vehicle is available as either a front or all wheel drive model.

The vehicle has benefited from the development team infused with Daimler Benz objectives. The interior is pure driving and ergonomic pleasure. One friend recently approached my test vehicle and commented that he expected the Pacifica to be a dressed up mini-van. However, once seated in the vehicle, he began to appreciate the concept more readily, and even commented that the interior was remarkably similar in many ways to his Mercedes E320. Our test vehicle was fitted with an onboard DVD entertainment system, and a navigational system that was placed in the instrument cluster. We found the placement extremely effective, and the system was easy to adjust. I was amazed to see how accurate the GPS based system was in logging our tracked position, and it even provided timely prompts to get to the set destination.

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