AWD Chrysler Pacifica, Nissan Maxima SV vs Toyota Camry SE V6 and used Buick Skylark vs Mercury Tracer [Ask Nathan]

    • AWD Chrysler Pacifica?
    • Nissan Maxima SV vs Toyota Camry SE V6?
    • Buick Skylark vs Mercury Tracer?
This is not an AWD Chrysler Pacifica, it’s the FCA, 2012 Chrysler 700C Minivan Concept

The first question comes from a reader who wants to know if there will be an AWD Chrysler Pacifica in the future.


Q:Do you think there will be an AWD Chrysler Pacifica?

I wanted to know because I once had a Dodge Caravan with AWD and it was great in the snow. Now I own a Toyota Sienna with AWD and it’s pretty good but I don’t like the looks or packaging. I recently rented a Pacifica on a business trip and I was blown away at how good it was. And the one I drove was pretty close to being a base model.

Do you or any of the boys think they will build an AWD Chrysler Pacifica? Please let me know.


A: Not quite – but there is something brewing.

FCA CEO, Sergio Marchionne told Motor Trend that they are looking at building an AWD SUV/Crossover out of the Chrysler Pacifica platform in the (very) near future. He said the design work was already finished. While he didn’t mention an AWD Chrysler Pacifica, this mystery crossover/SUV vehicle: “We could probably get it up and running in the next 18 months.” – – Motor Trend

So, no announcement about an AWD Chrysler Pacifica, but it sounds like there will be something similar that’s more SUV-ish.

I am very curious if they build a AWD vehicle using the outstanding plug-in hybrid system that’s currently available in the Chrysler Pacifica and convert it to work with an AWD system.

I promise to keep an eye on this story!


This next question comes from a fan who wants to know which one she should get: the Nissan Maxima SV or Toyota Camry SE V6.

Q: Hi Mr. Nathan. I love watching your car videos (you’re hilarious and insightful) and I have a question regarding the Nissan Maxima SV vs Toyota Camry SE V6. Love the way they both drive.

I know about their price differences, (they are in the mid 30s) and their power differences. I know the differences, I drove both and I like them both. So my problem is, which one is best over the long haul? I plan on paying either one off in five years and trading it in a year or two later. It’s how I’ve been with cars for the last 25 years.

I’m tired of asking. No one can give me a straight answer about value and a lot of the guys I talk to are pretty condescending to me because I’m a woman. I just need someone who knows their subject to give me a direct answer. Do you think you can help me?

Thanks Mr. Nathan!

Angie D.
Dallas, Texas

A: Hi Angie!

Without a doubt, I would choose the Toyota Camry. It will hold its value better than the Nissan Maxima and I feel it’s a better car in nearly every measurable way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the look and power of the Nissan Maxima, but it’s not enough to better the equivalent Toyota Camry in my book.


The last question comes from a longtime fan who’s shopping for an inexpensive, used car. He’s specifically looking at the Buick Skylark vs Mercury Tracer.

Q: Roman and Andre! I got a used car question for Nathan!

What’s up bro?! I hate to be too much of a “fan boy” but I remember you way back during your Vehix days and you were pretty cool about responding to my questions. I like your transition to video and I think you’re part of one of the most respected teams doing videos right now! Sometimes I watch your videos two or three times just to get all of your joking comments and great video action!

Here’s my issue. I have a friend who lost his parents around the same time and wants to sell their cars for cheap. I was thinking of buying one, but I don’t know which one. One is a 1992 Mercury Tracer LTS and the other is a 1992 Buick Skylark with the Quad4 engine. The Buick has a 3 speed auto and the Mercury has a five speed manual. He’s selling each one for $1,000 and they are both in very good condition, especially thinking ’bout how old they are. His parents have been retired for a long time and didn’t drive much.

I want to make a project out of one of these cars. Maybe I can strip one down and make it into a fun track day car or something like that. I just want to help my friend and buy one really. So which one would you recommend? I value your opinions and I look forward to hearing from you!


All the best,

Joseph, M from W Cornwall NJ


A: Hi Joseph!

I appreciate your support over the years!

Funny thing, I owned a 1991 Mercury Tracer LTS and I dated someone who owned a 1992 Buick Skylark. They are both, great little cars, but the Mercury Tracer LTS is something special. Sure, I am a bit nostalgic thinking about the little guy, but that’s for good reason. You see, it had an awesome little engine and a sporty suspension setup – especially for the time period. It had a Mazda-sourced 1.8-liter engine that made 127 horsepower. Not bad for such a small car.

The Buick Skylark’s Quad-4 was a great engine and the Skylark made for a good vehicle as an entry-level luxury car for the time, but it came only with a 3-speed automatic transmission and was built to be more comfortable and less sporty than Tracer LTS.

I think the bottom line is: if you want comfort, go for the Buick and if you want sport, give the Mercury a go!


Here’s a fun video featuring some of the best cars from the 2018 Detroit Auto Show (2018 NAIAS)

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

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