So I'm thinking about getting a Pacifica, pre-facelift (04 or 06).
I'm from Europe (there are a few Pacificas imported here, legally) and I live in the mountains (or on the verge of the local range), already behind the "salt line" where no road salt is used in winter (thank God!) and where we drive as mother nature meant it... So far with a heavy-nose-FWD car but that's what I'm planning to change.
Although it's an unshakeable fact that there are far more superior AWD systems out there (and yes, I'm also eyeing a 2007 Outback...), Pacifica somehow intrigues me by it's unique not-just-allroad-but-not-SUV style... It seems comfortable, huge and safe for a family. And so before I write it off completely for not having an AWD system worth thinking about, I'd like to know what exactly I can expect from it.
The thing is that I seem to be finding various opinions on what exactly the first gen Pac has. So - it has a 100% mechanical viscous-coupling-based AWD, right?
The biggest question: how much torque do the rear wheels get in normal conditions and HOW FAST do they get more torque in case they need it?
My understanding is that the VC clutch has to warm up first to actually start transmitting torque. Does it mean I'll be sitting in snow, spinning my front wheels for a few (tens of?) seconds, waiting for the fluid to thicken and take the rear wheels to the party? How fast this is? And much more importantly - can I count on the AWD system to kick in on the road when I get into a critical situation and things happen in matter of (milli)seconds...? Or is this out of the question? I mean like when I lose traction in a bend/curve, car starts to slip, I need to correct it, do something... will I get AWD? Or will I have "bought Pacifica instead of Subaru" on my tombstone?
I've went over several YouTube videos and it seemed to me that the rear wheels engage almost immediately in the snow / on ice... was it just because people had the VC warmed up already? Or is it really that fast? Or is it just not true that Pacifica puts 100% torque on front wheels by default?
Also please take into consideration that winter tires are a no-brainer for me... Never had anything else in winter and never would.