Buyer's Guide: 2004 Autos

Crossing over into new territory

October 1, 2003

First came the van, then the minivan. But what do you call the new Chrysler Pacifica? True, the vehicle that recently began rolling out of the automaker’s Windsor, Ontario, assembly plant shares many of its components with the likes of the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. And, while it also offers three-row seating, it’s definitely not a minivan. Nor does its styling and ground clearance make it an SUV.

The new Pacifica doesn’t easily fit into any traditional category. Nor does a growing list of other vehicles, including the new Cadillac SRX and Nissan Pathfinder Armada.

For real estate pros, these crossover vehicles offer the best of both worlds: higher seating, all-wheel drive, typically, and better handling and fuel economy compared with SUVs. Like SUVs, there’s more cargo space for signs. And clients and customers will appreciate rear seats that are roomier than those of comparable class sedans and SUVs. A number of crossovers are available with three-row seating, too.

But, there is a trade-off. Many of the new crossovers are designed more for inclement weather and potholes than off-roading.

Although the typical crossover might look a bit like a sport-ute, some of its more appealing features are also starting to show up in relatively traditional passenger cars. For instance, the Chrysler 300C, which will replace the aging Chrysler Concorde sedan in mid-2004, boasts a taller, more ute-like seating position. The Dodge Magnum, a Euro-styled sport wagon, will be offered in both rear- and all-wheel-drive versions.

Clearly, carmakers are breaking down traditional categories. They’re also flooding the market with products targeting ever-smaller niches. A decade ago, Cadillac had just three passenger-car models in its lineup. By the end of 2003, it’ll boast eight. Then there’s Volkswagen. Today the German automaker of Beetles offers everything from the upcoming Phaeton luxury sedan to the Touareg crossover.

Ultimately, this melding of feature and form is good news for car buyers, who don’t really care what you call a vehicle, as long as it does what they need.

Member rewards

As a member, you’re eligible for a $500 cash-allowance bonus on the retail purchase or lease of select new 2003 and 2004 Chrysler and Jeep® vehicles through Dec. 31, 2003. Chrysler and Jeep are
REALTOR VIP® Alliance Program partners. The cash allowance is offered in addition to national, regional, and other select incentives. For information on the offer, go to nar.chrysler.com and nar.jeep.com, or call 800/CHRYSLER and 800/925-JEEP®. Highlights of the 2003 and 2004 models available for the bonus through Dec. 31:

CHRYSLER

  • 300M: Seats five. Leather trimmed seats and leather wrapped steering wheel, heated driver and front passenger seats, climate control.
  • Concorde: Seats six. Eight way power adjustable driver’s seat and lumbar support, cruise control, speed sensitive power door locks.
  • PT Cruiser: CD player, letter holder, cup holders, drawer under front passenger seat, rear cargo shelf.
  • Sebring Convertible: Top drops in seconds in this sporty but roomy four-seater.
  • Sebring Coupe: Seats five. Options: rearview mirror that dims to provide reading lamps and a universal garage door opener.
  • Sebring Sedan Seats five. CD player, eight way adjustable driver’s seat, leather wrapped steering wheel.
  • Town & Country Seats seven. Front and rear power outlets. Options: three-zone air conditioning, rear-seat entertainment system, rear-cargo organizer.
  • Voyager Seats seven. Three 12-volt power outlets, storage drawer under the front passenger seat, cup holders, halogen headlamps.

JEEP®

  • Grand Cherokee 40/60 split-folding bench seat, climate control, overhead console that tracks tire pressure and gas.
  • Liberty Nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo capacity, floor console with removable cup holders, storage bin.

CADILLAC SRX$38,690–$54,140

  • Powertrain 3.6-liter V-6 or V-8
  • Comfort features Front and rear air conditioning, leather seats, CD player, rear-seat entertainment system, front and rear cup holders
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, alarm, four-wheel, anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 69.5 cubic feet
  • Seating Up to seven
  • Caddy’s first crossover provides both functionality and distinctive styling. In all-wheel-drive configuration, it’s ready for virtually any obstacle, and should prove particularly popular in snowbelt climes.

CHRYSLER PACIFICA $31,230–$41,510

  • Powertrain 3.5-liter SOHC V-6
  • Comfort features Leather seats, power mirrors and locks, DVD entertainment system, navigation system, hands-free phone
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors, alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 79.5 cubic feet
  • Seating Six
  • The company that developed the minivan concept is setting out to redefine things with this stylish crossover. Flexible seating and plenty of cargo and people space complement a car-like ride. Not part of Realtor VIP® Alliance Program deal.

CHRYSLER PT CRUISER CONVERTIBLE Estimated: $23,665–$25,665

  • Powertrain 2.4-liter I-4
  • Comfort features Leather seats, power mirrors and locks, air conditioning
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors, alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 21.9 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • Chrysler’s too-cool-to-categorize Cruiser remains a solid success and is finding new buyers with this year’s newest spin-off, the ragtop Cruiser. For those who prefer performance, there’s also the new PT Turbo. Not part of Realtor VIP® Alliance Program deal.

FORD ESCAPE HEV $18,710–$26,050 (pricing for 2004 Escape models; HEV pricing not available)

  • Powertrain 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine, with secondary 65-kW electric motor that’s also used to recapture energy during breaking and coasting
  • Comfort features Heated side-view mirrors, reverse sensing system recognizes if there’s an object behind the car, front and rear premium leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, engine immobilizer disables car if stolen, four-wheel, anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 33.1 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • Ford’s ute-like crossover has been one of the best-selling in its segment, thanks to a reasonable price tag, comfort, and roominess. Now available with a hybrid-electric powertrain, it offers phenomenal mileage without sacrificing performance.

GMC ENVOY XUV$31,890–$43,220

  • Powertrain 4.2-liter DOHC V-6
  • Comfort features Air conditioning, leather seats, CD player, front and rear cup holders
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors (optional), alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 93 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • It’s a pickup. No, a minivan. No, a luxury sedan. Actually, the versatile XUV is a bit of them all. A fold-away rear roof quickly converts the back of this ute into an open-air cargo bay.

LEXUS RX330 HEV$35,600–$43,770

  • Powertrain 3.3-liter V-6
  • Comfort features Front and rear air conditioning, leather seats, CD player, rear-seat entertainment system, front and rear cup holders
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors, alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 38.3 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • The updated RX330 only makes the Lexus crossover better. Now Lexus adds a hybrid-electric powertrain, the first in the luxury segment. It’ll bring better mileage, but there’s an emphasis on performance.

NISSAN PATHFINDER ARMADA Estimated: Mid-$30,000s–$40,000

  • Powertrain 5.6-liter DOHC V-8
  • Comfort features Leather seats, power mirrors and locks, DVD entertainment system, navigation system, front and rear air conditioning
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors, alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 20 cubic feet
  • Seating Eight
  • Nissan has unleashed a blitz of new products lately. The Armada is a more conventional sport-ute, the automaker’s first in the full-size segment. Plenty of room for you and your clients.

TOYOTA SCION xB$14,165–$14,965

  • Powertrain 1.5-liter DOHC 4-cylinder
  • Comfort features Air conditioning, CD player, front and rear cup holders
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, four-wheel, anti-lock brakes
  • Cargo capacity 21.2 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • Toyota scored big when the baby boomers were young, and now it’s taking aim at the latest generation of young buyers with this boxy but functional crossover. Surprisingly affordable yet roomy and, oh, so hip.

VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG $35,515–$51,915

  • Powertrain 3.2-liter V-6; 4.2-liter V-8
  • Comfort features Front and rear air conditioning, leather seats, CD player, rear-seat entertainment system, front and rear cup holders
  • Safety features Driver and passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, child safety locks, child seat anchors, alarm, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, engine immobilizer
  • Cargo capacity 71 cubic feet
  • Seating Five
  • It may have been slow to market, but VW’s first crossover-ute is rugged, roomy, and stylish. For an SUV of this refinement and capabilities, the price tag is surprisingly reasonable.

Note: Some models will appear later in the 2004 model year as 2005s. Check with dealers. Cargo capacity listed assumes maximum number of passengers on board.

Prices are the manufacturers’ suggested retail prices and are subject to change. This list isn’t comprehensive; NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in company info.


This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the products in this category. NAR doesn’t evaluate or endorse these products and isn’t responsible for changes in product info. Prices are the vendors’ suggested retail prices and are subject to change.

Paul A. Eisenstein is publisher of The Detroit Bureau. He has more than 30 years of experience covering the auto industry for a broad range of print, broadcast, and electronic media.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.

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